cPanel is the premier website control panel. Offered by most web hosting companies around the world. cPanel has grown to dominate the web hosting market. However, what is cPanel? How can it help you build and maintain your website? Better yet why do you need a website control panel like cPanel?
History of cPanel
You need to understand cPanel and its humble beginnings. It will help you appreciate the way it changed website hosting for everyone. cPanel’s origin goes back to 1996 when John Nick Koston came up with a web hosting control panel for the now defunct Speed Hosting. cPanel was mainly a proprietary panel that you could only get through Koston’s company and remained this way until a merger between Speed Hosting and Web King preluded it’s expansion and adoption growth.
Early on if you wanted to use the new control panel that people were talking about you had only one place to get it. This was initially through Speed Hosting and eventually it’s successor Web King. They were using Virtual Development Inc (VDI) data center exclusively so it was win for everyone, but the customer. There was virtually little competition to cPanel other then Alabanza. Sure there were some smaller ones being developed, but none at the time were much of a threat.
As the popularity of cPanel began to grow Koston left for college, but instead of allowing the project to just die he signed an agreement with William Jensen. This agreement split cPanel off into a separate project called WebPanel owned by VDI. However, without Koston and his skill and vision WebPanel was doomed. VDI decided to kill the project because they couldn’t see the future applications. This was a huge mistake for them. While VDI was making a financial mistake it’s creator was looking to the future. Koston was employed by Burst.net at this time. He had continued to work on cPanel, never truly losing his vision. After some time he realized that cPanel had a bright future, but only if he left his day job and focused on the control panel.
The rest is mostly history and with subsequent updates, improvements and the addition of the popular Web Hosting Manager development cPanel came to dominant the industry. While there are competitors such as HostAdmin, Plesk, Webmin and a few other smaller control panel makers, cPanel has maintained it’s dominance. Which is easily attributed to it’s ease of use and plugins that extend it’s use and features.
So how can a Website Control Panel help you?
Website control panels like cPanel help even those with no knowledge to quickly build a website and maintain it. With popular extensions such as Softaculous you are able to easily install scripts like WordPress, WHMCS and many other popular website enhancements with just a single click of the button. No more need to upload files via FTP programs like FileZilla and then going through a setup process that you might be confused by. In fact if you truly want to control everything through your website control panel you can even upload all your files through cPanel as well. However, for many experienced users we tend to still use FTP programs as they offer more features and easy to use interfaces that make things a bit quicker and less clunky feeling at times.
User Friendly Design
The design of cPanel is user friendly as are others. However, cPanel made theirs friendly to everyone. Their idea was to easily bring web hosting to everyone. Not just those with knowledge of coding. This thought process helped spark a massive shift in web hosting. As more people began building websites such as blogs, a new gold rush happened. Web hosting companies sprang up everywhere. They all saw the promise that cPanel held.
The design of cPanel is what has made it so popular. Everything is easy to find and well laid out. It includes a search feature that is very intuitive. Search for the feature you are looking for and it takes you to it. Also the ability to customize the panel gives each web host their own unique look. This look is only limited by the imagination of the web hosting company.cPanel Virtual Demo
So is cPanel right for you?
That’s only a question you can answer. As we said earlier there are a number of other control panels. Each has it’s supporters for various reasons. We have found that they all have their pros and cons on the tech side of it. However, when you are the average person trying to bring your business or blog to the world they can all do the job. It really comes down to personal preference.
If you start out with DirectAdmin and go to cPanel you probably won’t notice to much of a learning curve. cPanel is easier overall to navigate and use. However, going from cPanel to DirectAdmin does present a bit more of a learning curve. While it might seem daunting the more you use any web control panel the easier it will get.
At the end of the day the panel is important yes, but something else is even more important. The web hosting company you choose. That above all else is the most important choice. At the end of the day a web hosting company can make or break the success of your online venture. Support, uptime and ease of use are all important factors that you need to look for. Remember the old adage. You get what you pay for.
Some Features of cPanel
- Upload files to your website
- Check your email
- Add a domain to your hosting account
- Create a FTP account
- View website statistics
- Install plugins and themes