Per WebHosting.info, almost 2/3 of the world’s most prominent web hosting services used cPanel or WHM (with the latter, aka Web Host Manager, an integrated part of the same system) in 2011. http://cpanel.net/hosting-providers/ It’s a particularly common administrative panel for Linux servers, an open-source alternative to Windows and the most common UNIX server OS (operating system).
Linux hardware represented 21% of server revenue in 2012, but the OS actually is installed on a much larger share of machines: it’s freely available, and many companies download one of the many Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint Linux, etc.) independently. PC World reported in 2011 on the scope of Linux:
- used by 3 out of every 4 global stock exchanges;
- used by 19 out of every 20 supercomputers;
- used by Facebook, Amazon, and Google for their infrastructures.
Created in the 1990s in order to service Linux servers (originally those of the now out-of-business firm Speed Hosting by developer John Nick Koston), cPanel is not just an option but the standard for managing any type of Linux server: “real” (physical) or virtual (whether a cloud server or a private server on a standalone piece of hardware).
As the world transitions away from physical servers toward cloud hosting machines, developers, designers and resellers utilize cPanel to manage their open source virtual cPanel environments. Here are 5 reasons why cPanel is such a great choice for the needs of a wide variety of web professionals and others who administer sites. (The basic framework below is courtesy of Blog Basics.)
Popularity. As described above, Linux is widely used, and Cpanel is, in turn, commonplace. For the same reason that WordPress is the most reasonable place to initially turn if considering a content management system (CMS) or MS Word if considering a word processor, cPanel is the mainstream option for a website or server control panel. It’s not just popular among individuals but among experts: as noted above, 3 out of every 5 major web hosts use the platform.
Diversity/simplicity. Managing a website should not need to feel highly technical, whether you are using a cloud server or any type of server. cPanel offers a broad feature set and intuitive, user-friendly interface. Through a central hub, you can manage e-mail, organize and monitor databases, enter back-end components of the public-facing site, check analytic user stats, and perform a range of tasks geared toward the tech-savvy with specific management requirements.
Additionally, it’s easy for a hosting company or independent user of cPanel to add modules, accessible in the cPanel cloud hosting panel. Although the applications are not extensively vetted or certified by cPanel and require testing prior to deployment, functionalities can be expanded to fit the needs of cloud hosting clients and other users. Examples include the email marketing program CakeMail and the VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) application Siter.
Control. cPanel is a control panel, so it allows you to control aspects of your site and/or server. Now, control is relative. An expert sysadmin (system administrator) might not want to use a control panel at all because it’s a layer with parameters in between them and the machine that can at times feel arbitrary or rigid.
However, cPanel does offer a real control advantage: once you get used to the GUI (graphical user interface), you will not have to learn a new system if and when you switch to another web hosting company. Transferring your site to another cloud provider or any hosting service can be a stressful hassle, but if you are switching from one cPanel environment to another one, getting the site up and running will be familiar, and management with the new host will be virtually identical.
Easy app installation. Not only are cPanel apps easy to find in the central catalog, but they are also easy to install. Typically a cloud service or hosting provider has a number of apps already available within cPanel. Generally, one of those applications itself – usually called Fantastico or Softaculous (Installatron is an alternative which is one of the top 5 rated programs in the app catalog) – helps you install any other app speedily and with ease.
Any of these script installer programs allows you to automatically install over a hundred open source apps. It’s wise to know that you have an auto-installer available when needed. However, be careful with these installers when upgrading to a new app version. You can cause errors on your site and lose information if you aren’t backed up properly. User beware.
Support. Whether you are using a hosting service and have access to support or not, it’s good to know that you can quickly get the answers to many questions yourself. That’s the case with cPanel, another benefit of its widespread adoption. Google the problem and you can find the answer to just about any question. If something comes up that you don’t see discussed anywhere, you can ask for help on a forum such as DaniWeb.
Finding a strong control panel that’s easy to use and adaptive is critical for online success. You also want to make sure that your cloud hosting service is providing reliable and trusted servers to meet your every need. Atlantic.Net offers a 100% uptime guarantee in our SLA, and we standardly customize our services to satisfy each of our individual clients.
Cloud hosting is just one of four services Atlantic.net offers – we also offer managed, dedicated and HIPAA compliant cloud hosting solutions.
Comic words by Kent Roberts and art by Leena Cruz.