How To Use cPanel: The Complete Guide for Beginners

cPanel is a web-based control panel typically used to manage websites and hosting accounts. Its graphical interface and automation tools simplify various tasks related to website and server management. Here’s a complete guide for beginners on how to use cPanel.

Accessing cPanel

You need a few unique details to access this panel. Typically, your cPanel hosting provider will provide you with a domain name, a username, and a password. Visit the URL provided in your web browser (usually https://youripaddress:2083 or Then, log in with your username and password.

Understanding the cPanel interface

Once logged in, you’ll see various icons representing different features and functions. These icons are organized into different sections such as Files, Databases, Domains, Email, etc.

To rearrange them, find and click on the “View” option at the top-right corner of the cPanel interface. Choose “Change Style” from the dropdown menu. This option allows you to change the layout and appearance of the cPanel interface.

You’ll see different layout options in the “Change Style” window. Choose the layout that suits your preferences. There are typically two layout options: “Basic” and “Retro.”


This layout displays icons in a grid format with categorized sections. It’s the default layout and offers easy access to features.


This layout displays icons in a list format, which may be preferred by some users for its simplicity.

After selecting the desired layout, click on the “Apply” or “Save Changes” button to confirm your selection.

Managing files

File Manager allows you to upload, download, edit, and manage files directly on your server. You can create, delete, and modify files and folders.

FTP accounts are essential for managing websites, accessing server files, and transferring data securely between local computers and remote servers. To create an FTP account in cPanel, scroll down or use the search bar to find the “FTP Accounts” section in the dashboard. It’s typically located under the “Files” or “Files and FTP” category.

In the “FTP Accounts” section, you’ll see a form to create a new FTP account. Enter your login data and your password, and specify the directory to which the FTP account will have access. You can choose the root directory (“/public_html”) or specify a subdirectory within your account.

Click on the “Create FTP Account.” cPanel will send a confirmation with the details of the newly created FTP account, including the FTP server hostname, username, and directory.

Note down these details because you’ll need them to connect to the server via FileZilla or another FTP client.

Domain management

People can add new domains to their accounts, create subdomains for their main domain, and set up redirects for their domains.

Managing databases

Users create and manage MySQL databases and assign other users privileges. Alternatively, they can manage MySQL databases through the phpMyAdmin interface.


SSL certificates are paramount for your website’s security. You can get one from your hosting provider. In the “SSL/TLS Manager,” click on the “Install and Manage SSL for your site (HTTPS)” option.

Under the “Install an SSL Website” section, select the domain for which you want to install the SSL certificate from the dropdown menu.

Paste the SSL certificate from your hosting provider into the respective text boxes. Click on the “Install Certificate” button and verify its installation and configuration to ensure that your website is properly secured.

You can also restrict access to specific directories with a password.


Metrics that are relevant to your site include visitor stats and error logs. It’s helpful to view statistics about visitors to your website. If you run into an issue, you can view the error logs to troubleshoot it.

Software and services

Use Softaculous Apps Installer to install WordPress, Joomla, or another web application with just a few clicks. You can choose your site’s PHP version via the PHP Version Selector. Make sure it’s above 8. Finally, the Cron Jobs feature lets you schedule tasks to run automatically at specific times.

Final tips

Always keep your cPanel password secure and avoid sharing it with others. Perform regular backups of your website files and databases using cPanel’s backup tools.

Be careful when you make changes, especially in critical sections like File Manager and Database Manager. These changes take effect immediately on the server. For example, uploading a new file makes it accessible to visitors instantly.

Unlike local development environments, changes made in cPanel are directly applied to the live website or database without version control.

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