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cPanel and WHM Overview

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What is cPanel?

cPanel is a web hosting control panel created by cPanel, Inc., that allows for the management and administration of websites and their related services. It is a Linux-based software, supported by the latest versions of CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CloudLinux OS, and includes a number of tools to manage the websites, DNS zones, emails and email accounts, site media, databases, FTP and FTP accounts, and software related to domains registered in the cPanel account.

cPanel is a very common web administration and control panel used by Linux-based shared hosting companies across the web, including here at Hostwinds. Using cPanel, the web environment available is a LAMP stack – Linux-based server, Apache web server, MySQL or MariaDB database, and PHP programming language.

What Can I Do with cPanel?

With cPanel you are able to configure the email accounts, forwarders and autoresponders, and includes SpamAssassin to help filter and catch any inbound spam sent to your mailboxes. You also have to option to set up DNS records for your emails to ensure your emails are authenticated and verified by your recipients’ inboxes, so that they do not get filtered to spam or junk folders.

You are also able to use cPanel to create password-protected directories, configure or install any SSL certificates, and even blacklist any IP addresses that are unwanted to your site. And using the cPanel File Manager allows you immediate and direct access to upload, download, edit, or manipulate the files and directories within the webserver without the need for connecting FTP clients.

Included with cPanel are tools to manage your MySQL/MariaDB databases, and also an installation of phpMyAdmin which allows running SQL queries directly in the database, as well as a user interface that allows quick editing and manipulating of the data without SQL queries.

cPanel can often come with Auto Installer software. At Hostwinds, we use Softaculous for our preferred Auto Installer on our shared web hosting, and offer a Softaculous license on both VPS and Dedicated Servers. We also use WHMSonic for our SHOUTcast services, for setting up domains, radio stations, and autodj playlists.

In order to connect to cPanel, you will usually connect through the port 2083, which is attached to the end of the IP, server hostname, or domain. You can also connect using the cpanel directory:

  • testdomain.tld:2083
  • servername:2083
  • testdomain.tld/cpanel
  • servername/cpanel

After purchase of a shared service with Hostwinds, you will be emailed the login credentials for your own cPanel account, including the full server link, the dedicated IP address for the service and the randomly generated username and password. If purchasing a VPS or Dedicated cPanel & WHM license, you will be provided the login credentials for WHM instead.


What is WHM?

WHM stands for WebHost Manager. WHM is the software application that runs, controls, and configures cPanel accounts and the web server they run on. When purchasing a Cloud VPS or Dedicated Server, cPanel is not included by default, and instead we offer the full cPanel & WHM license for sale. Using WHM, you can create individual cPanel accounts, change the passwords, suspend or terminate troublesome accounts, as well as set the resource limits (if any) on the account packages.

This is a great tool for people who wish to start their own shared reseller business, or their own website design or management business. It allows the separation of multiple cPanel users so that they cannot affect the sites or data of other users, and it allows allocating more or less resources to users based on their sites needs.

What Can I Do with WHM?

WHM controls the majority of the web server’s configurations, including security firewalls, email limits, server maintenance, as well as the installation of available PHP and Perl modules and the upgrade of RPMs installed on the system. We have a full list of all of WHM’s features available on our Definition of WHM Features article. Since WHM has such a high level of control over the server it is installed on, Shared Reseller WHM has more limited access, while VPS and Dedicated WHM services are unlimited.

In order to connect to WHM, you will usually connect through the ports 2086 or 2087, or the whm directory, which is attached to the end of the IP, server hostname, or domain:

  • testdomain.tld:2086
  • servername:2086
  • testdomain.tld:2087
  • 123.45.678.90:2087
  • servername:2087
  • testdomain.tld/whm
  • servername/whm

Getting Started with cPanel & WHM

If you have recently purchased a VPS or Dedicated cPanel & WHM License, we have a handy guide on How to Get Started with your New cPanel Server. We also have a large number of articles and guides on cPanel in our Hostwinds Knowledgebase, as well as similar guides for WHM. If you ever have any questions or need any assistance, please contact us by LiveChat or support tickets, and we’ll be more than happy to help.