11 FAQs About cPanel Hosting
Shared hosting can be complicated enough for new site owners to understand. Pairing the infrastructure with the user-friendly cPanel dashboard, however, instantly introduces intuitive point-and-click server management.
The best cPanel hosting plans offer support for unlimited domain names, MySQL databases, disk space, and monthly bandwidth on shared web hosting. Plus, users can quickly deploy more than 400 open-source software programs with Softaculous.
The cPanel portal enables website owners to oversee their hosting package and configure settings for any domain name with an easy-to-understand graphical interface.
In fact, cPanel hosting is the most popular solution for small businesses, ecommerce stores, and independent web publishers on budget plans.
With cPanel, website owners can set up email inboxes, FTP accounts, free SSL certificates, and custom PHP settings for every domain. Simply log in to your account via your web hosting provider, and cPanel should just be a click or two away.
cPanel will only run on a hosting plan that uses a Linux-based operating system, with the price of licenses for shared, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers varying by the specific plan and web host.
Most low-cost web hosting providers include cPanel for free with shared hosting; plans like VPS hosting or a dedicated server give users more control to license and install the specific control panel they prefer to work with.
Let’s review some of the most important details about the cPanel features and how they compare with other control panels.
1. What is cPanel Hosting?
Originally designed by a teenager in 1996 as a web server control panel for now-defunct Speed Hosting, the cPanel platform has evolved into one of the most popular web panels in the hosting industry.
As you may imagine, cPanel hosting includes the cPanel platform. Hosting providers and site owners can easily transfer websites between cPanel-based plans, given the similar technologies.
Many of the budget hosting companies use cPanel and WHM as a standard way to create shared Linux server platforms that are popular with millions of customers.
Main Features of cPanel and WHM:
- Domain Name Management: create subdomains, add-on domains, and aliases
- Website Publishing: run an Apache server with MySQL, PHP, and Softaculous
- Configure Email & FTP: use your choice of Webmail tools or the File Manager
- Backups & Analytics: schedule automated file and database backups for sites
Using cPanel typically implies managing a single shared hosting account, but pairing the software with WHM enables the administration of a virtual private server or dedicated hosting plan.
While WHM allows large servers to be partitioned and sold in smaller units with usage constraints, a cPanel host permits customers to configure their web servers and domain names.
A web host can save costs (and promote cheaper hosting plans) by developing their own control panel or using a lower-cost option that offers the same functionality.
cPanel and WHM only work with Linux-based operating systems, including CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CloudLinux, and Ubuntu. Windows hosting users will need to explore Plesk or other alternatives.
2. Why Should I Use cPanel?
The main reason to use cPanel is to simplify and streamline web development and hosting account management.
Otherwise, website owners would need to install software and manage disk space by using the command line interface.
The best cPanel hosting companies offer full-stack solutions, including the operating system, database, web server, and runtime extensions installed in advance.
The easy-to-use interface enables site owners to set up unlimited email accounts, manage parked domains, and view analytics. Users can save time and launch installation scripts in minutes using Fantastico or Softaculous.
Main Benefits of cPanel:
- Host Unlimited Domain Names: Deploy all of your web resources on one platform
- Manage MySQL Databases: Use the MySQL Database Wizard and phpMyAdmin
- Add Email and FTP Accounts: Webmail options and built-in file manager
- Configure PHP Settings: Choose the version of PHP to run your scripts
- Install Software in Seconds: Access more than 400 open-source programs
- Increase Security: Protect your files with passwords or deny certain IP addresses
- Monitor Performance and Errors: View stats related to performance and traffic
Web developers, ecommerce sellers, and small business owners can save the most on web hosting costs by using cPanel resources with unlimited bandwidth.
The best cPanel hosting solution offers customers support for unlimited email accounts, domain names, and disk space — all while offering around-the-clock customer support.
These offers often also include free SSL certificates for every add-on domain registered in cPanel using AutoSSL or Let’s Encrypt.
cPanel makes web hosting with PHP scripts and MySQL databases easy to use for building social networking sites, ecommerce stores, wikis, forums, and using content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.
Reseller hosting aficionados also use cPanel, WHM, and WHMCS extensively to oversee client accounts and manage user resources on multiple servers.
3. How Much Should a cPanel Web Hosting Plan Cost?
The cheapest cPanel hosting plans cost about $2 per month (or sometimes even less!) for a single domain name, or roughly $4 or $5 monthly for unlimited domains.
The pricing on these accounts can vary significantly depending on the length of the contract and terms of billing.
For example, a web hosting company may offer the same hosting account at $9.99 under month-to-month billing. The cost drops to $2.95 per month when you sign up for a three-year plan.
On most cPanel host platforms, you’ll get the lowest cost with the longest contracts.
Sample Prices for a cPanel Hosting Solution:
- Bluehost: $2.95 per month
- InMotion Hosting: $2.79 per month
- A2 Hosting: $2.99 per month
- HostGator: $2.64 per month
- GoDaddy: $2.99 per month
- Hostinger: $1.95 per month
Some web hosting providers offer a proprietary control panel for account management as a way to save on cPanel licensing.
Other web hosts use a control panel solution with similar functionality like Plesk, Webmin, Webuzo, or DirectAdmin as an alternative to cPanel.
A single cPanel license to use on a VPS or dedicated server can cost $15 per month.
Web hosting companies offer bulk pricing on cPanel licensing with shared hosting platforms that reduce the cost to less than $1 per user.
Look for a cPanel host with unlimited website and customer support.
4. How Do I Choose the Best cPanel Hosting Provider?
Because the cPanel software is the same, across each hosting option, you’ll want to evaluate a host’s complete package of hardware, software, and bonus offers to find the best long-term cPanel hosting provider.
For example, some companies offer a free domain name registration with plans, equal to a value of roughly $10 to $15 each year. Not every company offers unlimited bandwidth or SSD storage with their plans.
The companies that do allow unlimited domains may have policies that limit the CPU allocation for the scripts and databases installed. This is referred to as “throttling” and usually only happens if there is a sudden spike in user traffic, as in the slashdotting effect when a link suddenly goes viral across social media.
What to Look for in the Best cPanel Hosting Plans:
- Unlimited resources: Support for plenty of domains, MySQL databases, email accounts, disk space, and bandwidth.
- High-quality hardware: Make sure shared hosting plans include SSD (not HDD) storage if performance is important.
- Free domain names: Choose a hosting option with free registration, along with domain privacy and lengthy renewal periods.
- Reliability and support: An uptime guarantee of at least 99.9% is the industry standard, along with 24/7 support through multiple communication channels.
- One-click app installations: Get started quickly with WordPress, ecommerce tools, blogging platforms, or other programs to build your site.
- Lots of bonus features: Hosts sometimes include free search engine advertising credits, content delivery network, and other perks.
Top plans also include a free SSL certificate for every registered domain. Make sure the company offers Softaculous or Fantastico as an add-on to cPanel to take advantage of the script installation features.
The best cPanel hosting service should include free (and readily available) customer support through live chat, along with an easy-to-use website builder or comprehensive managed WordPress support.
Then, you have the full package of tools for web development.
In shared Linux web hosting, some companies may offer hosting services similar to cPanel plans but use a different control panel for managing account settings. This saves the web host in bulk licensing costs for cPanel, but the plans may offer less functionality.
5. Which Web Hosting Providers Offer cPanel?
The top choices for the best cPanel hosting are Bluehost, A2 Hosting, InMotion Hosting, and HostGator.
Bluehost is one of the best cPanel hosting plans for WordPress users — even earning the recommendation of the WordPress leadership team at Automattic for more than 12 years.
Recommended Web Hosts for the Best cPanel Hosting Plans:
- Bluehost: one of the best web hosting companies in the industry for cPanel servers
- A2 Hosting: offers cPanel on shared, VPS, and dedicated server plans with Linux OS
- InMotion Hosting: run optimized shared and VPS platforms for high-performance apps
- HostGator: a rock-solid cPanel hosting environment with cheap web development plans
- GoDaddy: the world’s largest registrar lets you managed domains with familiar tools
- Hostinger: the most cost-effective cPanel hosting option for a wide range of site owners
A2 Hosting has a great reputation for keeping its servers updated with the latest versions of PHP, MySQL, and other cPanel extensions.
In addition to ultra-fast infrastructure, a major specialization of A2 Hosting includes strong support for web and mobile development requirements.
Small business and ecommerce site publishers cannot do better than InMotion Hosting with its elite hardware configurations and high-performance platform.
HostGator offers the best cPanel web hosting with a plan that is suitable for the requirements of almost every website.
Companies like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure do not offer cPanel hosting except as custom installations. Cloud hosting solutions usually have other server administration tools.
6. Do I Need a Shared Hosting Plan or VPS Hosting?
Most quality shared cPanel hosting plans are comparable to the entry-level VPS hosting plans with 1 vCPU and 1GB RAM. But sometimes the RAM allocation on shared hosting plans is only 500MB to 750MB.
Shared cPanel hosting plans are designed to run MySQL and PHP or Perl scripts. For Windows, Java, Node.js, and ASP.NET solutions, you’ll have to look to other plans or configure your own VPS.
VPS plans at 1 vCPU and 1GB RAM are available at a price range of $5 or less per month from many of the best cPanel web host companies.
Other options include a Plesk, DirectAdmin, or Webuzo admin panel as a cPanel alternative. Many VPS plans use a different control panel for managing the server settings and domain configurations.
If a control panel is not provided with the VPS, you can buy a personal cPanel license at an extra cost of $15 per month.
Look for managed VPS plans with a bundled cPanel license included to save money, or use Webuzo, Plesk, DirectAdmin, Webmin, or another option as a cheaper or free cPanel alternative.
7. Do I Need cPanel for WordPress Hosting?
WordPress requires PHP and a MySQL-compatible database like MariaDB, but website owners don’t have to use a cPanel account to manage a WordPress hosting plan.
WordPress can run on Windows or Linux servers with Apache, NGINX, Caddy, and other server frameworks.
cPanel simply makes it easier to manage a web server cheaply in a shared environment with security and provides an easy-to-use interface to operate routine systems administration tasks. Otherwise, you’d need SSH access and familiarity with the command line.
How to Install WordPress Without cPanel:
- Download and unzip the software package from WordPress.org.
- Create a MySQL database and user account.
- (optional) Find and rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php, then edit the file to add the database information.
- Upload the WordPress files to your web server via FTP.
- Run the WordPress installation script by navigating your web browser to the directory where you uploaded the files.
The advantage of a cPanel hosting plan is that you can run WordPress and your choice of more than 400 open-source scripts at a rate of less than $5 per month.
Look for the best cPanel web hosting plans with support for unlimited domain names, unmetered bandwidth, and SSD storage for the value.
Managed WordPress platforms without a cPanel interface may offer better caching, use of NGINX servers, and other upgrades like WP-CLI for professional developers.
Choose the cPanel hosting plan that includes a website builder as an alternative to WordPress if you are a beginner or need a simpler alternative.
8. How Do I Add cPanel to a VPS or Dedicated Hosting Service?
One of the best choices a website owner can make is to sign up for a VPS or dedicated server plan with a managed cPanel platform.
The web hosting company will automatically oversee the updates and upgrades to your server, plus provide you with the familiar tools to manage your online presence yourself.
Otherwise, you may need to purchase a cPanel license and install the control panel on a VPS or a dedicated server. You will need to use the command line to download and install WHM to get started with the hosting package.
First, make sure your hardware meets the recommended requirements for various operating systems: at least a 1.1GHz processor, 2 to 4GB memory, and 20GB of disk space.
How to Install cPanel on a VPS or Dedicated Server:
- Connect to your server via SSH and ensure you have Perl, cURL, and the Linux Screen utility installed.
- Once everything is verified run the following command: cd /home && curl -o latest -L https://securedownloads.cpanel.net/latest && sh latest
- When the installation script is finished, navigate in your web browser to https://yourdomainname.com:2087 to access WHM. Log in and complete the initial setup wizard.
- Create a cPanel account by going to Home > Account Functions > Create a New Account in WHM. Enter your domain, username, password, and email address.
- Navigate to https://yourdomainname.com:2083 to access the cPanel interface.
One of the main advantages of cPanel web hosting is the ability to share a bulk-use license through a hosting company with millions of domains on its platform.
The single-user cost for cPanel will add an extra $15 per month to the cost of your hardware.
Because of the steep costs, web hosting companies commonly offer customers a choice of several control panels and operating systems when provisioning a VPS.
Site owners can weigh running cPanel on CentOS, Ubuntu, or CloudLinux versus using a different control panel (Plesk, DirectAdmin, or Webuzo) on other configurations.
9. How Can I Get a Free SSL Certificate?
Major IT companies, web browsers, and standards agencies that regulate the internet have all combined to make basic security and encryption common across all websites.
AutoSSL is part of WHM that a host can enable for customers in cPanel, while the Let’s Encrypt project belongs to the Internet Security Research Group. Both provide similar services and protections to a website owner.
Make sure that your shared hosting plan includes a free SSL certificate for every domain name listed in cPanel. This is largely a standard feature you can find with most trustworthy hosts.
How to Install an SSL Certificate With cPanel:
- Log into your cPanel account and scroll to the Security section. Click on the SSL/TLS Status icon (or Let’s Encrypt SSL if that is enabled instead of AutoSSL).
- In AutoSSL, check the domains you wish to protect and click the Run AutoSSL button. Let’s Encrypt users should scroll to the Issue a New Certificate section and click the +Issue button for every domain to be secured.
- Wait a few minutes for the programs to do their magic. When complete, the page should update with a success notification.
Ecommerce or business websites may want to upgrade to more advanced SSL/TLS certificates that can increase trust in your organization and add extra verifications to visitors’ browsers.
Site owners can expect to pay at least $30 per year for advanced TLS certificates with business identity verification, but prices can easily soar into the thousands depending on the level of authentication you want.
10. Which Web Host Offers a Free Domain Name?
The hosts listed as our top choices for cPanel hosting all offer a free domain name with the registration of a new account.
The free domain credit will cover the first year of a new registration; you will need to pay for any subsequent renewals. If you choose to cancel your hosting plan before the first year is over, the host will typically deduct the registration fee from your refund.
cPanel Hosting Plans with a Free Domain Name:
|Web Hosts||Shared Hosting Cost|
|Bluehost||$2.95 per month|
|InMotion Hosting||$2.79 per month|
|A2 Hosting||$2.99 per month|
|Hostinger||$1.95 per month|
|HostGator||$2.64 per month|
|GoDaddy||$2.99 per month|
Instead, some providers choose to build proprietary management panels for users with similar functionality, and they offer customer support.
11. How Should I Get Started With a cPanel Web Hosting Service?
Choosing a cPanel hosting account is a major first step in your shared hosting journey. We find the standardized environment to be one of the most secure and easy-to-use platforms in the industry.
Compare your options by reading reviews and host vs. host comparisons to find the provider with the best features, lowest price, and most helpful support.
As you purchase your plan, you’ll set up your account credentials; your host will likely email you instructions on how to log into cPanel.
Once you sign in to a new cPanel hosting plan, the web server, operating system, database, and programming language extensions are all ready for use.
Datacenter engineers maintain these elements and regularly apply security upgrades and patches to installed software packages. Some companies also include a separate website builder.
The root domain you specified at signup will be used to manage the other add-on or parked domains on the account.
From there, use the GUI to set up email and FTP accounts, issue SSL certificates, and several other tasks.
Use the File Manager as an alternative to FTP for file uploads and downloads. Otherwise, rely on Softaculous and the MySQL Database Wizard to install and build your websites.
The companies we highlighted on this page provide the best cPanel hosting services in the industry for small businesses, ecommerce stores, bloggers, and professional web development agencies