Most of the bloggers start their blogging career with shared hosting.cPanel is most popular hosting control panel.So chances are that you will find cPanel hosting control panel on your shared hosting account.This makes it important to learn few tips and tricks of cPanel.I will cover some important tips and tricks in this post.
The tips and tricks will be in increasing order of complexity and use.Most common ones are at top and rare ones are at bottom.But all of them are very useful.I used all of them during my shared hosting time.
Installing software using cPanel Fantastico
Fantastico is present in almost all cPanel control panel.Fantastico is simplest way to install software.I will cover WordPress as an example.The procedure is same for other software.
To install WordPress from the Fantastico use below steps
- Click on the option Fantastico under the section Softwares/Services in the cPanel menu.
- On the left hand side of Fantastico menu you will see the WordPress option under Blogs section.
- Click on the WordPress option.
- Click on the new installation option if you have not installed WordPress already.
- After clicking on New Installation on next screen you need to enter Install on domain (which will be your website domain e.g example.com).
- Install in directory will be blank if you want to install WordPress in root directory (i.e. in public_html or www directory.Keep it blank if you are unsure).
- You then enter Admin user name and Admin password.On base Configuration Section mention the site name and small description of site.
- This information will be displayed on the website so choose it carefully.Click on Install WordPress to begin installation.
- The installation is completed.
If WordPress is installed using Fantastico then WordPress uninstallation should be done using Fantastico only else while installing another script(in same directory where WordPress was installed using Fantastico) Fantastico will fail to install the software.In case you have not uninstalled WordPress using Fantastico then contact your web service provider stating the problem and requesting for cleanup.
Create Sub domain using cPanel
cPanel makes creation of sub domains very easy.Sub domains can be regarded as sub directories in the main directory.For example if example.com is your domain name or main domain then anything of the form xyz.example.com is your subdomain.
To create subdomain using cPanel follow below steps
- Log into your cPanel account
- Under the Domains category you will see subdomain option.
- Click on the subdomain option
- On the next screen under Create a Subdomain header you will see blank text box next to the Sub domain.
- Enter any valid term (s or static for creating a sub domain for catering static files generally used for CDN purpose,use support for help related stuffs,use store for eCommerce section) .Above are only suggestions but you can use any name of your choice.It is good to keep subdomain name short and meaningful.
- The name you entered above is automatically entered below in Document Root.Do not change it (you can change it but it is good to keep them same and it is easier to remember)
- Click on Create button to create the sub domain.
Create FTP accounts using cPanel
FTP accounts are used for many purposes (installing plugins,themes from your wordpress dashboard,uploading files using FTP client and CDN configuration) and is one of main tasks for any webmaster.To Create FTP accounts using cPanel follow below steps
- Log into your cpanel account
- Under the Files section of cPanel screen you will see FTP accounts option.Click on the option.
- On the next screen Under the Add FTP Account you need to fill in below information.
- On the Login text box write any valid text.For example if you entered example then your ftp user name will become firstname.lastname@example.org where domain.com is your domain name.
- Enter a password (create a strong password consisting of numerals,special characters,lower case and upper case letters)
- For the directory text box enter the subdomain name for which you are creating FTP account (if your sub domain name is static then write static in the text box).
- Set the quota according to your requirement (it is good practice to write a value as setting). Leaving it as unlimited turns dangerous if your account is hacked.
- Click on the Create FTP account button to create the account.
- The account gets listed in FTP accounts section once it gets created.
- You can get your FTP server name and FTP user name by clicking on Configure FTP client.These information is required while configuring FTP clients to upload files in your web server directory or configuring CDN for your hosting account.
Image hotlink protection using cPanel
Hotlink protection is a must for any website using images. There are many ways to achieve hotlink protection but most of them involves code changes.The method using cPanel is the simplest one.
To protect your images follow below steps
- Log into your cPanel account
- On the cPanel page you will see HotLink Protection option under the Security section
- Click on the option
- You an see whether it is enabled or not if enable you will see text that Hotlink protection is currently enabled.If it is disabled then enable it by clicking on the enable button.
- In URL to access text box write www and non www url of your domain and subdomain.So if you have 1 sub domain static.domain.com then the entries are , , , http://www.domain.com.
- You should also enable Google Image and Bing Image to make your images available to these search engines.Write http://images.google.com and http://bing.com/images to this text box to make your images available to search engines.
- In the block direct access to these files write image extensions as mentioned between the braces(jpg,jpeg,gif,png,bmp).
- You can allow direct access to your images (if someone writes complete URL of image in the address bar of the browser then image can be viewed) then enable the check box else keep it unchecked.
- You should create one image you will like to display to websites trying to hotlink or already hotlinked your images.Try to create images which promote your website.After creating the image upload that to your web directory and mention the URL of the image in Redirect request to this URL text box.
- You have now protected your image.
Enable and Disable web directory file direct access using cPanel
Web directory is directory on your web server which has files related to your website.If you have WordPress or any other content management system then those are installed on web directory.It is very important to disable direct access to files in this directory.
Let assume that you have put many files in your web directory but have not used them in any page of your website.You have planned to use them later on.If web directory files can be accessed directly then people can browse through folders on your web directory.They can access the files you do not want them to access and can download the files.This is something you do not want.
Having said that sometimes it is required to allow direct access to some folders in your web directory.For such folders you need to allow indexing.Disabling and enabling direct access to web directory files is very simple exercise and can be performed using cPanel or .htaccess file.
cPanel method is simpler than .htaccess file method as it provides user interface and do file editing is required.After log into cPanel account open Index Manager.You will see list of all folders in your home directory.Click on the www folder.On next page you will see below options
- Default System Setting
- No Indexes
- Standard Indexing (text only)
- Fancy Indexing (graphics and text)
Select the option No indexes and save the changes.
For enabling direct access to any folder you need to visit that folder and then click on that folder as mentioned above.You will see same options as mentioned above.Select any one of above option except the No indexes option to enable indexing of that folder.Save the changes.You can follow this approach for any number of folders and sub folders.
To disable indexing open .htaccess file in www directory (i.e web directory).You can do so by using code editor.Copy the below line
Scroll down to end of the .htaccess file and paste above line in it.Save the file.
To enable indexing of a particular folder open the folder.Create a blank .htaccess file and save the file.This will serve the purpose.You can follow this approach for any number of folders and sub folders.
Image resizing and image file format conversion using cPanel Image manager
Cpanel Image Manager is one of the best tools in hands of webmaster.It can be used to perform different tasks like
- Resizing Images
- Changing image file formats
The resize image feature helps webmasters to fix the serve scaled image a website performance measure standard of Google Page Speed.Serve scaled image is also known as don’t scale images using html performance measure of Yahoo Yslow.
- Login to Cpanel and open the Image Manager from Advanced section of Cpanel.
- Go to the Image Scaler option by clicking on it.
- Browse to the file whose dimensions you need to change and click on the file.
- A screen is displayed showing original dimension of the image as below.
- Change the dimension to dimension you want.For example let the original dimension be 1024*768 and the optimal dimension you want is 632*474 (wordpress twentyten theme standard) then edit the first box and write 632 as shown in the second figure.
- Enable the maintain aspect ratio option as shown in third image.
- If you want to have backup of original file then click on the backup option.
- Click on the Scale Image button.
- Original image file will have new dimensions and new file will be created with old dimensions.
- No change is required.
- You can follow above procedure to change image size of already uploaded images and wordpress users or other users won’t have to change anything anywhere.
- Enjoy improved performance.Serve scale image fixation can save you data in KB’s depending upon the original size of your file and optimal size.Generally 30-50 % reduction in file size is obtained which results in faster response.
Feel free to post your queries and suggestions below.Consider sharing this post if you found this helpful.I would be adding more tips and tricks based on your comment and feedback.