If you are building your own website, you want it to be as simple as possible. One way to do that is to use a cPanel hosting site, which allows you to use the world’s most popular control panel for all your website managing needs.
Many web hosts use cPanel, but there are a few key things to consider when choosing a cPanel host, including good server speeds and stability, smart resource allocation, customer support, and price.
What Is cPanel Hosting?
cPanel is the most popular application for managing hosted websites. A point-and-click interface allows you to easily do the most common tasks (set up email accounts, create backups, install software, etc.) on your site.
Many web hosting companies offer cPanel. So if it is important to you, you have a lot of choices. This guide will help you consider all your options so that you can pick the right host for you.
What Is cPanel?
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced webmaster, the control panel on your hosting account is the key to a smooth, easy experience, and cPanel has become almost the industry standard.
Hosting customers like cPanel because:
It’s super easy to navigate
The experience is the same on almost every host
Technical tasks have a simple graphical interface
Built-in help stops you from doing anything potentially damaging
You spend more time on your website and less on the administration behind it
It can do all kinds of things you wouldn’t expect
How To Choose a cPanel Web Host
Other common cPanel account features to look out for are:
Unlimited resources like email accounts, databases, disk space, and bandwidth
MySQL (My structured query language) database management and creation
Integrated site builders
One-click installs via Fantastico or Softaculous
A brief demonstration of the database options and MySQL management.
cPanel can also be used as a platform for bolt-ons. The most common is Fantastico, a script library that offers hundreds of applications for one-click installation. Fantastico takes all the hassle out of setting up and deploying applications like WordPress, phpBB (hypertext preprocessor bulletin board), Joomla, and osCommerce.
Beyond Fantastico, you may also want to look for Softaculous script installer integration, enabling you to extend cPanel’s functionality even further.
Lastly, the cPanel host you choose should be based on the goals of your website. For example, if you want to start an e-commerce website, it’s a good idea to search around for a hosting service that bundles a free SSL certificate and shopping cart integration.
You can usually add these on for a fee at a later date, but if you know you’re selling products, then it’s smart to make sure these features are included from the start.
Overall, most people end up opting for a hosting provider that provides a cPanel control panel, or at least their own customized version of it. Still, there are other options out there, which we dive into below.
Makes setup and installation easy; has a great introductory price; has 24/7 live support
Bluehost is one of the industry's most widely known hosting providers. They primarily focus on WordPress-optimized hosting and finding ways to make setup and installation a breeze for their customers. They offer three dedicated hosting plans, each at a different price point.
The standard plan starts at $2.75 monthly and includes one free domain and three dedicated IP (internet protocol) addresses. You can also expect a WHM, 5 TB (terabytes) of bandwidth, 4 GB (gigabytes) of RAM (random access memory), and a 2.3 GHz (gigahertz) CPU (central processing unit) clock speed.
Bluehost does not offer an uptime guarantee like many other providers on the market. This may concern some, but Bluehost is known for its dependability. Multiple independent audits show Bluehost’s uptime is around 99.95%, which is above the industry standard.
Customer service options at Bluehost include 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support. Having these options available round the clock ensures you can quickly resolve any client issues.
Pros and cons of Bluehost
Easy to use
Pre-installed SSL for your clients
24/7 live support
No billing solution with the standard plan
No uptime guarantee
What customers are saying about Bluehost
Bluehost is a reputable provider offering shared and VPS hosting. The company is easy to use, affordable, and has great uptime. It is geared toward entrepreneurs and small online startups. Billing might be confusing, but they have solid customer service for any issues.
SiteGround’s hosting plan costs $2.99 per month. It works for one website and includes 10 GB SSD (solid-state drive) storage, unlimited email accounts, daily backups, free CDN, and a free SSL certificate. While it also offers unmetered data transfer, SiteGround suggests that its performance is only suitable for up to 10,000 monthly visits.
If your site has more traffic, you should upgrade to the GrowBig plan (25,000 monthly visits) or the GoGeek plan (100,000 monthly visits). These plans also work for unlimited websites and offer more SSD storage. If your needs are even more demanding, SiteGround offers cloud hosting and reseller hosting plans.
It should also be noted that SiteGround uses Google Cloud as its data center provider and matches all the energy used with green energy offsets.
While the price tag is relatively high, you should balance that negative against the positive of their powerful performance when deciding. Plus, they’re carbon neutral.
Pros and cons of SiteGround
24/7 phone support
100% green energy match
The basic plan is more expensive than comparable plans.
What customers are saying about SiteGround
SiteGround is a reliable web hosting company with fast speeds, a user-friendly interface, and solid customer service. Some customers are not thrilled with the price increase and back-end support.
Hostinger is most notable for its low prices. With prices starting at just $1.99 per month (discounted from $9.99), you’ll be hard pressed to find cheaper hosting.
But that $1.99 per month Single Shared plan works for just one website and only offers one email account and 100 GB of bandwidth. Another limitation is that Hostinger has the lowest uptime rate of all providers covered in this guide.
You’ll need to upgrade to the Premium Shared or Business Shared plan for unlimited websites, email accounts, and bandwidth. Hostinger offers cloud hosting and VPS hosting as well.
Although the uptime rate is low, Hostinger somewhat makes up for it with a blazing fast average response time. And while the basic plan is somewhat limited, the incredibly low price point simply can’t be ignored.
Pros and cons of Hostinger
Low starting price
Uptime below 99%
What customers are saying about Hostinger
Hostinger is one of the best hosting companies for people who are starting out with a website and seeking low prices. The customer service and mail server could use some improvements, though.
949 ms average response time; intuitive interface makes it easy to manage your domains, web software, databases, and email
All of A2 Hosting’s shared hosting plans include a cPanel control center. Even if you don’t have much technical experience, this intuitive interface makes it easy to manage your domains, web software, databases, and email.
These shared hosting plans include a free SSL certificate, DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection, and Cloudflare CDN. If you upgrade to the Turbo Boost or Turbo Max plan, you get access to A2 Hosting’s turbo servers, which load 20 times faster than average.
In addition to shared hosting, A2 includes cPanel-based site management with VPS hosting, reseller hosting, dedicated hosting, and WordPress hosting plans.
There’s a lot to like about A2 Hosting; it offers many feature-rich plans with cPanel site management, a flexible money-back guarantee, and 24/7 phone support.
However, according to an independent audit, its uptime for shared hosting falls short of the industry standard of 99.9%.
Pros and cons of A2 Hosting
24/7 phone support
Flexible money-back guarantee
Uptime below 99.9%
What customers are saying about A2 Hosting
A2 is a reliable, affordable hosting company that has fast speeds. The customer service is generally responsive but could use more updated tutorials and documentation.
InMotion’s VPS hosting and dedicated hosting plans include unlimited websites along with unlimited email addresses
InMotion Hosting’s cheapest plan is the Core plan for $2.29 per month (discounted from $8.99 per month). It works for two websites and includes cPanel-based site management, 100 GB SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, ten email accounts, a security suite, marketing tools, and a free SSL certificate.
If you require more websites, you can upgrade to the Launch, Power, or Pro plans that offer unlimited websites and email addresses.
InMotion’s VPS hosting and dedicated hosting plans also include a cPanel interface.
It’s good to see that InMotion Hosting is confident enough in the quality of their service to offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, and they have many features that will entice users to stick with them for good. However, shared hosting users may feel pressured to upgrade to the Pro plan and its 99.999% uptime SLA (service-level agreement), as this provider’s verified uptime across all shared hosting plans is just 99.836%.
Pros and cons of InMotion Hosting
90-day money-back guarantee
Basic plan more expensive than comparable plans
Servers only available in North America Below-average speed.
What customers are saying about InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting's high-performance hosting, support team, features, and customer service are well-liked. Prices are fair, but can fluctuate.
Provides one-on-one training for users who lack technical experience
HostPapa’s shared hosting, VPS hosting, and reseller hosting plans all feature a cPanel interface.
The Starter shared hosting plan works for one website and includes 100 GB of SSD storage, a free standard SSL certificate, and free domain registration. Upgrading to the more premium plans unlocks extra features such as unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited email accounts, automated backups, SiteLock security, and a business website builder.
One unique benefit HostPapa provides for all their shared hosting plans is one-on-one training. Users who don’t have much technical experience are often confused by the processes involved with hosting and managing websites — HostPapa pledges to help walk you through it until you can do it on your own.
HostPapa is a solid all-around hosting option, as it offers plenty of features and no performance issues. The one real downside to HostPapa is that it does not offer some of the higher-end hosting options such as dedicated servers.
Pros and cons of HostPapa
No dedicated servers
No live chat support
What customers are saying about HostPapa
HostPapa is a solid domain registration and web hosting service that is simple to navigate. They have servers around the world and good support. The prices are affordable, but VPS hosting can be more costly.
Has several plans to match the needs of your business and website
HostGator’s shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and reseller hosting plans include not just a cPanel-based interface but also advanced tools such as a web-based file manager, hotlink protection, and IP deny manager.
The HostGator Hatchling shared hosting plan works for one website and includes unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and free domain registration. Upgrading to the more premium plans will provide you with extra features such as unlimited websites, free dedicated IP, and free SEO tools.
Also, HostGator’s shared hosting plans include $100 in Google Adwords credits to help you get your name out there and attract new visitors to your site.
The advanced management tools are a nice touch, and the uptime rate is satisfactory — but if you’re looking for high-speed service, you’ll need to keep looking.
Pros and cons of HostGator
Advanced management tools
24/7 phone support
What customers are saying about HostGator
HostGator is a good fit for beginners seeking a web host with various features. The customer service and prices are favorable but avoid paying for unnecessary extras. Note there are limitations to the SEO capabilities.
Frequently Asked Questions About cPanel Web Hosting Sites
What is cPanel?
cPanel is a hosting control panel. It allows you to change the settings on your account, set up email accounts, add domains, and more. cPanel also makes it relatively easy to create backups of your account and move all of your data from one hosting provider to another.
Is cPanel free?
Hosting accounts purchase cPanel licenses, passing the cost to customers. You probably won’t have to pay extra for shared hosting plans but you may be asked to cover the license cost on VPS and dedicated server plans.
What can you do with cPanel?
On the cPanel dashboard, you can find tools to create and manage email accounts, manage your website files, backup your data, create and edit databases, and more. Some hosts create addons for cPanel to increase its functionality.
Is cPanel secure?
Like websites, cPanel is as secure as the user makes it. It’s entirely possible for hackers to try to break into your server space through cPanel. Luckily, there are simple steps you can — and should — take to safeguard your cPanel against hackers.
These steps include basic security measures like creating a strong password, enabling a firewall, installing antivirus software, securing your entry points, and more. While all of these steps may be a little time-consuming, they are well worth it to protect your site.
Is cPanel easy to use?
Yes. cPanel is easy for beginners to grasp. You don’t need technical knowledge to use the most common features, and there’s plenty of help material online. cPanel is practically identical on every host, so once you know how to use it, you won’t have to re-learn it.
What kind of hosting plans does cPanel work with?
cPanel can be used to manage shared, dedicated servers, or VPS hosting plans. It’s included with most shared and reseller hosting plans and may be installed on a dedicated server or VPS hosting plan. Sometimes there’s an additional license fee for this.
What are the installation requirements for cPanel?
cPanel must be run on a Linux operating system: either CentOS (Cent operating system), RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), or CloudLinux. Your server should have a 226 MHz (megahertz) processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 40 GB of disk space.
Before installing cPanel, you must install Perl on your server. These are only things you need to worry about if you are self-managing a server. With most web hosting, the hosting provider will take care of these requirements for you.
Why is cPanel so widely used?
cPanel is just one of many control panels available for hosting users, but it is the most common and established. That’s partly because of the comprehensive tools it offers and because it’s also very reliable and intuitive. It’s generally easy to find community support, tutorials, and assistance for cPanel.
Aren’t all web hosting control panels the same?
No. Control panels vary considerably in terms of the features and interface they offer. cPanel is widely regarded to have the best of both, although some people prefer another control panel.
How does cPanel compare to Plesk?
Unlike cPanel, the Plesk control panel works on Windows and Linux servers. Plesk arguably provides more control over certain features, but it isn’t as intuitive. One positive aspect of Plesk is that it can be used to manage accounts and server settings, so there’s no need to install any other software if you plan to resell.
How does cPanel compare to DirectAdmin?
DirectAdmin is a competing control panel for Linux servers. It’s less expensive than cPanel because it has fewer bells and whistles.
One benefit of DirectAdmin is that it is not as resource intensive as cPanel. However, DirectAdmin lacks many of cPanel’s features and tools. Also, many hosting clients prefer and expect cPanel, partly because it’s so common and many hosting users already know how it works.
What’s the difference between cPanel and WHM?
WHM is often used in conjunction with cPanel. WHM is for server administrators and hosting resellers and allows them to create multiple hosting accounts and manage settings on their VPS or dedicated server. cPanel just controls the settings on one hosting account.
Are there any drawbacks to using cPanel?
Some developers and hosting providers have reservations about the way cPanel stores data. These won’t affect you as a hosting user.
If you’re a system administrator, you probably already know that cPanel is too basic to do everything you need. But many hosts give you the option of installing a different control panel if you find cPanel restrictive. Perhaps the biggest drawback of cPanel is that it doesn’t work on Windows hosting accounts.
Why do some hosts refuse to migrate non-cPanel accounts?
If you’re planning to move from one host to another, you need a really easy way to grab all of your account data. cPanel makes this very simple. Your host can seamlessly transfer all of your site content, databases, mailboxes, and preferences at once.
With other control panels, this isn’t quite so simple. Some don’t have any export options, and the ones that do will produce an export file incompatible with cPanel.
Since cPanel is the most common control panel on shared hosting accounts, this can present a problem for hosting providers because they have to move everything manually. cPanel to cPanel transfer is very efficient and has a very low risk of data loss. It’s quick and easy for hosts to transfer cPanel customers, which is why they often provide free migration.
Can I uninstall cPanel from my server?
If you have a VPS, your host may allow you to uninstall the control panel software. However, it might not help you to install an alternative. If you have a dedicated server, you should be able to install whatever control panel software you prefer.
Who develops and owns the cPanel software?
cPanel is developed and owned by cPanel, LLC (limited liability corporation), a privately-owned company based in Texas. It was first developed in 1997 by developer John Nick Koston, who is now the CEO.