If you’ve spent time shopping for web hosting services, you have undoubtedly seen a lot mentioning cPanel. While it is not the only control panel software suite available for web hosting, it is among the most popular. Because of this, many people wonder if they should pick a web host that uses cPanel, or if it would be better to use an alternative.
Taking the time to learn more about cPanel, what it is used for, and why it is so popular will help you make the best decision.
- cPanel has various functions that assist with installing your content management system (CMS), managing databases, and more.
- All cPanel packages are for web hosting, yet not all web hosting packages use cPanel.
- When seeking cPanel hosting, look for great support and resources along with room to grow.
What Is cPanel?
cPanel is a software suite designed to serve as the control panel for managing websites. It is a Linux-based suite offering those who run a website a simple graphical user interface (UI) for performing tasks related to their website.
Some of the many functions you can perform from the cPanel interface include:
- Install your CMS: With just a few clicks, you can install the CMS of your choice using applications within cPanel. This makes it extremely easy for anyone to start a website, even without coding or technical experience.
- Schedule website data backups: You can schedule backups and perform recoveries all from one convenient place on your cPanel system.
- Manage databases: Almost all websites will need a database to function. You can create and manage many types of databases, including SQL, from cPanel.
- Create sub-domains: You can set up subdomains to host multiple sites on one hosting package.
cPanel is a comprehensive web hosting management suite that lets you perform hundreds of tasks from one interface.
Is There a Difference Between cPanel Hosting and Web Hosting?
When shopping for web hosting, it is confusing seeing what is listed as a feature vs. what web hosting service in general is. For example, one hosting company may list some of its packages as “cPanel Web Hosting.” Another may list it as just “Web Hosting.”
Both listings are similar and work well for running most types of websites. cPanel is just one type of control panel used to perform tasks on your hosting server and website. One way to think about it: all cPanel packages will be for web hosting, but not all web hosting packages will use cPanel (though most do).
Is cPanel Free?
Technically speaking, cPanel is not free. But the average person or business who wants to run a website will not have to pay for it. cPanel sells its suite of products to web hosting companies which pay one license fee to offer it to all of their customers. Virtually all web hosting companies provide cPanel to their customers free of charge.
So, while not free, practically speaking, it is for the end-user. The only rare exception to this will be if you want to self-host your website in your data center and use cPanel.
Who Are the Best cPanel Web Hosting Providers?
If you decide cPanel web hosting is best, your next step is finding a good hosting company. We constantly evaluate and review companies to help our readers find the top cPanel hosting providers in business today. They are evaluated based on many factors; we look at both new and old hosting companies to determine the best at any given time. You can read our list of the best cPanel hosting companies.
Is There an Alternative to cPanel?
cPanel is one of the most widely-used options, with good reason. It makes managing your web hosting environment far easier than it otherwise would be, and is made for Linux, the most popular operating system for web servers.
However, there are several other great control panels for web hosting. For example, Plesk is a control panel suite for Windows-based web servers. There are various other options if, for some reason, you do not want to use cPanel.
Should I Pick a Web Host That Uses cPanel?
While there are many alternatives to cPanel, there is also a reason why cPanel is the most popular. It makes things easy for users, and since it has been so popular for so long, there is a ton of support documentation, videos, and other resources to help people run websites.
In addition, nearly every web hosting provider offers cPanel options, so it is easy to find excellent service at a great price.