cPanel is an award-winning control panel you will find offered in numerous web hosting plans. Its web-based Graphical User Interface is designed to provide users with the ability to handle website administration with ease, a reason why this control panel is preferred by many novice users.
Owned and distributed by cPanel Inc., the software is intended for the use of commercial web hosting companies, meaning it requires the purchase of a license. However, cPanel is available for certain entities at discounted prices. For example, non-profit organizations such as educational institutions can obtain a cPanel license for a reduced cost and sometimes free. Dedicated and managed hosting companies can also purchase licenses at a reduced price when installing the control panel with their operating system. cPanel is platform specific and runs on the Linux operating system. Some of the variations it supports include CentOS, Fedora, Mandiva, Red Hat and SUSE among others.
Brief History of cPanel
The cPanel software was originally designed for Speed Hosting, a web hosting company that is now defunct. Speed Hosting eventually merged with Web King, another web hosting provider that began using the software. From there, the new company moved its servers to VDI, (Virtual Development Inc.), a web hosting company that is no longer around as well. An agreement was made and cPanel was only made available to customers hosting with VDI. It was not until 1999 that cPanel became a significant force on the control panel market.
1999 marked the release of cPanel 3, a version that offered many new improvements, including the addition of WHM (Web Host Manager). Version 3 underwent a few upgrades including bug fixes and a facelift that gave it the default theme we all know today. Because of internal conflict between VDI and original developer Nick Koston, the software was divided into two separate control panels – cPanel and WebPanel, with the latter being used by VDI. Koston went on to work with other web hosts before deciding to focus solely on cPanel. Now on version 11, cPanel is stable, reliable and the most widely used control panel on the market.
cPanel offers a great level of control to the end-user, allowing you to handle various operations such as managing files and FTP accounts, administering PGP keys, adding domain names and much more. The software also supports a number of third-party applications, the most popular being Fantastico. With Fantastico, you can install a wide variety of programs such as WordPress, phpBB, Drupal, Tiki Wiki, Joomla and more than 50 others.
cPanel sets itself apart from many web hosting control panels with the ability to manage applications independent of the operating system. For example, it can be used to automatically apply upgrades to software packages like PHP, the MySQL database server and Apache web server. This functionality helps web hosting companies make sure that packages are always up to date and remain compatible with cPanel. The power and simplicity of this control panel makes it a number one choice for server administrators and end-users alike.