cPanel is a Linux-based web hosting control panel. It is the most popular tool of its type in the world and included free on your dedicated server. It allows you to use various tools through the use of a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This makes account management much easier than working through a command line interface.
A dedicated server can have many cPanel accounts. From the cPanel interface, you are able to manage all the websites and domains on that specific account. Here we will describe the different sections and what they do.
This section is on the left-hand side of your cPanel. It gives stats and details for your account. You will see such items as your domain name, disk space usage, your account IP address, and much more. This section simply reports the numbers and status at a glance.
This section is where you will manage your files. You can upload, download, and edit files using the File Manager tool. Accounts for FTP access are also in this section as well as the ability to monitor the connections. One of the most important tools located in this section are the Backup tools. They allow you to create your own backup files in case something happens.
Most modern websites use a database. This is the category that deals with their management. You will see tools for both MySQL and PostgreSQL, the two database types. MySQL is by far the most common. You will be able to create databases and their users. There are also tools where you can access, modify, and repair databases.
The domain name associated with your account is called the 'primary domain'. Other domains, such as addon and subdomains, are managed here in the Domains category. Using the tools in this category you will be able to add new ones and assign them as needed. Managing how the domains behave through record configuration is done through the DNS Zone Editor tools.
Email is usually a top priority for most businesses and organizations. This section is all about managing domain email accounts. There are tools for account creation, forwarders, and delivery tracking. You can also set up spam prevention through tools such as SpamAssassin and email filters.
Tracking different statistics for your website can be important to your business and marketing. The Metrics category is where you can view many different statistics, track errors, and measure bandwidth usage.
The Software category helps you to expand the capabilities of the websites on your account. Pear packages and PERL modules can be installed and PHP configuration can be reviewed. Other features such as a PHP version switcher or Softaculous installer tool can be added.
This section is reserved for tasks that are not common but are useful for customization. You will be able to do things such as create custom error pages or set up scheduled tasks via the Cron Jobs tool.
The Preferences category is where you can configure some of the aspects of cPanel itself. For instance, you can change the display language, change your contact information, and even reset your cPanel password.
You can see that cPanel has many different tools to help you with your website. All the tools presented here only deal with the sites controlled by a specific cPanel account. If you wish to make modifications to other cPanel accounts or configure more than one at the same time, you will need to use the Web Host Manager (WHM).