Web Hosting Control Panels: The Basics
Article by Ash Kali
A control panel is the interface where you can perform the administration part of your webhosting account. You can typically control all portions of your site within the control panel.
Get to know the Popular Control Panels
The type of control panel the hosting companies use is one of the features that these companies compete on. The most popular ones are Plesk, CPanel and DirectAdmin.
Control Panel Basics
The Control Panel is like a dashboard or an overview panel where you can manage your account.You may see details such as bandwidth and disk space usage for the month, IP Address, quantity of MySQL databases, FTP accounts, domain names and email accounts you have. This is also the main page where you can edit your preferences.
Dissecting the Control Panel
Here are some of the important functions of a control panel.
Email The control panel is where you can administer your email settings. This function allows you to create email addresses, set quotas, set up mailing lists and auto responders.
File Management The file management function plays an important function. This is where you can manage the content of your website. It provides the document map of your site so you can view all files, directories and sub directories. This is also the part where you can create FTP accounts for ease of uploading and downloading documents to your site.
Security The security feature helps you in customising the security controls of your site. You can apply special permissions to some parts of your site that need special security. (For eg. “https” pages that require login.) You can also set up special permissions to certain websites, such as blocking certain IP addresses from accessing your site.
Statistics This one is a very powerful, and useful tool, especially if your site is a business or internet marketing site that require regular analysis of statistics such as traffic sources and the number of visitors to your site. While this information can be obtained by signing up with free tools such as Google Analytics, the statistical analysis tool offered by your hosting plan is usually more comprehensive. The tool provides data such as number of visitors, sources from which these visitors come to your site, how long the visitors stayed on your site etc.
The information you can garner from this data is priceless because it will help you to understand if your website is performing as expected. From the analysis, you can find means to improve the pages that have less visits, or shorter time frame of viewing.
Applications Many web hosts allow you to install third party software applications to enhance your website. These include site builders, blogs, E-Commerce stores, surveys, project management, image galleries etc., to name a few. One of such increasingly popular bundled software is Fantastico. Even if the web host doesn’t offer Fantastico, many web hosting companies nowadays offer an assorted array of such applications. Look for one that offers add-on applications that will add value to the nature of your site.
Well, this is just an overview of this powerful interface called the control panel. Knowing the basics will somehow help you in finding that ideal web hosting plan.
About the Author
Ash Kali researches and reviews the best web hosting services in the market.