HostGator and cPanel, both have one thing in common – popularity. While HostGator is one of the most popular web hosting brands ever created, check out this HostGator India review to know why, cPanel is used by roughly 90% of all web hosting providers.
As cPanel is such a well-known web hosting control panel among users, no wonder HostGator, like most other EIG brands, uses them too. No matter if you’re an existing user of HostGator or just considering signing up for their service, this beginner-friendly HostGator cPanel guide will help you learn the ins & outs of the specific version of the cPanel of HostGator.
B. What Can You Do With A cPanel?
To put it in a better way, what can you not do with cPanel? This stand-alone control panel is all you need to never have to fiddle around with code or the back-end of a Linux system. It lets you control all the important technical aspects of your web hosting account with ease, such as:
- Add or remove domain names from your hosting account.
- Install CMS like WordPress or Drupal manually or via an extension like Softaculous.
- Manage all your files using its built-in file manager.
- Manage your website backups, and restore backed up data if needed.
- Check vital stats about your websites like their website traffic and traffic log.
- Monitor your account’s crucial resource usage, especially bandwidth and disk space usage.
- Installing SSL on your website and much more!
D. HostGator Control Panel – The Ins and Outs
The first time you log into HostGator’s cPanel, you’ll be greeted by a screen like this:
This is a rather new UI of cPanel, made possible by the new ‘Paper Lantern’ theme. Now, let’s discuss how to login to HostGator cpanel and other things you can easily accomplish in the various sub-sections of this HostGator cPanel tutorial.
1. Understanding File Manager
Here, you’ll be able to, first of all, manage all your files on HostGator’s server via the File Manager application. The ‘Directory Privacy’ tool will then allow you to easily manage permissions (CHMOD) of each directory in your hosting account. The FTP-related options make it possible for you to setup, remove, or change the credentials of FTP (File-Transfer-Protocol) account for your account. In short, FTP makes it possible for you to upload, delete or modify files in your web server directly, without you needing to login into cPanel (HostGator login cPanel).
The HostGator cPanel backup options are pretty self-explanatory, they allow you to backup your cPanel account as a whole, or individual parts of it, like the MySQL accounts, or specific directories. The ‘Images’ option allows you to quickly convert, scale or generate thumbnails of the images of any particular directory under your hosting account.
The ‘Disk Usage’ option shows you the amount of disk space you’re using currently, and how much is left according to your hosting plan. It also lists a series of directories under your hosting account, listing the ones that are currently consuming the most space, first.
2. Creating And Managing Databases
As the name suggests, this HostGator control panel section deals with your MySQL databases (required for most modern CMS’s like WordPress). Using ‘phpMyAdmin’, you can perform administrative tasks on your databases (edit, create, delete etc.) via a dedicated interface. The other options help you create new MySQL databases, MySQL users and show you how to establish a remote connection to any of your databases.
3. Managing Your Domain Names
In this section, you’ll find all sorts of options to manage domains that are connected to your HostGator account.
First of all, you can add additional domains to your cPanel (HostGator) via the ‘Addon Domains’ option. This answers the question on, ‘how to add domain to HostGator?’ Then, you can choose to add sub-domains under your root domains using the ‘Subdomains’ option. The two options right beneath these two will let you set-up aliases (www, non-www etc.) and redirects (301, 302 and others).
Finally, the DNS tools like the ‘Simple Zone Editor’ will allow you to edit your domains’ DNS records (TXT, CNAME etc.) – this won’t be of much use to beginners. Though advanced users using CNAME masking for their CDN sub-domain, for example, would find these options very useful.
4. Managing Your Email Accounts
The cPanel for HostGator comes with a ton of email-related options, so it’s very usual for beginners to get overwhelmed by these. As a beginner, you would probably not need anything other than the first ‘Email Accounts’ option, which lets you create email accounts for your domains, and log into those email accounts to view your emails.
Many of the other options on HostGator cPanel for email deals with SPAM-handling via Apache SpamAssassin, security, email forwarding etc. which you can safely ignore unless you know what you’re doing.
5. Monitor Your Website’s Raw Traffic
These options are basically monitoring-related, so they help you monitor your website’s raw traffic, bandwidth usage, etc. The ‘Errors’ option also lets you quickly browse recent errors (if any) caused by malfunctioning scripts, for example.
6. Increasing Security Via cPanel
This section contains a bunch of options related to the security of your account and websites. First of all, it offers the SSH Access or root access information. Then you’ve got the IP Blocker, which, as the name suggests, blocks IP addresses of your choice from accessing your websites.
The SSL and TLS module allows you to install SSL (for domains) and TLS (for emails). And lastly, the Leech & Hotlink Protection allows you to restrict the usage of images and files hosted on your server on third-party websites. This helps save a great deal of bandwidth in case your hosted images and files are popular and are referenced (by URL) by many other websites.
7. Getting to Know One Click Installs
This section is made up of two set of tools, one for the everyday users, and the other for the hardcore geeks. The options that you’ll most likely use are ‘QuickInstall’ and ‘WordPress Tools.’ In short, QuickInstall will let you install many of the popular CMS’s with just a few clicks, check out this HostGator WordPress install to learn more (as opposed to lengthy, multi-step manual installation procedures).
Then, you’ll find a bunch of technical tools like the PHP version selector, the Domain File Swapper, and the PHP PEAR Packages, which are better left alone if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not sure if you need to touch them.
8. Advanced Settings
In this section, the most commonly used feature is ‘Cron Jobs’. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically a periodic function used by WordPress and other popular Content Management Systems for getting periodic, repetitive work done – such as getting your scheduled posts published.
Apart from this one, the ‘MIME Types’ option may be useful to some, as it allows you to control various file extensions (such as .jpg, .png, .exe, .pdf etc.) and whether they can be uploaded to your server or not.
9. Updating cPanel Preferences
One of the frequent searches from newbie HostGator users is ‘how to change HostGator cpanel password?’ This section is related to it and is full of other self-explanatory features.
These mostly allow you to perform administrative operations like changing your cPanel password, changing your contact information, adding additional users to your account, changing the default language, or changing the current HostGator control panel theme to a different one.
Apart from using the modern ‘Paper Lantern’ theme, you can also switch to the classic cPanel theme that most long-time users of the control panel are familiar with.
HostGator cPanel – Is it Right for You?
Now that you’re familiar with commonly-asked things like ‘HostGator login to cPanel’ and ‘HostGator cPanel features’, it’s time to ask yourself, is HostGator’s control panel right for you?
If you’re already decided about getting a Shared hosting plan and considering HostGator, then the cPanel of HostGator won’t make any major difference to your choice, as it’s the industry-standard cPanel used by the majority of the other shared hosts.
In fact, this version of cPanel that HostGator uses has some exclusive features, like the Google Apps integration. So, in a way, it’s even more feature-packed than any standard installation of cPanel used by inferior or low-quality web hosting providers.
HostGator chooses to display your most vital resource usage statistics in the sidebar without hiding anything (like many other web hosts). This speaks for the transparency that a web hosting conglomerate like HostGator believes in.
The sidebar on the left allows you to quickly visit various sections from HostGator’s website, such as their special HostGator hosting coupons offer, domain registration service, email marketing solution, and most importantly, the HostGator support chat and cPanel, that definitely distinguishes them from most other web hosts that don’t offer such useful integrations.