Here are some important and useful cPanel tips and tricks that would not only be a good learning experience, but also prove to be very useful in your day to day usage of cPanel interface.
1. Creating cPanel Account/Webmail Shortcut Icons
Purpose: To access your cPanel account and domain mailbox with just a single click of your mouse.
Advantage: It bypasses the need to type your cPanel log-in URL or domain mailbox URL on your web browser.
How to Guide:
- Go to the ‘Preferences’ section after logging in to your cPanel account.
- Click on the right most icon denoted by “Shortcuts”. It will open a new page.
- There will be two links under the sub-heading “How do I get them” – A. Access cPanel and B. Access cPanel Webmail. Drag and drop both the links either to your desktop or your browser’s ‘Bookmarks’ toolbar.
2. Creating Password Protect Directories
Purpose: To prevent selective visitors from accessing part of your website that is confidential in nature (For example – financial information or personal images/videos).
Advantage: You, being the owner of your website, have the power to control your visitors’ movement across certain section/pages on your website.
How to Guide:
- Click on “Password Protect Directories’ icon in the “Security” section on cPanel home page.
- It will lead you to a pop-up window where you will be asked to choose the document root for the domain in concern. Hit the “Go” button after selecting the desired domain.
- A list of folders (sub-directories) available for the selected domain will show up on the next page. Select the folder on which you want to deply password protection and click on the “Save” button. Do make sure that “Password protect this directory” checkbox is ticked.
- A confirmation message will be displayed that the access permission for that folder has been set. Click on the “Go Back” button located at the bottom of the confirmation message – it will take you back to the previous page where you will notice that a new section, “Authorized Users”, has become visible.
- “Authorized Users” input box is more or less an exception handler. Any user included here as authorized user will have access to the protected content. However, he/she will have to authenticate his status as an authorized user first. We will now explain the process of adding an authorized user and generating a password for enabling him to access the protected content.
- Fill in the input boxes denoted by “Username” and “Password”. Repeat the password in “Password (Again)” input box and click on “Add/modify authorized user” button. A message will get displayed to confirm the addition of the new user. Go back and scroll up to the middle section of the previous page and you will now be able to see the user in “Authorized Users” list.
3. Usage of IP Deny Manager Tool
Purpose: To make your website inaccessible to a particular IP address or a range of IP addresses.
Advantage: It allows you to proactively block any suspicious person/activities (For Example – a known hacker group or a business rival organization) which can potentially harm your website.
How to Guide:
- After loggin in to your cPanel account, scroll down to the “Security” section and click on the icon titled “IP Deny Manager”.
- In “IP Deny Manager” interface, you will find an option to “Add an IP to deny”. Fill in the corresponding input box with the IP address/range of IP addresses you want to block and click on the adjacent “Add” button. You can also specify a domain name (FQDN) and IP Deny Manager will try to resolve that domain name to a valid IP address. Please note the syntax in which you should fill in the IP address (s):
- Single IP address – Just type the IP address (Ex: 192.168.10.12)
- Range of IP addresses – First IP address-Last IP address (Ex: 192.168.10.12-192.168.10.32)
- IP in Subnet Mask (CIDR) Format – Network Prefix.Host Part/Network Mask (Ex: 192.168.10.12/24)
- The IP address(s) which you have blocked from accessing your website are available in “Current IP addresses being blocked” table on the bottom of the same page.
4. Generating GnuPG Key
Purpose: GnuPG Key encrypts messages using a ‘public key’ that can be decrypted only by a ‘private key’ available only to the intended recipient.
Advantage: It provides enhanced security in transferring confidential information to the intended recipient.
How to Guide:
- Go to Security section on your cPanel home page.
- Search for the corresponding icon for GnuPG Key. It is usually the right most icon in Security section.
- You will be asked to Create a New Key. Input the required information in corresponding input boxes and click on “Generate Key” button.
- A confirmation message will be displayed on successful generation of the key.
5. Configuring BoxTrapper
Purpose: To have a spam-free domain mailbox
Advantage: BoxTrapper is an effective antispam tool which comes as an optional add-on with cPanel hosting. If configured in a wise manner, it can combat spam e-mails in an efficient manner. By default, this feature is turned off in cPanel. In this tutorial, we will explain you the process of configuring and enabling Spam Assassin tool.
How to Guide:
- Locate box trapper icon in “Mail” section of your cPanel interface.
- Enable BoxTrapper by clicking on the “Enable” button, if the current status reads “Disabled”.
- Click on “Configure Settings” hyperlink.
- Provide your name, domain email ID(s) and the number of days the logs and messages in the BoxTrapper queue are to be kept. Uncheck the check box if you do not want to automatically whitelist the senders email address. Click on “Save” button.
- A notification will be displayed to confirm the successful configuration of BoxTrapper spam trap.
6. Generating SSH Key
Purpose: Secure Shell is a program to log in to your web server remotely. SSH Key is used as an authentication mechanism for secure file transfer and remote login.
Advantage: A connection established through SSH is encrypted in the transport layer to provide you with enhanced security.
How to Guide:
- Log in to your cPanel account and browse to Security section.
- Locate and click on the corresponding icon for SSH/Shell Access.
- Scroll down and click on “Manage SSH Keys” button. It will open a new tab.
- Under the heading “Create A New Key”, you can see two icons. Click on the first one which reads “Generate A New Key”.
- Provide inputs for Key Name, Key Password, Key Type and Key Size and then click on “Generate Key” button.
Click on Go Back button to return to Manage SSH Keys page. You will now be able to see the recently generated SSH Key listed in your Public Keys table. You can either view or download the key by clicking on the View/Download hyperlink.