There are many things I look for when comparing web hosting companies, but a convenient and user friendly control panel, such as the highly popular cPanel is high on my list. This may not be something you think of right away when considering web hosting, but in the long run it makes a big difference in how easy it is to manage your site.
HostGator is one of the web hosts that’s well known for having a great cPanel. This is one of the reasons I use them, though it’s certainly not the only reason. In this article I’ll be talking about some of the advantages of hosting your site with HostGator, including have a tour of their cPanel control panel.
Some basic facts about HostGator
Before I get into the cPanel, it’s worth mentioning a few of the other features you get with HostGator – a web hosting company which a lot of us are using.
- Unlimited Disk Space and Bandwidth
- Unlimited Domains (with Baby or Business plans)
- Shared SSL Certificate (private with Business plan)
- Access to 24/7 support by live chat, email or phone
- Sitebuilder to build a site quickly without coding
- Install more than 75 scripts instantly – e.g. WordPress, Magento, Wiki Hosting, Joomla, etc.
These are some of the benefits you get with all of HostGator’s shared hosting plans. There are three basic plans: Hatchling, Baby and Business. Although Hatchling is the cheapest.
I would recommend going with one of the other two simply because you get unlimited domains. Unlimited domains allow you to host more than 1 website under the same hosting account. Even if you only have one website to start with, there’s a good chance you will want more sooner or later.
I have many websites hosted with HostGator and find them to be very reliable and customer friendly. Fortunately, I seldom have to contact support. The times I have had issues, however, the responses were fast and helpful.
If, like me, you use WordPress to set up your sites, HostGator is very convenient. You can install as many WordPress sites as you want using Fantastico (which can be found in your cPanel).
The cPanel control panel is the dashboard from where you can manage your entire website. It’s a convenient way to make any necessary changes or to add some new things, to your hosting account.
Unless you are very active when it comes to building, coding and editing your website, you will probably only use a fraction of the features in your cPanel. There’s nothing wrong with that; what matters is that you do have the capability to use any of these features if you ever need to.
Let’s go over some of the main features you will find in your cPanel.
These are promotional offers that HostGator is currently offering.
Gives you fast access to online support, website templates, domain management and billing.
Here you can access the Getting Started Wizard and video tutorials to help you navigate the cPanel; you can also change your password and contact info.
You can create and manage your email accounts here as well as set up forwarders, mailing lists and other mail related features.
SEO and Marketing Tools
Links to Google Website Services, sitemaps and other SEO related resources.
This is a section you will probably use a lot to access your File Manager, backups, FTP accounts and other files related to your sites. Anyway, for myself, I usually access to my files through a FTP client program, such as FileZilla.
Check data related to visitors, bandwidth, Google Analytics and more. You can also check your website’s statistics here.
Password Protect Directories, IP Deny Manager and other tools for security.
Create or manage new domains, parked domains, sub-domains and add-on domains.
Create and manage MySQL databases. You can use phpMyAdmin to access your databases here.
Apache Handlers, Image Manager, Cron Jobs, and Network Tools. If you are not familiar with these advanced tools, you can just leave them alone.
Access to script installers like Fantastico and other useful software such as BaseKit SiteBuilder and Ruby on Rails.
Using your cPanel
As you can tell from the above list, you can perform dozens of tasks through HostGator’s cPanel. You don’t have to understand everything to be able to use what you need. You can learn one function at a time as you require them.
Or you can take some time to familiarize yourself with the whole system. That way, when you do need to makes some changes on your cPanel, you will have some idea on how to proceed. The video tutorials and “Getting Started Wizard” give you some helpful tools to learn how everything works.
Is HostGator the Right Web Host for You?
Although I have focused on HostGator’s cPanel in this article, that’s only one of the reasons I like this web host. They are also one of the most experienced and established companies on the Internet.
This gives them the resources to provide high level service at all times. Your site is far less likely to experience problems like downtime or hacker attacks when it’s hosted by a large web host like HostGator.
The cPanel does provide you with a simple way to manage your site. When you first look at it, the page may be a little overwhelming. That’s because there are so many features available, more than most people will ever need. However, this is an indication of what you can do with your site if you ever want to.
I would recommend checking out HostGator if you plan on building a website. It’s also worth looking at if you already have a site but are considering a change of web host. There’s no reason to settle for inferior or mediocre web hosting when you have professional ones like HostGator around!