Official Cpanel Newbie Guide

This guide assumes you already have Cpanel installed......this is meant to be a breif overview of some important features - not a complete WHM guide - that should be the responsibility of DarkOrb (>)
If you do not have Cpanel installed please read the guide from DarkOrb -
You need to login to your box right well here are a few things to help you. SSL logins are highly recommended for security - please see our Force SSL logins in the Cpanel Tutorials for more details.

First off is updates with Cpanel:
Do not use anything other than stable releases.
Server Setup/Change Update Preferences:
Cpanel/WHM Updates: Manual Updates Only (STABLE tree)
- All set to manual updates. I prefer manual over automatic because I like to keep a better eye on what has been changed.
If you select manual and you want to perform the update simply scroll down WHM and go to Cpanel 6 > Upgrade To Latest Version.

This will update Exim, Perl, Apache and Cpanel if updates are available - it will only update to the Cpanel release type you selected previously.

To see if new updates are available go to
EG: Latest Builds:
Cpanel-6.4.0-STABLE_16-Linux-i686-glibc-2.1 (Tue Apr 15 12:34:00 2003

Read your WHM news page to see important release and news information!

Cpanel and the kernel - use up2date
Cpanel can update your system software - but won't upgrade your kernel for you, you have to do that with up2date
Note: Don't upgrade Perl with up2date it will break your Cpanel Perl!

Up2date information can be found here:
Note: You need to use rhn_register before up2date will work!
"You can use the RedHat Network for free by registering from your system (/usr/sbin/rhn_register) and running up2date from there. Then up2date -l will show the list of available updates"

Tweak Settings:
Anything not listed is up to you

Things to enable:

  • Webalizer Stats
  • Awstats Stats (Very nice stats program - recommended.
  • Spamassassin
  • Disk Space Usage Warnings
  • The number of times users are allowed to check their mail using pop3 per hour: (60)
  • The maximum each domain can send out per hour (0 is unlimited): (250) - This is SMTP only!
  • Email users when they have reached 80% of their bandwidth

Things you don't or shouldn't really enable:

  • Prevent the user 'nobody' from sending out mail to remote addresses (php and cgi scripts generally run as nobody if you are not using phpsuexec and suexec respectively.)
    (This won't allow PHP scripts to send mail - EG formmail or anything else as they're sent using nobody)
  • Keep log files at the end of the month (default is off as you can run out of disk space quickly)

Configure Backup under WHM:

  • Backup Status: Enabled
  • Backup Interval (Note: Selecting Daily Backup with give you monthly and weekly as well, Selecting Weekly backup will give you monthly as well.) Daily or weekly - up to you
  • Days to run backup (explanitory)
  • Remount/Unmount backup drive (requires a seperate drive/coda/nfs mount) - Disabled
  • Bail out if the backup drive cannot be mounted (recommended if you have selected the above option) - Enabled
  • Incremental backup (only backup what has changed. (**No Compression**) - Disabled
  • Backup Accounts - Enabled
  • Backup Config Files (not needed to restore specific accounts) - Enabled
  • Sql Databases (at least per accounts is needed to use the restore feature) - Per account
  • Backup Raw Access Logs - Enabled
  • Backup Destination (this should be a dir/nfs/coda mount with at least twice the space of all your /home* partitions. Setting this to /home is a VERY BAD IDEA.): - /backup
    (Note: you need a second hard drive and should have it set to /backup in your fstab file)

Service Status
System Health and running services - eg Apache, Exim etc.
Green = Good | Yellow = Warning | Red = Trouble
Clients can see the service status through their own Cpanel as well.

Things to pay attention to:
- Server Load 0.12 (1 cpu) - the lower the better!
- Memory Used

I have setup APF by Gpan (How-To section) and it works great! The only thing is you need to add 2095 and 2096 to the common ports list because those are your webmail and secure web mail ports!

No one tells you where they are but it's very important to know
All users have their own seperate log files - every domain has their own logs - eg:

  • Exim: - /var/log/exim_mainlog -/var/log/maillog -/var/log/exim_paniclog
  • Apache: -Error Log: /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log (404 not found errors, etc)
    - Access Log: /usr/local/apache/logs/access_log
    - Site Logs: /usr/local/apache/domlogs/
  • Logins: /var/log/secure /var/log/logins_log
  • Messages: /var/log/messages
  • Cpanel: /usr/local/cpanel/logs/access_log

Other things to know:
Restart Cpanel in SSH #:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/cpanel3 restart

Cpanel Manual Backup & Update - if backup doesn't work through WHM - SSH  command #:
cd /scripts/ then do ./cpbackup
cd /scripts then do ./upcp

Apache Config Test in SSH: -test httpd.conf file for errors!
/usr/local/apache/bin/apachectl configtest

The configuration file is located in /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf so you may need to edit it in Pico or your favourite editor and make changes.

Manual Stop - Start of services in SSH: (start | stop | restart) #
service httpd
service exim
service proftpd
service named
service mysql

That's all I can think of for now! Overall Cpanel is easy to use and has some nice automated features but a control panel can only do so much, you need to get your hands dirty sometimes!

Tags: Cpanel / WHM