For over two decades, shared hosting infrastructure has established itself as the most affordable entry-level platform for small businesses in the United States (and globally), allowing designers, developers and site owners the ability to launch new websites (and apps) quickly using user-friendly interfaces.
The cornerstone of its success and popularity is a piece of data center software called cPanel. cPanel is used by hosting providers to drive down support costs and offer customers a highly-accessible online dashboard from which to launch additional services and software, including the most popular feature, self-hosted WordPress blogs.
Since the hosting industry is highly competitive, customers have zero tolerance for complicated user interfaces or technology that does not embrace the simplicity and elegance of today’s Internet software.
“We have noticed that customers often will blame data centers if they are offered or encouraged to use software they do not understand, or that cannot meet their needs,” said cPanel.
Consequently, cPanel has developed an intuitive dashboard that appeals to both novice system administrators and those more experienced admins who prefer the raw power of command-line tools to configure server infrastructure. Literally thousands of data centers across the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia have adopted cPanel as the de facto command center from which customers can manage their shared hosting platforms.
Upon purchasing a shared hosting plan, customers can launch new services including email accounts, databases, apps, security, FTP and just about anything related to running a website.
cPanel has even evolved into an important marketing tool via its partnership with Attracta, which now allows site owners the ability to launch new search engine optimization (SEO) features from within the shared hosting platform including XML sitemap creation and its submission to major search engines, including Yahoo, Bing and Google. Further backlinking tools are available along with ways to check if your website has been blacklisted on a major search engine.
cPanel hosting also allows website owners tools to control all areas of domain management including adding a new domain, a sub-domain and add-on domains, which influence what website visitors see when they type a domain into an Internet address bar on a web browser.
And, since security is a huge issue these days, especially with the growing popularity of WordPress (that may require additional security lockdowns), cPanel also allows administrators tools to password protect directories and generate SSL certificates.
Importantly, cPanel also gives shared hosting customers additional firepower to protect their data through simple backup tools for databases, email and websites.
cPanel is thus considered the most popular control panel software in the world today and was the first to be made commercially available. cPanel works together with another piece of hosting software called WHM to automate server management tasks for administrators. They cumulatively work together to reduce overhead by simplifying complex tasks for shared hosting customers.
As of April 2013, the latest version of cPanel, 11.36, is more efficient than ever before for hosting companies allowing them to complete fresh installs 30% faster. These efficiencies translate into lower costs and fast-loading control panels for customers who purchase a shared hosting plan. It is therefore easy to conclude that future innovation in shared server infrastructure is in many ways dependent on the breakthroughs in software design coming out of cPanel.