Hosting cheatsheet for new website owners
When it comes to having a website, there are a few tips and tricks that you need to know about. Managing your website is not just about sharing the URL and hoping someone clicks on adverts. A lot of work actually goes into running a website, such as hosting, even more so if it’s well managed. Most users won’t ever have to worry about CPU loads or which version of PHP they are running, but there are still a few important features to keep in mind.
Below is a range of basic hosting tips and tricks that you should take note of.
Changing account usernames and passwords
When signing up for a new hosting package, your host should provide you with the account, FTP, and email details. All of these need to be kept somewhere safe and secure, which shouldn’t need to be said. If those details got into the wrong hands, it could spell trouble for the website.
If you don’t like the details you’re given, say you want to change the email address or password, your hosting package comes with all of the tools needed to change that info.
For example, if you’d like to amend email-related details, look for the “Email” heading in cPanel. Then click on “Email Accounts” in order to change all of your details, including the maximum size for your mailbox.
Other details can be changed through your website’s hosting account. For any queries on this, make sure to contact the host’s support department.
You can easily install website software
You may want to install a blogging system, e-commerce software, or a forum on your website. The good news is you don’t need to install it from scratch, fiddling with FTPs and database encoding. Most hosting providers come with either Fantastico or Softaculous, which are programs that install the website software for you.
Log into your cPanel account, look for the “Software” heading and click on “Softaculous Apps Installer”. From here, select which software you’d like to install and follow the steps. The program will create the required folders and a database for you. All you need to do is fill in a few easy details and you’re done. Within minutes you’ll have a website to play around with.
Do you need one URL for multiple services? Maybe your e-commerce store offers food and shoes, but you’d like to keep stores under the same name. Most web hosts allow you to create a subdomain of your current domain. This means you can have the entire website sitting at example.yoursite.com while another is on yoursite.com.
In order to create a subdomain, log into your cPanel account, look for the “Domains” section and click on “Subdomains”. From here you can enter the name of your subdomain, which will generally populate all of the options you need. The subdomain will have its own folder to install the software in, which means the main site can run on WordPress, while the subdomain is Opencart.
If you own several domains, but one website, all of the domains can point to that site. It’s a pretty easy thing to set up and, much like everything else on this list, can be done through cPanel.
Log into your cPanel account, look for the “Domains” section and then “Redirects”. From here you’ll be able to set up a redirect, the domain that needs to be directed, and where it’s redirecting to. Of course, you need to actually own the domains that you are redirecting.
You can have a domain from one company and a hosting package from another
Though it’s not really recommended as it’s easier to keep everything under one roof, you can, in fact, host your website’s domain with one company and the hosting package with another.
When purchasing the new package, the company will ask if you’d like to use a domain that you already own. Upon completing the purchase, you’ll be sent instructions on how to do so.
If this is too much of a hassle, the domain can be transferred to your new hosting provider.
When moving website hosts
If you have a hosting account already but want to move providers, it’s going to require a bit of legwork. It’s not just about purchasing a new account and having the new host take over the domain. What happens to all of your actual website data?
When moving to a new host there’s a good chance that the company won’t help you transfer all of the data over and it’ll be up to you. You’ll need to backup all of your website’s data and its databases. In order to do this, log into cPanel, look for the “Files” section and click on “Backup”. From here you’ll be able to download everything in easy .zip files.
As you can see, cPanel is an incredibly powerful tool to help make running your website easier. Besides the features listed in this article, it can also monitor website traffic, storage space, and a range of other features. Have a look around and you may just be surprised.