Running your first webserver can be daunting. Even if you are familiar with running a cPanel account, there is much to learn regarding Web Host Manager (WHM). The first step to successfully running WHM is creating a cPanel account.
Where To Start
After you have logged into WHM, there are two ways to navigate to where you can create a cPanel account. First, you could click on the Account Functions, and on that page click Create a New Account. Alternatively, you could search for “Create a New Account” in the Find bar in the upper left hand corner of WHM.
First, WHM needs to know what the domain name will be for the primary website on this cPanel account. (#1 in the above screenshot). WHM will use that domain to create a username for the cPanel account (#2). This username is usually the first eight letters of the domain. Also, this username cannot be longer than eight letters.
Next, this cPanel account needs a password (#3). It will also need this password retyped (#4) to make sure that you did not type it incorrectly when creating the password. If you like, you can use the built-in Password Generator to create a secure password.
Finally, the cPanel account requires an e-mail address (#5). WHM automatically sends important information about the account to this e-mail address as events warrant.
The next step is to decide on an account package. In cPanel, packages are bundled configuration settings that can be used to easily give the same group of settings to multiple cPanel accounts. They are especially useful if you want to change the same setting among multiple accounts: one tweak to the package and the change is made for all the accounts using it.
If you are just starting out, you probably don’t have any packages configured (#1). In this case, check “Select Options Manually” (#2). This will expand a set of manual options you can pick for this account, which you can alternately save as a package (#3). By default, these options are set to “unlimited” or “0”, which amounts to the same thing.
The first option to change is “Disk Space Quota (MB)” (#1). By limiting the amount of disk space all cPanel users can take up, you will prevent server-wide space issues. The second option does the same for bandwidth (#2).
The next eight options take integers as their values, rather than megabytes. The third and fourth limit the number of FTP (#3) and e-mail (#4) accounts. The fifth restricts mailing lists (#5), and the sixth, MySQL databases (#6).
Options seven, eight, and nine limit subdomains, parked domains, and addon domains, respectively. The tenth limits the number of emails sent by a domain per hour. You should not need to restrict this for a customer unless they begin to put undue strain on your mailserver.
The eleventh and final resource option takes a percentage as its value. It limits the amount of sent mail per hour that fails or is deferred, as compared to all the mail that the cPanel account sends that hour. This could be useful in reducing the amount of spam an account succeeds in sending out, should they attempt to do so.
The next section deals with various settings for the account. First, “Dedicated IP” (#1) determines whether or not the account is hosted on the main shared IP address of the server. Generally, dedicated IPs are only required for sites that will be installing an SSL certificate. Otherwise, there is no harm in leaving on the main shared IP of the server.
Shell access (#2) is the ability to ssh into the server using the username chosen at the beginning of this process. If you decide not to enable it for your users, it is easily enabled on a per-user basis should they require it down the road.
FrontPage Extensions (#3) give users the ability to easily upload sites created in Microsoft FrontPage. It is best to leave this unchecked. FrontPage has been discontinued by Microsoft for years. If a user has a problem with it, it is often difficult to troubleshoot and fix it.
CGI Access (#4) gives the account the ability to serve pages using CGI scripts.
cPanel Theme (#5) provides a choice of themes that the cPanel user will see upon logging in. The default is x3, cPanel’s most current theme. Unless you are planning on installing a custom theme, it is best to stick with this default.
Locale (#6) is pretty straightforward; it selects the language that will be shown on the cPanel account.
The Reseller Settings section only handles making the cPanel account a reseller. Actual reseller settings are set elsewhere in WHM.
The DNS Settings only apply if this server is going to be hosting DNS for this cPanel account. DKIM (#1) and SPF (#2) are spam prevention measures that require specific DNS entries. These are both good ideas but, they only apply if you are hosting e-mail for this account on the server as well as DNS.
The third setting configures which nameservers are set for the domain. If this box is unchecked, it will use the default nameservers that are configured for this server. If this box is checked, WHM will do a DNS lookup on the domain, and use whatever nameservers are configured at the DNS registrar.
This DNS setting is important to configure correctly if the server is going to be handling DNS for the domain. If DNS is being hosted elsewhere, then check this box in order for WHM to look for that information. If DNS is going to be hosted on this server, then leave it unchecked to use the server’s defaults.
The fourth setting overwrites any DNS zone files for this domain that might have been put on the server earlier.
Mail Routing Settings
Unlike the previous sections, Mail Routing Settings only allows you to choose one item from a list. The default and recommended configuration is the first item: Automatically Detect Configuration (#1). If this is chosen, the mailserver will be configured using the current DNS setting. You should not use this setting if you are planning to host mail for the domain on this same server. Otherwise, when you go to point DNS for the domain to this server, the mailserver will be configured as if mail were still being hosted at the old server. This will cause it to reject mail until the mailserver is configured properly.
If you are planning on using this account for the domain’s email, then it is a good idea to check Local Mail Exchanger (#2). This will completely avoid the problems that can occur when the configuration is automatically detected.
Backup Mail Exchanger (#3) is only useful if you have multiple servers, and wish this cPanel account to be a backup for an account on another server. In case the mailserver goes down on the other server, this mailserver will receive and hold mail for delivery until the other mailserver is brought back up.
Finally, Remote Mail Exchanger (#5) instructs the mailserver to pass any mail for the domain that comes its way to the correct mailserver. Only check this if this server will never host e-mail for this domain.
Press The Button
Now that everything has been configured to your satisfaction, go ahead and click the Create button. It will take some time for the server to create the account, so sit back for a bit as it configures everything. This should take no longer than a few minutes. When finished, WHM will tell you that it has been created successfully.
If WHM warns that the account has not been created, this usually happens because a setting was missed that needed to be set. It should be a simple matter to hit the back button and add that setting. If you are unable to create the account, and you believe that you have set everything properly, do not hesitate to contact Liquid Web Support at the contact information below. If you have any questions once you have set up the cPanel account, we are always available for assistance as well.