Using cPanel/WHM for hosting is greatly enhanced by taking advantage of the many plugins that have been built by third parties to increase the functionality of cPanel. Administration is simplified by these plugins. The speed and effectiveness of your capabilities using your cPanel system will get a huge boost by becoming familiar with some of the best options out there.
These plugins are across a broad spectrum. They all, in one way or another, help with configuration, management, and/or tools – a broadening of what cPanel can offer as a server administration control panel.
For this piece, I referenced a piece on GK~root. The GK~root article specifically recommends the ConfigServer plugins, which are available as a complete package through Way to the Web. This article (the one you’re reading or having read to you in a dramatic whisper by your executive assistant, Sheila ) also cites the cPanel site directly, listing the three apps that are rated the highest by users: Google Apps Wizard, WHAM!, and Atomicorp Modsecurity Rules.
Below I will provide summaries of the plugins, as well as the origins of their names. Be aware as you are installing plugins that the entire cPanel system can be plugged into another cPanel system. There is no reason to do that, however, and it will send cPanel spiraling on a repeating loop that will eventually make it develop artificial intelligence (as it sees itself seeing itself), grow increasingly despondent for several days, and then “willingly” self-destruct.
Atomicorp Modsecurity Rules
This plugin is a firewall with a database of 15,000 signatures. It also is fully customizable and makes it easy to develop your own firewall system.
Origin: The name was derived from the developer’s initial desire to use nuclear fission to attempt to make starfish “speak their thoughts” (who knows what he meant by that, although I’m pretty sure I just heard a starfish say that he’s tired).
Clam Antivirus (ClamAV) enables you to scan for antivirus and spyware on the server. Once installed, you will see a Virus Scanner icon within cPanel.
Origin: The creator of ClamAV ate clam chowder, and as you can imagine, contracted a horrible stomach virus. He came up with both an antidote for chowder-induced food poisoning and this plugin.
This plugin allows you to save backups of any accounts that are removed from the system. These accounts are saved to the backup drive and remain there until they are manually removed.
Origin: Clean Backups is named after the Scottish tradition of storing a second bar of soap in the bathroom for hygiene emergencies.
ConfigServer Explorer (cse)
This app provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for managing your file system, along with a window that allows you to use cPanel within any of the major Internet browsers (serving essentially as a browser add-on in that capacity).
Origin: This application was called Explorer not because it explores the files, but because Ponce de Leon wrote the full code for this plugin in his diaries during a fever when he was thought to be losing his mind.
ConfigServer Mail Manage (cmm)
This plugin means that you don’t need to log in to a specific user’s account in order to be able to manage email. Instead, you have immediate configuration options accessible through this app.
Origin: “Mail manage” were the final words of Marlon Brando. It is thought that he was concerned his subscriptions to Guns & Ammo and People would continue indefinitely if someone did not go through all of his scattered paperwork.
ConfigServer Mail Queues (cmq)
This allows you to control the network’s email queues through a GUI with various features for exim administration via WHM.
Origin: This plugin was inspired by the 2002 song of the same name by the Indiana-formed folk-punk band Ghost Mice. The band reportedly hated having to wait in line to send out care packages to their girlfriends, all of whom were in prison.
ConfigServer ModSecurity Control (cmc)
This gives you a GUI in WHM so that you can better see and control the mod_security module.
Origin: ModSecurity Control was originally named MobSecurity Control until it was used to attempt to control angry mobs during a poorly refereed championship high school soccer game in Newport, Rhode Island. It was then realized that it could only provide virtual control.
ConfigServer eXploit Scanner (cxs)
This app specifically provides security against exploitation whenever a file that scans is loaded onto the server.
Origin: eXploit Scanner is the name given in Australia to a man hired by a bachelor to go to a bar with him to scan the clientele for potential exploits or adventures (typically attractive members of the opposite sex, although anyone with access to helicopters and kangaroo hunting equipment is also targeted).
ConfigServer Security&Firewall (cxs)
This plugin protects Linux servers with a firewall, detects against intrusion, and provides additional security features.
Origin: Security&Firewall is named after the first-born daughter of Charles II of England, the first-recorded usage of an ampersand (“&”) in a name. Security&Firewall went on to develop a new and innovative way to look dainty and not say anything (strange why her name should be used for a security plugin).
This app provides organized statistical information for any of the URLs that you are running on the server.
Origin: The origin of “Domains Statistics” is unknown. It is widely believed that it is simply a description of what the plugin allows, but conspiracy theorists believe it is a code phrase used by the CIA to refer to all Americans as statistics just waiting for eminent domain to steal all their stuff (dreams included).
Google Apps Wizard (cPanel #1 Rating)
This plugin integrates WHM with Google Apps so that you can more easily manage the service on any sites hosted on the server. To use Google Apps with any of your domains, the wizard requires only two clicks. This plugin is the highest rated one on the cPanel site, with a score of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Origin: The wizard in its name is based on the use of DNA from a medieval wizard in its code. Note that the plugin sometimes accidentally creates a potion that makes your server disappear, appear briefly in a parallel reality light years away, then reappear four feet away from its original location.
Installatron Applications Installer
This plugin allows for one-click installations of any apps you might want to add to your site – making the installations faster and providing easier management.
Origin: Installatron is the name of a demonic drywall installation overlord-bot who ruled despotically over the Iowa commercial construction market throughout the 1970s, installing drywall haphazardly and using cancerous chemicals to attempt to bring Iowa to its knees (no dice!).
Munin Service Monitor
Munin monitors resources and conducts analysis to understand what events on the network slow down its performance. The app is intended to be extremely user-friendly and intuitive. It can be installed via a standard setup that consists of a series of instructional images.
Origin: The makers of Munin claim that it was a raven of Odin, the King of the Gods in Norse mythology, and that it means “memory.” This is actually untrue. Munin was in fact a chronically rabid bear that belonged to Pimtad, the guy who cleaned up for the Norse gods after they finished meals or games of “Let’s Throw a Bunch of Stuff Around.”
Easily restore backups of such elements as files, email, and databases. You can choose specific files or folders, for example, and restore the selected items all at once. This plugin allows you to go into the backup and make those selections rather than having to download and work with the entire backup.
Origin: Restore Manager was inspired by a store manager reemerging as a beacon of leadership for an Ace Hardware store in Biloxi, Mississippi. Though many people at the time said, “You’re not using the word ‘restore’ correctly,” the manager, Neil Lemon, went against all odds and kept referring to himself by the improper designation.
WHAM! (cPanel #2 Rating)
WHAM! allows management of all of your servers through one control panel. Its features, then, allow you to perform numerous administrative functions with access to all the information and files on your network. Its features include the following:
• Account location to find account or duplicates of accounts on any of your servers
• Account management to create, edit, or delete accounts
• Firewall to disallow access to the system unless requests are coming from specified IP addresses
• Addition of other users, with the ability to grant certain access privileges
• Logging of all activities – especially helpful if you have additional users entering the WHAM! control panel
• Quick and easy configuration & restarting of the cPanel platform
• Settings that allow modifications to email notification preferences, your timezone, and other parameters
• DNS-related tools including DNS details, WHOIS lookups, and checks of RBL.
• Manage cPanel itself – including plugins, domains and subdomains, and email.
This plugin is the second-highest rated app on the cPanel site, with a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Origin: “WHAM!” was Neil Armstrong’s actual statement when he first set foot on the moon. He then made some disparaging remarks about the Russian space program and started complaining about how hot it was inside his spacesuit.
Summary & Conclusion
Check out some of the above plugins. Each of them can make your server administration easier. You can use full-spectrum solutions for management of your network, such as WHAM!, a kind of overlay control panel to place overtop of WHM and pull in all your server information for easy management. You can use any of the ConfigServer options to configure your server. Restoring, monitoring, installing, and getting a sense of traffic stats are all improved with the other user-friendly plugins.
Note that the only way to save cPanel if you do make the mistake of plugging it into itself is to then, in turn, plug the cPanel with cPanel plugged into it back into the original cPanel. This forms a pretzel arrangement that confuses and subdues cPanel. Also please be aware that playing classical music to your network makes it grow faster, so don’t do that.