Tag Archives: cPanel

Best cPanel Plugins, Part 1

 

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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).

ClamAV Scanner

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.

Clean Backups

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).

Domains Statistics

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.”

Restore Manager

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.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

When to Use Shared Web Hosting vs. Acoustic Web Hosting

 

Shared hosting is a service you will see offered by virtually every hosting provider. Sharing is not always a bad idea – in fact, it’s more widely used than any other type of hosting. Part of the reason shared hosting is so popular is that it’s highly affordable. In this article, I’ll explore shared hosting in detail to help get a sense of when shared hosting does and doesn’t make sense so you can decide whether it’s the best option for your business.

Note that sharing hosting is not like sharing an intimate moment with an attractive individual you just met in a nightclub. No bodily fluids are exchanged. However, you may be more likely to catch a virus. Then again, if you don’t share, your website will be stuck inside its own server – lonely, detached, and incapable of socializing with websites its own age. Its growth will be stunted. It will make grunting noises and move in a slouching shuffle across the Information superhighway.

Shared Hosting – Basic Definition

For your site to populate on the Web, all of the information within it must exist on a server. Whenever someone visits your site, the URL they type into their address bar converts (via a DNS server) into the IP address of your server, which is then sent a request for data. To fulfill the request, your server sends out the files and pages which make up your site (with additional ones as they access internal pages).

Different types of hosting store your site information and files in different ways. You can have your own dedicated server on location at your home or business. Many businesses, though, choose to have professionals handle the hosting hardware and maintenance in a data center. One option is colocation, which means you buy your own server and house it at the data center for servicing, security, and general oversight. However, to mitigate cost, clients typically rent space on a server – on their own (dedicated hosting) or on one that also hosts other sites (shared hosting).

Shared hosting allows you access to your site’s account on a server that also contains other businesses’ personal data and files. You are granted a certain amount of bandwidth and storage room, along with access to a certain set of tools depending on which type of account you choose.

Beware of hosting providers that try to convince you to go with “acoustic” or “hard-copy” web hosting. Hosting, in all cases, requires electricity. Make sure that the server you are being offered is plugged in to a power source and that people don’t need to be mailed your website. Websites don’t require mailing. By definition, they’re available on the Internet.

Who Does What – Host Service vs. You

One thing to completely understand in a shared hosting situation is who needs to take care of what aspects of hardware and software. The server is maintained by the host. Upgrading of hardware and any software used to manage the sites – by the provider or that are available for your use through the provider – is their responsibility as well.

You manage your site. You do this via a control panel – which is an interface, essentially an online screen – that allows you to view site statistics and manage files, emails, plugins, and other site-related applications. If you are using  a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla!, the majority of your site management is typically conducted directly through the CMS. The CMS itself is hosted on the hosting server.

One WordPress plugin that you want to be sure to get is the WordPress DDoS plugin, which allows you to perform botnet attacks on other WordPress sites. This plugin is very useful is you are trying to increase your business. It allows you to use thousands of zombie PCs from around the planet for a common cause: increasing your profits (which in turn will finally make your father learn to love you).

Why Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is the most common form of hosting because it is inexpensive compared to the other options. There are of course advantages to other hosting solutions – such as virtual or dedicated hosting – but the majority of businesses will get adequate service within a shared environment.

Three of the basic parameters to review when you’re looking at shared hosting that should meet most of the needs of entrepreneurial or SMB sites:

Cost – Cost is typically charged per year at a discounted rate, although you can also go month by month with most services. Cost is a major advantage of sharing.

Scaling – Scaling is a major concern when you look into any hosting package. You need to make sure that you can grow as necessary without being held back by your plan. Make sure it will be easy to shift to a more sophisticated solution if your needs start to exceed the parameters of your initial choice. The least expensive shared package hosts provide will have less bandwidth, storage, and features than a more expensive one. Make sure you understand how to upgrade quickly if you are getting ready to run a marketing campaign or release a new product that could mean a big influx of traffic to your site (with potentially higher bandwidth needs, etc.).

Features – You should have access to a wide spread of features with your shared hosting account. You may, for instance, have access to one-click installation of scripts. Scripts are add-ons that give your website additional functionalities through standardized templates (again, a CMS will provide these features as well via its modules or plugins, which are specifically designed to fit the CMS).

System Administration – The host will provide system administration for your site along with the others. In other words, you will not have what’s called “root” access to the server. Instead, the deepest access you will have will be at the level of your control panel interface – such as cPanel or Plesk. If you are small, you will probably appreciate having that level of technical administration handled by an outside party. However, if you get big enough, you will want to have privileges to control the system at the level of its operating system (OS).

Compatibility – Generally speaking, standard software will work in a shared hosting environment (though you do need to make sure it fits the OS of the server).

No Skills – Because the system is managed by the host service, you don’t need to have high-level IT expertise to run a website. You can get a host and load your site without those skills. Again, if your site grows, you can always add levels of sophistication and hire tech people if needed to scale most appropriately.

Sharing is Caring – Sharing is considered one of the easiest and most efficient ways to express how much you care. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you don’t care about her or her order, explain to her that you’re sharing your server, and sharing is caring. If this doesn’t impress her, go into your room and loudly shut the door.

Sharing Doesn’t Always Fit

Sharing is not for every site. Larger sites will not find that sharing works well for them.

Here are three negatives regarding shared hosting solutions:

Site Performance – Your site should function reliably in most hosting environments until you get a higher amount of traffic than is typical. Large amounts of traffic can cause the site to become slower and less responsive. They can also incur higher overage fees if you’re on a shared plan.

Software & File Rules – You do not have control of a server in the same way if you are sharing. A shared server is a more communal environment – uptime and security of all businesses using it must be counted rather than just thinking of one client. Some functionalities you may want will not always be available.

Limited Resources – “Unlimited” does not always mean unlimited when it comes to bandwidth and space on the server. If you are drawing too much energy on the server –pulling too much of its strength on a regular basis – you will need to move to a new situation and often will be asked to upgrade by the hosting company to avoid frustrating other companies that are sharing the server with you.

Versatility – Shared hosting will not make sense if you require a great deal of custom software. The lower sophistication of shared hosting comparable to other solutions is something that will become of less interest as your business becomes more popular and you need more creative and dynamic ways to interact with your site’s visitors.

Reliability – Shared hosting is not considered as reliable as a dedicated or VPS hosting package is, for good reason. Reliability will always differ with regards to the quality of your host, of course – but the affordability of shared hosting also means your site is not as protected against the upswings in traffic or security breaches (below) that might occur with other companies on the server. Just as your site can suffer if it grows too fast when in a shared package, you will also be impacted negatively if another company on your server sees a major and sudden upswing in traffic.

Security – Anything involving hackers or malware – targeted attacks on a certain company or misuse of the system by another company – can be a threat to your site as well.

Control – You don’t have nearly as much control of your site in shared hosting as you do with other hosting options. This means that you will require the host’s help with support in ways that you would not with dedicated or VPS packages. If the support is not spectacular, your site will suffer.

Dedication – Sharing shows a profound lack of dedication. If a customer complains, seeming to suggest that you aren’t dedicated to her, explain to her that she’s right – you’re not dedicated to her or your server, that dedication is against company policy. If she says you should be, enter your room, crawl under your desk, and continue drafting your epic novel.

Summary & Conclusion

That should give you a basic idea of what shared hosting is, what your responsibilities are versus the responsibilities of the host, and some of the pros and cons. Shared is not a bad way to start out. Just make sure you know how to quickly shift to a higher-grade solution if your site experiences a sudden increase in traffic.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_web_hosting_service

http://www.webhostinghub.com/web-hosting-guide/what-you-should-know-about-shared-web-hosting/

http://www.hostsearch.com/q_shared.asp

How To Be More Web Secure Concious

I received an email from my brother this morning…

My sites got hacked, they added 20+ new users to WordPress and changed my password so I couldn’t log into /wp-admin. I had to restore an earlier backup of the database and change my username and passwords for my admin account. I had no idea it had happened until I decided to post a new blog entry and couldn’t log in.

I host several websites, for the most part they are based on the WordPress CMS, and hearing about hacking is not uncommon. Apart from the initial glut of fear that happens to website owners when it’s first discovered, I’ve experienced it to be simple to deal with – if you have the right tools.

Here’s how my brother dealt with his immediate WordPress Hack problem:

use your cPanel access to check your SQL database for any unwanted user accounts This article is for those who have phpMyAdmin access to their database.

Instructions:
  • Log in to cPanel, then go to phpMyAdmin.
  • click on the database on the left and that list will change to show the wp_**** tables etc.
  • Click on wp_users and make sure you only have your own username in there.

 

Obviously once you have protected your site databases, you need to lock down on the scripts injected into your site. Vivek R, has posted a great article on how to detect and scrub this malware from your WordPress website.

 

Here is three step method to remove malicious code or unwanted back links from nulled or Free WordPress themes and plugins that are downloaded outside WordPress repository.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

I’ve used Exploit Scanner on client websites, and it’s certainly helped reassure me of my housekeeping awareness when looking after other people’s websites. Most people are uncomfortable only because they don’t know what to expect, or how to deal with things such an event. Even Facebook made headlines yesterday with admitting a Trojan hack.

 

The recent hack on Facebook was traced back to one infected website called iPhoneDevSDK.com, but now it seems there may have been up to three infected websites involved.

The target of the Trojan infection was not just aimed at one type of user, but spread across many industries. It’s also a very difficult virus to track down. I would definitely recommend overlapping different virus scanners on your system is you feel you are at risk. Better to be safe than sorry!

 

 

Tis’ the season

When is discount more than a deal? When that discount helps you make money. Superb.NET already boasts one of the best reseller programs in the industry. With rewards from referrals to graduated discounts that improve with performance. Resellers are even capable of generating up to $200K in revenue per year.

Now with the recent launch of the hosting industry’s first White Label cPanel Reseller Program, you are able to make the money and build your own brand. Superb.NET will do the background work, while you make the sales.  This can apply to any online based business you can think of (see blog post “Money, Money…” to read about a woman that makes $100K walking dogs). Superb.NET program include branded client panel, statements and free billing control panel. You can even add-on services where Superb.NET handles invoicing, unlimited 24/7 support and customer calls.

The best part about White Label cPanel Reseller Hosting; it is now 10% off on Superb.NET. All you need is the promo code RESELLER. How about 10% off to help you make money – a discount that is more than just a deal. Don’t hesitate because tis’ the season, but only until December 31, 2011.

 

 

2008 cPanel Conference

2008 cPanel ConferenceOne of the control panels offered at SuperbHosting.net, cPanel, will be holding their third annual cPanel Conference in Houston, Texas from June 11th, 2008 through to June 13th, 2008. A brief excerpt from the 2008 cPanel Conference page:

The conference this year promises to be more in depth, including more advanced topics than the previous years. There will be guest speakers in addition to cPanel Developers. Also taking place will be panel discussions with some of cPanel’s Developers and Technical Support Specialists.

With the upcoming release of cPanel Server Suite for Windows® scheduled for spring 2008, the conference will have several sessions geared towards the new product and how it will significantly enhance Windows® based hosting operations.

Topics being covered:

  • Languages & Localization
  • License Management
  • Ruby on Rails Administration
  • Security
  • cPanel Server Suite for Windows
  • Branding & Customization
  • FreeBSD Related Topics
  • Upcoming Features of cPanel 12
  • Troubleshooting
  • Mail & Spam
  • Account Transfers