I recently published a review of SiteGround.com, an established web hosting company that offers a range of features and hosting packages to consumers. One of the positive aspects of SiteGround’s service is their user-friendly Control Panel.
A hosting company’s control panel can make or break customers’ experience of their service. The control panel is designed to help website owners make alterations to their website, and activate extra functions to enhance visitors’ browsing experience. A smart control panel design is crucial to ensure that hosting customers can navigate their way around the website’s back-end features and make changes with ease.
SiteGround Web Hosting Control Panel
What are the features offered by SiteGround’s web hosting control panel? Let’s check out below, complete with actual screen shots.
The first notable feature of the web hosting provider’s web hosting control panel is that the company give you the option to access their cPanel normally (through the standard http protocol), or using a secure connection. As I’ll discuss later in this article, one of the web host’s winning attributes is their excellent customer tutorials, and this is no exception. The company tells you exactly how to access their cPanel and what to do if the secure connection doesn’t work.
SiteGround’s cPanel tutorial is invaluable for anyone who hasn’t used a cPanel before, and is still useful for experienced cPanel users who are new to SiteGround’s services. The tutorial gives you detailed information about how to complete different tasks using cPanel, explains the different tools, and guides customers through the various features. Like all tutorials, the cPanel instructions are free with SiteGround’s hosting packages.
The first time you log in to the cPanel, you will see a video tour, and offers tips to helps you complete the initial set up of your website. Even though some of the cPanel features are designed for more experienced users, they know how to take care of novice website owners too.
Once inside the cPanel, the different tools and functions are divided into several categories. Let’s take a closer look at these.
Preferences, Mail, Files and SEO
At the top of the list is a box marked “Extra Features” (not shown in the screenshot); we’ll return to this later in the article.
All information in the cPanel is organized intuitively, so it’s easy for you to find the feature or tool you need.
As you can see, “Preferences” contains basic functions, such as the ability to change your password or home language, watch the video tutorials that come with your hosting package, and use the “Getting Started Wizard” again if you need help managing your site.
While it can be challenging to find adequate support on some hosting companies’ websites, SiteGround makes it easy for customers to look up any information they need using these tools.
Underneath “Preferences” is “Mail”. This section contains all the features you need to manage your email accounts related to your website. Using SiteGround you can set up accounts that end in “@yourdomain.com“, which are useful for professional, business and of course, e-commerce websites.
SiteGround also provide protection against spam, and give you the option to create auto-responders. This is also a valuable business tool: auto-responders are emails automatically sent from your account in response to a received message. Here too, SiteGround makes it easy for you to access help and information by providing tutorials specifically about the features in this section.
“Files” contains important tools like FTP functions, and the Backup wizard. These two features are must-have tools for any quality web hosting service. FTP gives you the ability to upload (and download) files to (from) your website with minimum fuss and hassle, while the Backup wizard enables you to create periodic backups of your website.
Backup is a necessary and very important feature, as without a backup, you won’t be able to restore your website if any of its data is lost, or you make changes you can’t reverse! Using a backup service, you can schedule a copy of your website data to be sent to you either every day, or every week. In an emergency, this allows you to restore your site in a matter of minutes, rather than days or weeks, which makes all the difference to an online business.
SEO and marketing tools
SiteGround’s array of SEO and Marketing tools demonstrate how the company goes above and beyond the basic provision of web hosting features. Once again, they have provided tutorials that are relevant to your needs. Even more impressive is the fact that these tutorials are more focused on customers’ marketing practices, rather than web hosting itself. SiteGround seem to try to help customers as much as possible, and provide as much support as they can to ensure the success of the customers’ websites.
The logs in cPanel control panel enable you to access statistics about your visitors and website usage – two sets of data that are critical when you’re running an online business.
These provide clear, easy-to-read information about the number of hits your website has generated over a certain period of time, and provide you with information about site visitors, such as their IP addresses, from which countries they are accessing your website from, what browsers they are using, how long did they stay on your website and so on.
Security, Domains and 1H Software
The security section contains a number of useful features to help protect your website, including the ability to password-protect certain directories so they are not visible by web-trawling bots, prevent other websites from linking to files on your website directly, and to block suspicious IP addresses.
The web hosting company also provide a website security check, so you can see in an instant whether your site contains any malicious software that could affect your customers, damage your reputation, and cause your business problems.
On top of the features highlighted above, the cPanel control panel also contains many extra tools designed especially for professional websites.
HackAlert Malware monitoring system
One of these is the HackAlert Malware monitoring system, which is another SiteGround security feature. This provides daily monitoring to ensure your website is free from malware, and will alert you if it finds anything suspicious.
The presence of malware can trigger search engines like Google to block access to your website, and severely damage your company’s reputation and business. So, this service can help you take corrective action before disaster strikes!
In addition to SiteGround’s own services, you can also find useful services supplied by other companies. By partnering with these organizations, SiteGround provides customers with free trials or discounts on useful tools and software that might be relevant to your needs, such as cloud data storage from JustCloud.
Other useful tools that fall under the “Extra Features” tab include SSH/Shell access, and the ability to activate private SSL, an important feature for online retailers. SSL is crucial if you run an e-Commerce website or even if you featured an online shopping cart on your site, and sell either digital or physical goods. It’s possible to set up an online shop without SSL, but there are a number of severe disadvantages to not activating this feature.
Without a secure SSL connection, you limit the number of payment options your customers have. If your customers can’t use the “https://” web address that comes with an SSL connection, your consumers won’t have as high confidence in your brand, as without a secure SSL connection, you put your customers’ data at risk. Having an SSL certificate also improves your Google ranking, and therefore your website’s traffic and exposure.
As you can see, the SiteGround cPanel is packed with features for new website owners as well as for business and professional users. These tools, and the accompanying tutorials, are all accessible with a SiteGround hosting package.