Book Review: cPanel – User Guide and Tutorial


cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial is an excellent book for anyone that wants to learn how to get every ounce of productivity, usefulness and power out of the popular, Unix Web Hosting based control panel. Beginning with the basics, Aric Pederson explains each cPanel function clearly and in good detail by combining easy to understand explanations with plenty of screen shots and illustrations.

Title : cPanel – User Guide and Tutorial
Author : Aric Pederson
Publisher : PACKT Publishing
Total Content : 172 pages
Table of Contents : 7 pages
Index : 8 pages

Publisher’s Summary: (See full publisher’s summary online)
Get the most from cPanel with this easy to follow guide

  • Everything you need to manage files, email, and databases using cPanel
  • Organise your web siteā€¦ create subdomains, custom error messages, and password protected areas
  • Analyse site logs, ensure your site and data remain secure, and learn how to create and restore data back ups
  • Use advanced features, find powerful cPanel add ons, and install web scripts from within cPanel: osCommerce, Mambo, phpBB, and more.

Our Review:
Not everyone that has had to develop and, or, maintain a Web site is a fan of control panels, especially experienced Web developers, but to many thousands of Web site owners, control panels are indispensable. Control panels, such as cPanel, make most, if not all, Web development and maintenance chores easy, making even the inexperienced Web novice into a seeming Web expert.

cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial is an excellent book for anyone that wants to learn how to get every ounce of productivity, usefulness and power out of the popular, Unix Web Hosting based control panel. Beginning with the basics, Aric Pederson explains each cPanel function clearly and in good detail by combining easy to understand explanations with plenty of screen shots and illustrations. It is difficult to write such a book without sounding like a sales or marketing shill for cPanel, but Mr. Pederson does an admirable job of being objective and concise throughout the book from his perspective as an expert on the subject.

This is an easy to read and follow book, but don’t expect to be able to read it in a day. Instead, it is probably best used as a reference book for cPanel. Each of the chapters are logically laid out to provide fast access to the information you need. To get a good idea what the book covers, you can take a look at the full Table of Contents on the publisher site (click here).

Speaking from the Web Host industry perspective, we like the way the book helps the reader understand what to look for in a Web Host. These same things are explained in numerous places around the internet, but it is nice to have the information provided in the book since that information is integral to your cPanel experience. Terms and concepts we are asked about such as Shared Hosting, Reseller Hosting, VPS & VDS and Dedicated Hosting are explained, and easier more familiar terms, such as Disk Space, Bandwidth, MySQL and PHP are also included.

A very welcome section of the book is entitles Questions To Ask Hosting Companies. This is something we have been sending out to hundreds and hundreds of people over the last ten plus years, and we are grateful this has been included, especially when it leads with the most critical pre-sale consideration in our point of view, and that’s “How’s The Company’s Support?” With all the same kinds of features being offered now days by so many different Web Hosts, Support remains the number one issue that sets Superior Web Hosts apart from the rest of the pack. It is good to see Mr. Pederson ask some of the same types of questions we ask when we do a full review of a given Web Host, such as:

Do you have true 24/7 technical support? Some companies claim they have this,
but when you actually try to get support you might find that help at 2 AM is rather sparse. If you can submit your questions late at night, this is a good test to see if they are serious about their claims.

This is great advice for anyone looking for Web Hosting.

When looking for a good, responsible Web Host, other resources you may want to take a look at are:

Dummy’s Guide To Web Hosting

Choosing A Web Host

How To Find Your First Web Host

Some of the information, Though written in a very clear and lucid manner is rather technical in nature and may require the novice to read through it several times. We had a novice “wannabe” Web developer read the book and give us her feedback and she had some difficulty with sections such as Chapter 3: FTP and cPanel’s File Manager and Chapter 5: Working with Databases (see Table of Contents on publisher site) but she was able to understand it once she looked up words in the nice Glossary in the back of the book, and by making some use of browsing to Web sites online to learn more. By using the book as it is written, with a few other helps, she was able to set up FTP on a test site as well as get a fully working MySQL database setup and running.

Even though we believe the cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial can be understood by the novice, we say that knowing that the book was not written with the intention of explaining and teaching the technology behind every computer and Internet concept. As with our own test case novice, some things need to be learned through a little more effort and perhaps with the help of other books. As in our real world example, Mr. Pederson did an excellent job taking complex terminology and “difficult” cPanel functions and making them clear.

The book is pretty comprehensive and we are sure that most of its readers may never need to open sections of it, but we are glad that Mr. Pederson added a section called “Third-Party Add-ons” (in Chapter 12). There are a lot of companies that have made some fantastic add-ons for cPanel that you will want to look into. One of these is one of our favorites, Fantastico. Fantastico makes it very easy for anyone to add some of the excellent scripts that includes blogs, portals, forums and discussion boards, image galleries, Polls and surveys, and a many many more. You can see more information on Fantastico at http://netenberg.com/fantastico.php. We are glad that Mr. Pederson had the foresight to include a section dedicated to add-ons like that. It makes cPanel much more powerful than it already is.

cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial is well written, concise and lucid ? Comprehensive without getting too wordy ? Technical information written in a nice informal style ? Good advice on finding the right kind of Web Host ? Lots of screen captures, examples and diagrams ? Nice glossary included ? Important Third party Add-on section included ? Great Table of Contents and Index for quick look up

None that we could see

Not a big deal but thought we’d mention it anyway…
Although pretty much anyone with an average amount of Internet background and Web design knowledge can understand 99.9% of the book, some of the more technical information may require novices to read through the section several times and perhaps find further explanations from other sources in order for the information to be fully understood and useful.

We highly recommend cPanel: User Guide and Tutorial. Aric Pederson is an excellent writer and he knows his subject well enough to explain it in detail in an easy to follow, “not-so-technical” manner.

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