When operating in the cloud, web-based management interfaces are typically used to connect to servers. These interfaces allow you to modify a variety of server settings, all from a single unified graphical user interface (GUI). Some settings and options that could be changed here include File Management, Server Backups, SQL Database Connections, and Domain Controls.
One such server management GUI is cPanel, which is used to administrate Linux OS servers on private and cloud deployments. Rather than connecting to a remote command line interface (CLI) and typing code, the cPanel GUI allows you to automate CLI commands via radio buttons to manage your server.
NOTICE – This guide was created using CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal-2003.iso, located here. Ubuntu (or Debian-based UNIX distributions) do not support cPanel. The GNOME desktop GUI environment was used, which you can install by following this guide if you are using a minimal ISO version. Choose CentOS-7-x86_64-DVD-2003.iso if you want a graphical user interface (GUI) to be pre-installed.
Before installing cPanel, verify screen is installed
As you are interfacing with a remote web server, the network connection may drop out during installation. For this reason, it is recommended that you run this command via Linux Screen. This utility allows for reconnection to the server via Terminal if the connection is lost, preventing problems with installation.
You can check if Linux Screen is installed by typing the following into your Terminal window:
If Screen is not installed, you will see a message saying Command ‘screen’ not found. You can install Screen via yum using the following command:
yum -y install screen
Once the installation is complete, check that Screen has installed successfully by typing:
You should see a new Terminal window open called screen 0.
This means that screen is installed and working. Reboot your server now, before following the next steps.
The following are prerequisites for installing cPanel on CentOS 7:
- Set Regular Hostname and Domain Name
Ensure that your Hostname and Domain Name are set correctly. Open a Terminal window, and type the following:
hostnamectl set-hostname .<yourdomain.com>
cloud is your hostname, which you can set up by following this Fasthosts guide (hostname setup is after Step 4 on this page).
yourdomain.com is your domain name. You must have control of the DNS for your domain name. Buy domain names from Fasthosts from as little as £1.
NOTICE – Do not include the <> symbols when typing this in Terminal on your system.
Type the following to install Perl:
yum install perl
Follow the Terminal instructions to complete the installation.
Type the following to install cURL:
yum install curl
Follow the Terminal instructions to complete the installation.
NOTE – With CentOS 7, these should already be installed. These instructions are just to verify that both perl and curl are installed.
This removes Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) policy rules, allowing for more privileges on your machine:
sed -i 's/SELINUX=enforcing/SELINUX=disabled/' /etc/selinux/config
Now you should connect to a screen session if you connected to the server via Secure Shell (SSH). You can do that by following these instructions:
screen -S cPanel
This creates a Screen session with the name cPanel. You are now ready to install cPanel.
IMPORTANT – the -S must be upper-case, or you will encounter an error.
NOTICE – If you disconnect at any point from your screen session, type screen -r into your Terminal window. This will resume all Screen sessions that were running before you disconnected. Type screen -ls and you should see the cPanel session, with a corresponding Session ID. If it lists attached next to cPanel, you can continue.
Before you can access cPanel, you must install the cPanel application. This is achieved by logging into the root (sudo) user account. From within the Screen session you just created, type the following line of code into your Terminal window:
curl -o latest -L https://securedownloads.cpanel.net/latest
This command will download the most current installer script for cPanel and WHM into your cURL directory.
This will install the files you just downloaded. This process can take between 30-60 minutes, hence why we have connected via Screen. If you disconnect from the shell window, you can easily log back into and view the status of the install using the instructions listed above under NOTICE.
Once cPanel and WHM are installed, you should get a similar message:
[2020-07-21 11:56:49 +0100]  ( INFO): Congratulations! Your installation of cPanel & WHM 11.88 is now complete. The next step is to configure your server.
Generate an auto-login URL for your cPanel installation:
Copy the generated link into your web browser and press Enter on the keyboard. You will get a security message. Click Advanced and then Accept to bypass this message.
You set up a hostname and should have a domain name as explained earlier in this guide (Setting hostname above in this article). Type your hostname and domain name into the Nameservers input boxes, for example:
Click Finish, and you will see the cPanel management dashboard appear.
The first thing you should configure is the cPanel Root Password. Click the side menu icon and select Change Root Password. Type your desired password and click Change Password to apply the change.
For now, you are administrating the server, so use root as the username followed by the password you just set when logging into cPanel.
You may wish to change your hostname. Open the side menu and select Change Hostname. You can see your Current Hostname(s), or change it with Change Hostname. Type the desired hostname and click Change to apply.
You should also check your DNS resolver is correctly set. You can do this by opening the side menu and going to the Resolver Configuration page. Click Proceed to start the configuration wizard.
Use your localhost address as the primary resolver. This IP address is 127.0.0.1.
For secondary and tertiary resolvers, you can use Fasthosts as your DNS resolver service:
NOTICE – Only input the IP address, not the URL. The URL’s are retained for reference only.
These are the basics of installing, configuring, and logging into your cPanel and WHM server.
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