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cPanel, Comparing Illinois cPanel hosting and commercial providers

Comparisons and contrasts between and third-party commercial providers of web hosting, including other cPanel installations.

cPanel is a commercially available product also used by many other web hosting providers in addition to Illinois. This means that in addition to Illinois knowledge base articles, you can find a lot of information about cPanel from other sources, including cPanel's own documentation,, and more.

However, because we're providing it as a free service to campus community members rather than selling it for profit, some of what's discussed in other cPanel-using locations may not apply here.

When can I use other documentation on the Internet for help with cPanel?

Similarities between Illinois cPanel hosting and other providers

  • When you log in to your cPanel account, you'll see a dashboard with information about managing your web-hosting service. Although our layout is different and we include some Illinois-specific items, most of the non-Illinois-specific items in the dashboard will be common across versions of cPanel. Internet documentation on many of the non-Illinois items in the dashboard will generally remain applicable here.

  • Softaculous helps you install and manage popular applications and frameworks like WordPress, Drupal, jQuery, and more. Much of the information about how to use these applications on other cPanel hosting systems will also apply here.

  • Logging into your cPanel account is not the same as logging into your website either at Illinois or at other providers. 
    • At Illinois, you can log into your cPanel account via the link from  
    • You may or may not need to log into your website itself. If you post simple HTML files in public view, it won't need its own login system. However, if you use a content management system like Drupal or WordPress, you will need to log into that system in order to make edts. You could also access-restrict your site so that everyone needs to log in to your website to read it.

  • You can have access to more than one cPanel account on Illinois hosting for example, and could be two different accounts that you could log into from the link at

  • cPanel runs on Linux servers, so software designed for a Microsoft platform is unlikely to be able to be installed here.

Differences between Illinois cPanel hosting and other providers

  • Commercial web hosting providers charge fees for hosting, domain registration, and other services. Illinois web hosting is free to campus affiliated users.

  • Commercial web hosting providers can offer larger amounts of space for more money. Because we intend to keep the service free to campus, the space freely available is limited.
    • You can store media files in another campus-hosted location such as U of I Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, or (for video) Kaltura Mediaspace, then link to those files from your cPanel account. Files that are stored in a different system don't count against your cPanel quota.
    • You can request additional space by emailing and discussing what your project is and how much space you anticipate you'll need. 

  • Requesting a custom domain name from a commercial provider follows a different process and often costs money. To request a custom domain name at Illinois, see cPanel, How to get a custom domain .

  • Commercial providers often allow you to have email sent to and from your web hosting account, including custom domains. Email service through your web platform is not available on Illinois web hosting; Illinois email must be addresses handled through the campus email systems.

  • The login interface will look different: You'll use login buttons, either for campus or for third party providers, instead of the cPanel name and password fields shown in most other online documentation. This is because we use campus authentication rather than cPanel-local authentication.

KeywordscPanel, web hosting, cost analysis, features   Doc ID85004
OwnerWeb H.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2018-08-17 16:03:11Updated2019-01-14 16:50:49
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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