Top 5 Reasons To Choose WordPress® For Your Business

In 2021, consumers will rely even more on the web and social media to solve problems and buy products. If a business isn’t on the web, it’s basically invisible. But what’s the best way to build and manage your business site or store? For hundreds of thousands of people, the answer to that question is WordPress.

WordPress is fundamentally a content management system (CMS), a web application that makes it easy to write and publish content online. WordPress is by far the most widely-used CMS. As of this writing, it is the foundation of 40 percent of all websites and 64 percent of sites that use a CMS, including the cPanel blog.

That’s not to say WordPress is the only option for building a business site or even the best option in every case. There’s a lot of competition from content management systems such as Joomla and Drupal, hosted platforms such as Squarespace® and Wix, and static site generators such as Gatsby and Hugo.

Each one is excellent in some scenarios for some users, but WordPress has risen to immense popularity because it hits the sweet spot for a wide range of business hosting contexts.

Businesses use WordPress to build:

  • Marketing and lead-generation websites
  • Blogs
  • Portfolios
  • Ecommerce stores
  • Knowledgebases
  • Customer support sites
  • Media hosting sites

As we move into the top 5 reasons to choose WordPress for your business, let’s clarify exactly what we’re talking about. There are two main ways to use WordPress, as a self-hosted CMS (WordPress.org) and via a hosted SaaS platform (WordPress.com). We’re focused on self-hosted WordPress: businesses take the WordPress software and host it on a server or WordPress hosting account under their control.

WordPress Business Site

WordPress is Free and Open Source

WordPress is an open-source content management system. It’s developed by a project that anyone can contribute to. The code can be inspected and changed to suit individual users. And it’s free; you can download WordPress and install it on a server without paying a cent.

We’ve got nothing against paying for software. Some of the best software in the world uses a paid licensing model because it’s the best way to provide high-quality tools and support to customers. However, there are advantages to using open-source software in your business.

Because WordPress is open-source, businesses are free to use it in any way they like, which gives them complete control over their site. It can be extended, modified, and customized to suit their use-case. It isn’t tied to a particular vendor, so they are free to host their site wherever they want and move it when they want. You can trust that your WordPress site will be usable for many years to come because you control the code.

WordPress Hosting is Under Your Control

WordPress is simple and inexpensive to host. It needs a server with PHP, a MySQL database, and a connection to the internet. That means you can host WordPress on anything from a low-cost shared hosting account to a virtual private server to a dedicated server or even a cluster of servers for the largest sites.

Because WordPress doesn’t have special requirements and depends only on easily available software and hardware, users are free to choose any WordPress hosting provider and move between providers at will. That’s not true of many SaaS alternatives where close integration between the software and hardware makes it challenging and expensive to migrate.

WordPress is Adaptable and Extensible

The theme and plugin ecosystem is one of WordPress’s biggest strengths. Plugins empower users to customize and add features to their site, from small conveniences to transformative add-ons like the WooCommerce plugin, which turns WordPress into a powerful ecommerce platform. Developers have created tens of thousands of plugins, both free and premium.

Themes determine WordPress’s appearance and influence the user experience. Do you want to build a store, a portfolio, a blog, or a marketing site? Do you like minimalism, bold colors and typography, or a design dominated by full-bleed images? Changing a site’s look is as easy as installing a different theme. There are thousands of free themes and an enormous variety of premium themes to choose from. If you want something unique, you can make your own or hire someone to do it for you.

WordPress’s extensibility goes beyond themes and plugins. It also features a comprehensive REST API to integrate third-party tools and “remote control” the CMS. We wrote about the WordPress REST API in How To Use WordPress as a Headless CMS

WordPress Support and Tooling are Widely Available

Because WordPress is so popular, businesses have no trouble finding documentation, support staff, or developers to help them build and look after their site. The project prioritizes user-friendliness, so day-to-day site operations don’t require in-depth technical knowledge. The official documentation and masses of free online support content may well be all you need.

However, if you would like help from an outside expert, WordPress professionals are easy to find and relatively inexpensive to hire compared to professionals who work with other content management systems.

Widespread integration support is another side effect of WordPress’s ubiquity. Your web management, customer relationship management, marketing, communication, and content production tools almost certainly offer WordPress integration, either natively or via a plugin.

For example, our very own WordPress Toolkit is a comprehensive management interface that simplifies the installation and maintenance of multiple WordPress sites. Learn more in The Evolution of WordPress Management with cPanel.

WordPress Toolkit Overview

WordPress is Accessible

Accessibility and inclusivity should be a top priority for any business site. Sites that don’t prioritize accessibility risk excluding millions of people with vision and mobility impairments. The WordPress project enforces accessibility standards to ensure that it conforms to WCAG 2.1 guidelines at level AA.

In practical terms, that means WordPress is keyboard accessible and navigable, accessible to screen reader users, and maximizes the visibility of on-screen components. Third-party plugins and themes may not be built with the same care, but WordPress itself provides a solid foundation for a business site that meets the needs of all your customers.

Is WordPress the Right Choice for Your Business?

As we said at the beginning of this article, WordPress is far from being the only choice when building a business website. It’s worth taking the time to explore all of the options available to you. However, if you are looking for a flexible, extensible, and accessible content management system that can scale from solopreneur to multinational corporation, you won’t regret choosing WordPress.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

How To Use A Remote MySQL® Database With cPanel

The MySQL database server is a core component of millions of content management systems and ecommerce apps. It provides the secure and reliable data storage and retrieval that makes dynamic, personalized websites possible. cPanel & WHM is a complete MySQL management solution that automates many common web hosting database tasks while offering fine-grained control to web hosts who need it.

Typically, websites and cPanel’s MySQL instance are installed on the same server. However, it’s sometimes useful to separate them so that sites use a remote MySQL database hosted on a different server.

You might use a remote MySQL server to:

  • Offload database workloads from the webserver to improve the performance of busy sites and the database.
  • Use a server specifically configured for database hosting.
  • Centralize database management for multiple servers.
  • Isolate the database from servers accessible via a public IP address.

The wrong way to achieve remote database access is to expose the MySQL server to the internet and allow it to accept connections from untrusted IPs. As you may appreciate, this method creates a critical security vulnerability that is often exploited to steal sensitive data.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do it the right way, using cPanel to securely configure MySQL to accept connections from web applications hosted on different servers.

Using a Remote Database to Host Your Site’s Data

To follow this tutorial, you will need:

  • A server with cPanel & WHM installed. This will be the remote database server.
  • The database server’s IP address or domain name, cPanel authentication credentials, and MySQL username and password.
  • A server on which to install web applications. The method we’re about to describe will work if you install and configure sites manually, but it is faster and more convenient with cPanel.

First, we’ll explain how cPanel users can configure a remote MySQL database before looking at WHM’s MySQL Profile management tools.

Configuring a Remote MySQL Database with cPanel

Log in to cPanel on the server with the MySQL instance you would like to grant access to. Select the Remote MySQL® tool from the main page menu.

cPanel Menu Remote MySQL

In the Add Access Host form, enter the domain name or IP address of the server that hosts the web application. You can add a wildcard (%) to allow multiple IP addresses to access the database; for example, 192.68.0%. When using a wildcard, be sure to limit the scope to addresses under your control or that you are confident pose no security risk.

cPanel Remote MySQL Manager

Click the Add Host button, and cPanel configures the MySQL database to accept requests from the remote site.

Next, you should configure the site to use the remote database. The process differs depending on the application. For example, on a newly installed WordPress site, you would first create the database in cPanel’s MySQL® Database Wizard

Then, edit the WordPress site’s wpconfig.php to include the database name and authentication credentials, as well as the server’s domain name or IP address.

define( 'DB_NAME', 'wp_database' );
define( 'DB_USER', 'user' );
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'a-secure-password' );
define( 'DB_HOST', '203.0.113.0' );

Adding MySQL Access Hosts in WHM

System administrators can also configure MySQL to accept incoming connections from sites hosted elsewhere. There are some differences between cPanel and WHM where remote database access is concerned:

  • Hosts added in WHM are applied to all cPanel user accounts and the MySQL users associated with those accounts.
  • cPanel users cannot permanently remove hosts added by system administrators in WHM.

To allow remote hosts to access MySQL databases, navigate to Additional MySQL Access Hosts in the SQL Services section of the sidebar menu.

cPanel Additional Access Hosts

Enter the domain names or IP addresses of remote hosts that should be allowed to connect to the server’s databases and click save. To begin to use databases on the server, you should configure your sites with the relevant IP address and authentication credentials, as described in the previous section.

To learn more about database access hosts, take a look at the feature’s documentation page.

Managing MySQL Profiles in WHM

In addition to configuring remote databases in cPanel & WHM, server administrators can create MySQL profiles in WHM to connect with remote database servers. A MySQL Profile allows administrators to define the remote database used throughout cPanel & WHM; in fact, the local machine’s default database is configured via a profile.

Profiles can be used to configure several types of remote databases, including those running on other cPanel & WHM servers, dedicated MySQL servers, and databases running on Amazon’s Relational Database™ Service.

Before you create and activate a new profile, you should be aware that only one MySQL profile can be active at any time. To add a new profile, log in to WHM and navigate to Manage MySQL® Profiles under SQL Services in the sidebar menu.

cPanel WHM MySQL Profiles

WHM can log in to the server, create a new MySQL superuser to manage databases, and configure MySQL. If you have already configured the MySQL installation with a superuser, you can add those details instead.

cPanel New MySQL Profile

Once you have activated the profile, new databases are created on the remote server. However, existing databases are not automatically migrated, and you will need to transfer data manually.

cPanel & WHM gives web hosts and their clients incredible flexibility when configuring and managing MySQL databases. They can take advantage of:

  • Outstanding out-of-the-box defaults for hosting MySQL databases on the local server.
  • Easy database configuration for sites and stores hosted on remote servers.
  • System administrator tools that give admins complete control over MySQL and where their databases are hosted.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Adding cPanel University Certifications To LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social network for, well, professionals. Whether you’re looking to secure your next job or establish yourself as a thought leader within your current position or industry, LinkedIn is the place where you want to put your best professional foot forward.

For anyone unfamiliar, cPanel University is a one-stop shop for training and certification on all things cPanel & WHM, including technical issues and sales courses.

Becoming a cPanel Certified Partner not only earns you the esteem of your colleagues and industry, but includes other benefits like having your support requests automatically escalated to our Ultra Priority Technical Support queue.

Your cPanel University Certificates

Accessing your existing cPanel University certificates is quite simple. Literally all you need to do is type your name into the search box located in the upper right-hand corner of https://university.cpanel.net.

Click on the results for your name, and you’ll then be shown any/all certificates that you have earned, both Active and Expired:

cPanel University Certificate Search Results

You can then copy and paste the CERTIFICATE ID into the same search bar to be shown the details and verify validity of any individual certificate.

How To Add Certificates To LinkedIn

Now that we know how to locate our cPanel University certifications, it’s time to share these credentials with the rest of the world. The first step is to ensure you have the “Licenses & certifications” section enabled on your LinkedIn page. If you do not, just click the “Add profile section” dropdown just below and to the right of your profile picture, then click “Licenses & certifications”:

LinkedIn Licenses and Certifications

You’ll now be able to scroll down to the Licenses & certifications section of your LinkedIn page and click the + symbol. Here is where you’ll provide the information the we located above for your cPanel certification(s).

And once you’ve entered the necessary information, and clicked “Save,” your certification will now be proudly displayed on your LinkedIn profile for all to see.

LinkedIn Certification

You can repeat this process for any other certificates you may have. A robust LinkedIn profile will only benefit you in your pursuit of any professional goals.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/44644/add-edit-or-remove-certifications-on-your-profile

How to Configure and Manage WebDAV Web Disks With cPanel

cPanel & WHM integrates several tools for accessing files stored on a web server, including the cPanel File Manager, SFTP, a web-based terminal, and Web Disks. Each method is useful, but in this article, we’re going to focus on Web Disks, an implementation of the WebDAV protocol. With Web Disks, cPanel users can manage and edit files stored on their server using compatible software on PCs and mobile devices.

What are Web Disks and WebDAV?

WebDAV lets users download, upload, move, and edit files hosted on a remote web server. It shares directories so users can interact with them as if they were stored on a local filesystem. Files are accessed in dedicated client apps or with built-in operating system tools. Microsoft® Windows® and macOS® support WebDAV natively, and there are many compatible apps available for Android™ and iOS®.

WebDAV has similar capabilities to other network disk and remote file management systems, such as SMB and FTP. However, unlike those technologies, WebDAV is based on an extension of the web’s native HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

WebDAV is an acronym of Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning, and it has its origins in the earliest days of the web. Tim Berners-Lee hoped that web pages would be both readable and writable, and WebDAV was developed to fulfill the second part of that vision.

It should be emphasized that WebDAV’s “versioning” capabilities are not as sophisticated as tools like Git. It is designed for simple collaborative editing, but if you are looking for a modern code version control system, cPanel’s Git™ integration is a better option.

Web Disk is cPanel & WHM’s implementation of the WebDAV protocol. cPanel automatically creates a Web Disk account for users to manage files in their home directory remotely. We provide tools for configuring Web Disk accounts, and users can create additional accounts to share directories within their home folder.

WebDAV is also the foundation of CalDAV calendar sharing and CardDAV contact sharing. cPanel & WHM supports both, and you can learn more about them in Using CalDAV Calendars and CardDAV Contacts in cPanel

WebDAV vs. FTP vs. SMB

Although it’s similar to other remote file management protocols, WebDAV has strengths that make it better suited to a particular range of use cases.

  • FTP is an old and outdated file transfer protocol. It has no built-in support for encryption, so authentication details and data are visible to anyone monitoring the connection.
  • SMB is useful for file sharing on local networks, but it is not advisable to use it over the public internet unless you connect via a virtual private network (VPN).
  • SFTP is the Secure File Transfer Protocol. It is much more secure than the older (and unrelated) FTP, but it is not ideal for collaborative workflows.

In contrast, Web Disks use HTTPS to provide secure, encrypted data transfers. And, because WebDAV is designed for collaborative editing, it features file locking so users can’t make simultaneous conflicting edits to the same file.

Common WebDAV use cases include:

  • Managing and editing web server files on a local computer.
  • Collaborating with developers, designers, and content writers working on a site.
  • File-sharing within an organization.
  • Network-attached storage accessed via local machines or other servers.

How To Configure WebDAV on cPanel

All cPanel users have a Web Disk account based on their home directory (assuming the server administrator has turned Web Disks on in WHM’s Feature Manager). You don’t need to configure the default account because it uses your cPanel username and password for authentication.

If you would like to share a specific directory, you can create additional Web Disk accounts. Navigate to Web Disk in the Files section of the cPanel menu.

cPanel Web Disks

Enter a username, domain, and password, and choose a directory inside your home directory. You can also configure whether the Web Disk is read-write or read-only.

cPanel Additional Web Disk

When you click Create, cPanel deploys the Web Disk, and you’ll be able to access files using the method described in the next section.

How To Access WebDAV Web Disks from Your Devices

The process of accessing Web Disks differs depending on your device’s operating system and your preferred WebDAV client application, but we provide details for all platforms and custom configuration scripts for desktop operating systems.

If you intend to access a disk from Microsoft Windows, you must first enable digest authentication.

cPanel WebDav Digest Authentication

To connect a client to your main Web Disk account, click Configure Client Access.

cPanel WebDav Configure Client

cPanel attempts to identify your operating system and provides a direct link to configuration instructions. If identification doesn’t work, choose your platform in the interface to see the relevant details.

cPanel WebDav Connection Instructions

We provide custom Web Disk configuration scripts for macOS Finder, Microsoft Windows Explorer, and the Linux file managers Nautilus and Konqueror. Download the script to your computer and double-click to execute it (you may have to modify the script’s permissions to make it executable).

cPanel Web Disk Configuration Script

The script configures your system’s file browser, after which you will be able to view and edit the files as if they were stored locally.

On mobile operating systems, including iOS and Android, you will have to install a third-party application that supports WebDAV. We have provided the configuration information for these devices, and your app’s documentation should include step-by-step instructions.

Popular apps that support WebDAV include Documents for iOS and WebDAV Navigator for Android.

WebDAV Web Disks are just one of the many ways cPanel & WHM empowers web hosts to offer a feature-rich web hosting experience. To learn more, explore our web hosting automation, domain and database management, site and app publishing, and server administration tools.As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit.

The Evolution of WordPress® Management with cPanel

cPanel & WHM® has introduced a revolutionary new way to manage WordPress sites. The WordPress Toolkit (WPTK) empowers web hosting providers and site owners to install, secure, and configure multiple websites in a single easy-to-use interface. This Toolkit simplifies site management by automating complex tasks and providing a unified configuration and support experience.

Before the WordPress Toolkit, WordPress Manager was cPanel’s primary WordPress interface. However, while it surfaces useful configuration and backup settings, users often found themselves turning to site admin pages or command-line tools like WP-CLI. In contrast, the WordPress Toolkit offers a collection of tools that provide a complete WordPress management solution. 

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the features that make cPanel & WHM and WPTK the ideal platform for WordPress hosting providers, including:

  • Managing WordPress Plugins and themes
  • Cloning WordPress sites and creating staging sites
  • One-click WordPress security hardening
  • Smart updates
  • Multi-Site Automatic updates

Installing WordPress, Themes, and Plugins

WordPress Manager offered a straightforward site installation with a handful of configuration options. WordPress Toolkit is significantly more flexible and configurable.

Deploying New WordPress Sites

cPanel users can configure and automatically install sites with customized plugin and theme sets, making the usually time-consuming task of plugin and theme installation almost instantaneous.

cPanel WordPress Toolkit Install

The Toolkit comes with several sets, such as WordPress Essentials, WordPress Classic, and the Ecommerce Pack. However, the real power lies in custom sets created in WHM and made available to cPanel users. This feature allows web hosts and server administrators to provide a single-click deployment process that includes everything users need to get started with a new site.

The site installation tool also allows users to pre-select automatic update settings before installation. They can choose any combination of automated update strategies for major and minor releases of WordPress, plugins, and themes.

Managing Plugins and Themes

With WordPress Toolkit, cPanel users can browse, install, and activate plugins and themes from within cPanel. Unlike WordPress Manager, WPTK offers both single and multi-site management tools. If you’ve ever wanted to activate, deactivate, install, uninstall, or update a plugin on dozens of sites at the same time, you’re going to love WordPress Toolkit.

Cloning WordPress Sites and Creating Staging Sites

One of the Toolkit’s killer features is cloning, which creates an identical copy of a site. It can clone any site hosted on your server in seconds, making the clone available at a new subdomain, which it creates automatically, or at an existing domain or subdomain.

WordPress Toolkit Clone Website

Site cloning has many uses, but the primary purpose is to deploy staging and testing sites based on users’ production sites. What was once a complex process requiring third-party plugins or laborious manual database and file copying is now entirely automated.

In addition to cloning, the Toolkit includes a data copying feature that transfers files and database tables between sites. Users can copy files, the database, or both, with fine-grained control over which tables they would like to include or exclude.

One-Click WordPress Security Hardening

A typical WordPress installation starts with WordPress core, followed by plugins and themes, and then an involved security hardening process to remove potential vulnerabilities. We’ve already seen how the Toolkit automates the installation, and you’ll be happy to hear that it takes care of security hardening as well.

The WPTK has two security hardening features. First, it applies critical fixes during installation, ensuring WordPress is secure the moment it goes online.

WordPress Toolkit Security Status

Second, it scans sites for non-critical risks, displaying issues in an interface that users browse to activate (or revert) fixes. As you might be expecting, hardening can be applied site-by-site or to many sites simultaneously, allowing web hosts to harden hundreds of sites in a couple of clicks.

If you want to know more about security hardening with the WordPress Toolkit and the vulnerabilities it can fix, read WordPress® Hardening: One-Click Security with cPanel

Smart Update

Smart Update is an exciting feature enabled by the Toolkit’s ability to clone WordPress sites. Have you ever updated to a new version of a plugin or theme, only to find that a bug or incompatibility breaks your site? It’s one reason users avoid updating, exposing WordPress to security risks that can result in compromised sites.

WordPress Toolkit Smart Update Test

Smart Update solves that problem by testing new code before it goes live. It works like this:

  • The Toolkit creates a clone of the site.
  • It runs a series of tests to get an idea of the site’s state before updating.
  • The clone is updated, and the same tests are run on the new version.
  • The results are compared, and potential problems are reported.

The Toolkit looks for HTTP errors, PHP errors and warnings, inaccessible pages, and more. It checks multiple pages, and in addition to automated tests, it displays before and after screenshots for users to manually verify that it is safe to proceed.

If all is well, the user clicks Apply Updates, and the Toolkit patches the production site and cleans up the clone. With Smart Updates, you can keep your site up-to-date in full confidence there will be no unexpected side effects.

Multi-Site Automatic Updates

While we’re on the topic of updates, another great feature of the WordPress Toolkit is the mass configuration of automatic updates, so hosts can quickly implement patching policies for all sites hosted on their servers.

Hosts have fine-grained control over WordPress, plugin, and theme updating. They can limit automatic updates to security and other minor changes or choose to have sites automatically upgrade to new major versions.

A Complete WordPress Management Solution

We have highlighted five key WordPress Toolkit capabilities, each of which saves time and reduces complexity for hosting providers. There are many others we could have mentioned, including:

If you would like to learn more about WordPress Toolkit’s features and licensing, please visit this page and our documentation. As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit.