The best way to understand the difference between WHM and cPanel is that WHM is for people who administer the servers (System Administrators) and Resellers whereas cPanel is for the End Users (i.e. clients).
WHM and cPanel can be considered in the following three level hierarchy:
- Full WHM – Complete administrative control over the server
- Reseller WHM – Restricted level of administrative control over the server
- cPanel – Client level of admin rights restricted to features to manage their individual account(s) as specified by the Server Administrator or Reseller
Who Is WHM Best For?
WHM is ideal if you are running your own server (whether a Dedicated Server or VPS) or when you want to resell web hosting services. Below are the different levels of administration that can be provided by each type of WHM.
WHM For Dedicated Servers and VPS
With this type of WHM service the Server Administrator has full admin rights over the server (Dedicated or VPS). This means that they can perform the entire range of server administration tasks. These include:
WHM Server Configuration
Customise main server settings and basic configuration
Contact details for clients and remote access for cPanel support teams
WHM Networking Setup
Connectivity and Hostname setup
WHM Security Center
Server’s main security settings (Security Policies, Brute Force Protection, SSH Keys, ModSecurity, etc.)
WHM Server Contacts
Contacts for server alerts
Create, manage and modify Reseller accounts and admin rights
WHM Service Configuration
Main LAMP and Email settings
Language setting for WHM and cPanel
Backup and restore configuration settings
Grouping two or more cPanel servers together
WHM System Reboot
Choose between Graceful and Forced Reboot
WHM Server Status
Dashboard of key server services
WHM Account Information
Manage End User accounts quickly
WHM Account Functions
Make changes to End User hosting accounts quickly
WHM Multi Account Functions
Make bulk actions to multiple accounts to save time
Useful feature for migrating hosting accounts between WHM/Cpanel servers
Manage WHM and cPanel appearance
Create standard Hosting Packages (plan) with pre-determined quotas (i.e. disk space, bandwidth, number of email accounts)
WHM DNS Functions
Manage all aspects of the server’s DNS records (A, MX, CNAME, etc.)
WHM SQL Services
Manage all aspects of MySQL usage
WHM IP Functions
Manage all aspects of IP addresses assigned to the server (add, remove, reserve, configure, etc.)
Manage the server’s main software configuration (Apache, PHP, PERL, etc.)
Manage all email aspects (Delivery Reports, Mail Queues, Statistics, Sent Summary, etc.)
WHM System Health
Dashboard of main server processes
WHM cPanel Management
Manage cPanel backend, i.e. plugins, branding, etc..
SSL Provisioning and management
WHM Restart Services
Restart various services such as EXIM, DNS and MySQL
Access to additional cPanel support services
Configure cPanel plugins to offer extra functionality to clients
WHM For Resellers
WHM for Resellers offers a lower level of administrative features. These features can be edited by the System Administrator as described in the full set shown above. A Reseller has the following features available to them in WHM:
WHM Reseller – Setup a remote access key
A Remote Access Key is a feature which allows WHM to with external applications
WHM Reseller – Server status & information
The Server Status feature provides the Reseller with a snapshot of the available services on the server and a traffic light display of their status to allow quick troubleshooting
WHM Reseller – Manage hosting packages
WHM Reseller – Create hostings account in cPanel
The ability to create new hosting accounts quickly and easily
WHM Reseller – Modify Suspended Page
By creating a custom suspended page Resellers can give clients clear instructions to clients in instances where they have been suspended for e.g. non payment or abuse issues
WHM Reseller – Change hosting account passwords
Reseller can change their client’s cpanel login quickly and easily
WHM Reseller – Setup Skeleton directory
When a new client is signed up they will probably have a new domain name. New domains may take a few hours to propagate. In the meantime the Reseller can provide a temporary link for them to use. This link can be configured in the Skeleton Directory.
WHM Reseller – Suspend unsuspend hosting accounts
If required there is a feature to temporarily suspend or unsuspend hosting accounts for any reason such as non payment of hosting fees.
WHM Reseller – Terminate hosting accounts
Ability to terminate hosting accounts from the server when required
WHM Reseller – Upgrade or downgrade hosting accounts
Feature to allow Resellers to upgrade or downgrade their clients hosting accounts
WHM Reseller – Multi-functions option
Feature to allow Resellers to save time by upgrading, downgrading or terminating multiple hosting accounts at once
WHM Reseller – Feature Manager
Time saving feature to allow Resellers to assign custom features like addon domains, manage MX records for different hosting packages.
WHM Reseller – DNS Zone Manager
Extra DNS control for Resellers.
WHM Reseller – MX Entries Manager
Useful in instances where clients want their email hosted on another mail server and need MX entries to be set accordingly
WHM Reseller – Park Domain Names
Useful feature to allow clients to park domains on their main domain to redirect them to the primary domain
WHM Reseller – Mail Troubleshooting
Reseller can troubleshoot email problems by tracing email address route from server
WHM Reseller – cPanel Branding
Control the look and feel of Reseller cPanel
WHM Reseller – Cpanel News Feature
Control the Cpanel News content that clients see when they login to cPanel
WHM Reseller – SSL Certificate – Create And Install
Resellers can generate and install SSL certificates easily and quickly
WHM Reseller – WHM Password
WHM password security control and management
WHM Reseller – cPanel Demo Mode
Allows prospective clients to access a demo version of cPanel
WHM Reseller – Limit Bandwidth Usage
Allows Reseller to set bandwidth limits for their clients
WHM Reseller – Modify Hosting Accounts
Feature for Resellers to update a hosting account quickly and easily
WHM Reseller – Modify Hosting Account Quota
Allows the Reseller to update a client’s disk space quota quickly
Who Is CPanel Best For?
cPanel is best suited to end users who need the ability to manage a single domain name or several domain names that they own and they are the only person who needs administrative access.
The features and quotas available to a cPanel user are set by either a System Administrator or a Reseller via the WHM Interface. Therefore cPanel users have access to a limited range of the server’s functions and are only in control of their own domains.
The main features that they can access are summarised as follows:
cPanel File Management
cPanel Database Management
cPanel Domain Management
cPanel Email Features
cPanel offers full email management so that end users can add, remove and edit email accounts, create autoresponders, set up email forwarding and many other features to ensure they can manage their email service in exactly the way they want it to operate.
cPanel Metrics And Analytics
End users can monitor visitors to their website and check various useful statistics.
cPanel Security Features
This is where security can be managed whether that is setting up SSH Access (needs to be allowed by System Administrator or Reseller), protecting content via Hotlink Protection or setting up an SSL Certificate.
cPanel Software Applications
This is where various software such as Ruby on Rails and PHP/PERL can be managed.
Advanced cPanel Settings
Used to manage User preferences, rights and permissions.