File Manager in cPanel


File manager allows you to manage and edit the files right inside the cPanel interface. You do not need to download/upload the files or require any special software on your computer to edit them. Although this method can be used to create entire website however it is meant for quick fixes or edits on the fly. Normally you would want to keep a local copy of files that you maintain and edit in a developer environment such as Adobe Dreamweaver.

You can access the File Manager under Files section as shown in the screen shot below:

cPanel File Manager

When you click the icon, a small popup window will show to select a folder to open in File Manager. You can choose Home Directory which contains all other files and folders, or you can go directly to web root (i.e. public_html) folder which contains your main website files. Or if you have multiple websites hosted, you can go to any particular document root.

File Manager Directory Selection

You also have the option to Show Hidden Files (files that start with dot) and you can skip this popup in future if you want to open a particular folder every time you go into File Manager.

Show Hidden Files

Once you have made the selection, a new tab or window will open with the File Manager.

File Manager in Action

You will have the folders in a tree structure on the left and files in the selected folder in the right pane. You can do many functions such as Create New File, Copy, Move, Upload, Download, Delete, Rename, Edit, Change Permissions, and View files. For example to rename the file, highlight it and click Rename icon on top menu and you’ll get a popup window to enter new name:

Renaming File in cPanel File Manager

Similarly other functions can be performed. While editing you have the option to edit as text or HTML Editor:

HTML Editor

You can also do code highlighting when editing code files using Code Editor:

Code Editor

We hope the File Manager can be a handy tool. If you need any assistance, please contact support or you can post your comment/question on this blog.

Horde Address Book Showing NULL


Horde is a popular webmail software and comes installed with cPanel. We had a situation where accounts were moved across servers using WHM on a cPanel server. After the upgrade customers reported that in their horde address book entries, they see NULL with the names of their contacts.

Horde Address Book Showing NULL

We have removed the names for privacy from the screen shot above. We investigated the issue and found that the table turba_objects in horde database is holding literal NULL text instead of NULL datatype. We had to run multiple SQL queries like the following to get all the records updated:

Once all the columns were updated, there were no more NULL text displaying in customer’s contacts. It looks like when cPanel/WHM did the data transfer across servers, it somehow enclosed the NULL in quotes making them literal text.

Taking Backups of Web Hosting Account in cPanel


Although we backup entire hosting server every day and keep consecutive backups for several days and weeks, we strongly recommend that every client should have their own backups. The backups we take are for emergency purpose i.e. disaster recovery in case of hardware failure such as multiple disk failures.

The question may arise, how do you take a backup of your entire website? And which files to backup? cPanel makes it easy. Taking Backups of Web Hosting Account in cPanel is straight forward process.

cPanel Backups allow you to download (to your computer) a zipped copy of either your entire site (including your home directory, databases, email forwarders configuration, and email filters configuration) or one of the previously mentioned parts of your site.

As highlighted in the screen shot below with red square, you can find the Backups icon and link under Files section in cPanel. Click that to access Backups screen.

cPanel Backups

The next screen has a video tutorial on how to generate a full backup. We explain here as well.

Full Backup

A full backup includes all of the files in your home directory, your MySQL databases, and your email forwarders and filters. You can back up your account to preserve your data, or to move your account to another cPanel server.
Click on “Download or Generate a Full Website Backup” button to proceed:

Full cPanel Backup

This full backup can only be used by server administrator (with root privileges) to restore entire account settings and data (including website files, mysql databases, emails). It cannot be used on the cPanel interface by you to restore an account. It is useful for safe keeping.

Generate a Full Backup

You can generate a full backup and store it in

a) Home Directory i.e. you can use ftp or file manager to download the backup when created from /home/username/ folder (where username is your cPanel username)

b) Or you can upload the backup to a remote FTP server or SCP.
You also have the option to enter your email address where notification will be sent by cPanel once backup is completed.

Create Backup and Store in Home Directory
If you choose to upload the backup on a remote FTP server, you will need to provide the login details:

Upload Backup on Remote FTP Server

Click Generate Backup to proceed and wait for email confirmation. In case email does not arrive for a long time, you can visit the Backups screen again to see the progress:
Backup in Progress

And when it is complete, it will show up with a link to download. Simply click on the link of the file to download the backup on your computer.
Backup Ready for Download

Partial Backups

On the main backup screen you also have the option to download partial backups i.e. your home directory that contains all your files and emails, your databases, your email forwarder settings etc.

Partial Backups

These partial backups have an advantage that they can be used by you to restore a portion of the site. Please note that Home Directory contains website files as well as email accounts. You can open the downloaded zip file and extract the files on your computer to find and restore individual files from it.

Backup Wizard

The Backup Wizard available under Files section does the same but it has a different work flow to make it easy for you to download and restore backup.

Backup Wizard

Hope this helps you keep regular backups of your important data. We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep regular backups and multiple backups. If you need any assistance with backups, please do not hesitate to contact us or you can post your comments and questions below.

MX Record for Email in cPanel


MX (Mail exchanger) record is a type of resource record in the domain name system that specifies which mail servers are responsible for receiving emails for the domain. You can read more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MX_record

When you order a web hosting account, by default your hosting server where your website is hosted also has a mail server. Therefore MX record is automatically created to specify your web hosting server to be the mail server as well and receive emails. That is why you can create and manage email accounts using cPanel interface, which directly interacts with the local mail server on that server.

However at times some clients want to host their email elsewhere. For this reason they will need to change the MX record so that emails can go that particular server. To change the MX, you can click on MX Entry in Mail section of cPanel. For some reason cPanel calls it MX Entry instead of MX Record.

MX Entry in cPanel DNS

Priority in MX Record

Since it is possible to have multiple mail servers configured to receive emails for a domain, the next screen explains how the priorities work MX records (entries).

  • Lower values denote higher priority, with 0 being the highest possible priority.
  • The primary mail server(s) (with the lowest-numbered priority) will receive mail sent to your domain.
  • Secondary mail servers (those with higher priority values) can be used for backup or other purposes.
  • If you assign multiple mail servers the same priority, then when that level of mail server is needed, mail will be distributed to those servers randomly.

You may have to select the domain from the drop down to proceed.

MX Entry Maintenance

Email Routing
Once you select the domain, you will be presented with the current MX configuration of the domain. For example in this screen shot here we see that domain is configured to receive email on Local server. It is currently using “Automatically Detect Configuration” option to come up with that.

Current MX Record and Settings

You can keep it as it is i.e. let cPanel automatically detect configuration, or you can choose one of the other three options. They are as follows:

Local Mail Exchanger: Configure local server to always accept mail. Mail will be delivered locally on the server when sent from the server or outside the server.

Backup Mail Exchanger: Configure server as a backup mail exchanger. Mail will be held until a lower number mail exchanger is available.

Remote Mail Exchanger: Configure server to not accept mail locally and send mail to the lowest MX record.

Please be careful with changing this. The Warning is pretty clear: Setting the wrong option here can break receiving mail on your server. If you are at all unsure about which option to select contact your system administrator (that is our support).

You can click on Change button to make the change (if required).

Since there can be multiple MX records in a domain, you can see the listing of your current MX Record(s). You have the option to edit or delete the record:

Edit or Delete MX Record

If you click Edit, it you can modify the Priority or Destination:

Edit MX Record

Or you can add a new record as well:

Add New MX Record

Once you are done with the changes, you can see that all the records under MX Records section are what you needed to set. It may take a few hours before the DNS updates propagates and new email starts delivering on the MX records for your domain.

Hope this tutorial makes it easy to manage MX records for your domain. If you need help with it, please feel free to contact us or you can post in the comments section below.

DKIM and SPF – Email Authentication in cPanel


DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a means of verifying incoming email. It ensures that incoming messages are unmodified and from the sender from whom they claim to be. Technically DKIM provides a method for validating a domain name identity that is associated with a message through cryptographic authentication. For more information please visit http://www.dkim.org

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) system allows you to specify servers and IP addresses that are authorized to send mail from your domain(s). This feature works to prevent outgoing spam messages using your domain from other computers and servers. If someone tries to send emails spoofing your domain in their email address, the receiving servers will check if you authorized them to send email – failing which such spam will be rejected.

We assume you are already logged into cPanel of your web hosting account. Click on Email Authentication link under Mail to proceed.

Email Authentication

By default Email Authentication is disabled. To enable each one, click the Enable button.

DKIM and SPF Disabled

DKIM is enabled with just a click of a button.

DKIM Enabled

No further configuration is required for DKIM. The Email Authentication screen will show you if it is active.

DKIM Enabled and Active

To enable SPF, click Enable button.

SPF Enabled

When SPF is enabled, a new TXT DNS Record is added to your domain’s DNS zone. It uses your domain’s Mail Exchanger (MX) record, A record and the IPv4 address. In most cases this default setting is good enough to authorize these servers to send email.

In addition to default configuration of SPF, the Email Authentication screen allows you to add additional hosts and make changes to the SPF record.

Advanced SPF Settings

Email authentication helps prevent spam. The options provided in cPanel attempt to equip email messages with verifiable information so that the nature of incoming and outgoing messages can be detected automatically.

Enabling DKIM and SPF should reduce the number of failed delivery notifications you receive when spammers forge messages from your domain(s). These features also work to prevent spammers from forging messages that claim to be from your domain(s).

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