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10/29/2012 – cPanel’s Security Features

Posted by Jamison on 29 10 2012.

The Internet has more users now than at any other time in its brief history. Most users form a legitimate network of people who are in search for information, the hottest deals on their gift lists, or want to download the latest tunes from any of the online stores such as iTunes.


While most of the visits to your clients’ websites will be by one or any combination of these users, there are some who seek access to private parts of their sites. There are also some who seek nothing but to cause damage to whatever website they can access. Some users from this latter group may also seek to upload their own bots, malware, or viruses that will spread from any compromised websites. Therefore, security should always be a top concern for any web host and their clients. Fortunately, cPanel has some security features built in and are easy for your clients to implement.


Many of us have certain directories on our websites that we store private information. This may be customer information, or it may simply be files that we need to keep separate from our websites. There are also files that only certain people should have access. This is why cPanel enables us to password protect directories on our accounts.


Another type of abuse that our clients may need to deal with is abusive domains. Should your clients’ website be under attack (DDoS for example), they will be able to block the originating IP, or a range of IPs by using the IP Deny Manager within cPanel.


Many websites need secured areas. These may include sites with membership areas, and of course ecommerce sites. User connections to the secure areas of a website go through a SSL. During the initial setup of a SSL, the website owner may be required to generate SSL certificates, signing requests and keys. They will be able to do this through the cPanel SSL/TLS Manager.


SSH/Shell access allows for the secure transfer of files through a FTP client. The transfers are encrypted and the user must have a SSH key before they can log onto their account through SSH. This method of file transfer disallows “snoopers” from gaining access during the transfer to your users’ account information and files.


Many web hosts have metered bandwidth on their clients’ accounts. Most webmasters watch the amount of bandwidth used and do not exceed their monthly allocation. However, there are some website owners who try to use other users’ bandwidth to serve images on their own sites. This is referred to as hotlinking. Through the cPanel interface, your clients can stop their images from being hotlinked and their bandwidth used by someone else simply by using the Hotlink Protection feature of cPanel.


There are also some website users who once they gain access to a website’s restricted areas, they will freely share any login information with other users. This is known as leeching and your clients can put a stop to that through the Leech Protect feature of cPanel.


There is one more item that we will briefly discuss for this post and that is GnuPG keys. Your clients can use these keys to provide users access to certain parts of their sites. GnuPG keys include a public key for the server, and a private key for their computers. When the two keys connect, the user’s computer can communicate with the server and access the restricted areas of the site. These keys are easily created through each cPanel account.