Cpanel, No Big Deal
The cpanel is no big deal, really. If you want to learn how to webmaster your own site, which I Highly suggest you do, you'll have to face the dreaded cpanel. I say this tongue in cheek because it's not really that big a deal.
I advise those who are learning how to webmaster their own pages to begin with FrontPage. It is a versatile wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) program. It has the power and functionality you need, and you do not need to know a speck of html. Not a speck. I am a wysiwyg kind of guy. I hold up crosses to html. Crosses and garlic.
First of all, what is the cpanel? The cpanel is nothing but the page you go to that offers you controls on the server that hosts your site:
The server has a site. I use Bluehost. So I go to the Bluehost site. I type in my domain name and my password, press enter, and arrive at my c-panel.
The cpanel will have arranged the categories of tools you might use or will use to work on your site on the server's side of things. Think of it this way: You have your computer. You have the server. You have your files. You transmit those files to the server. Technically, you can change files on your site through the server's end of things. An example of when you would do this: with a blog. The files of a blog can be on the server's end and never on your computer. But that's another topic. Back to the cpanel.
The cpanel can tell you many things. You can accomplish many tasks here, many fix-its, which you can do with help from support on the server end. Mainly, what you need to know, above all else if you are using FrontPage, which is, again, what I advise if you are beginning, is to install FrontPage extensions. This is extremely easy. All you do is click on the button that says "FrontPage extensions" on the cpanel. On the Bluehost cpanel, the icon looks like a little block of four connected puzzle pieces, which I suppose is to resemble the Microsoft logo.
This will be in the "advanced" area of the panel. Do not let that scare you. There is nothing advanced about the procedure of installing the extensions. You click on the icon. Up comes a page that tells you what FrontPage extensions are installed and which ones are uninstalled. If you have more than one domain, you will see them all here. You choose the domain where you want to install the extensions, and you install them with the click of your mouse. Thus, you have installed the extensions. Not much to it. This will allow FrontPage to upload to your domain. That's it.
Sometimes the extensions fail. You have to uninstall them and install them again, just like with other software. This happens typically when you have left your site alone for awhile. You have not been publishing. It's as if the domain and server forgot about you. I do not know what happens and why it happens this way. It does not matter. What matters is that you can uninstall and reinstall with minimal problems. If you have installed web security, you have to install that again. This will all be evident. The page on which you install the extensions will give you this information. The page also notifies you that "if you uninstall, any .htaccess files will have to be reinstalled". If you blog on your site, this could affect your blog. If the uninstall and reinstall affects the blog, server support can help correct this matter. By the way, you are saving your blog. Right?
The other main function the cpanel provides is to tell your domains what you want them to do. You can have a sub-domain point to your main domain. You can have it point to itself. You can also do nothing with it. Why would you do that? Because you have not built a site for it yet or have not made it point to another site of yours. You've simply bought the domain and it is sitting there.
One point about buying domains: Try to do that with the server who you've decided will host your site. It's a pain to transfer a domain. That rhymes, unfortunately. More Unfortunate is your choice to buy a domain through someone other than a reputable server who offers good support. Transferring a domain is not a huge pain, but there's time involved. It's much easier simply to buy the domain through your host, and then do whatever you want with the domain once you've bought it.
The way a basic account works at Bluehost, and many other servers, is that you get a main domain. All the rest of the domains get directed through the main one. So you can create a new domain, and it will look, for all intents and purposes, as if the new domain is its own domain. It will not look to be an appendage of the main site, though it will be. So if buyit.com has another domain – say the name is pleasurebuyit – pleasurebuyit can show up as offerbuyit.com, not buyit.com/pleasebuyit.com, even though the server will still consider buyit.com as your main site. This, you control through the cpanel. On Bluehost, this icon is called "domain manager".
You have lots of other stuff you can do on the cpanel, but nothing is as Crucial as what I have mentioned. You can check your stats, which is to say, you can see who has come to your site (the ISP address) and what they clicked on and how long they stayed at your site, all that. This is of course valuable information, easily accessible through the cpanel.
It's valuable information. But not knowing this information is not going to have any affect on what your website looks like or if it is up at all.
And that's it. No big deal. You will still be doing the major portion of your work as a webmaster on your computer using FrontPage.