What is WebHost Manager (cPanel vs. WHM)?

cPanel has a lot of features for managing files, email, databases, and more on cPanel-managed Shared hosting plans. But what is WHM?

WebHost Manager (WHM) manages CentOS, DNS, software, and multiple cPanel accounts on Managed VPS and Dedicated server hosting plans. Reseller Hosting includes a limited form of WHM as well. Below we cover:

  • What is WHM Capable of?
    • cPanel Management
    • DNS Configuration
    • Server Upgrades
    • cPanel Plugins
    • Security
    • SSL Management
    • Automated cPanel Backups
    • Server Metrics and System Health
  • What is WHM for System Administrators (Sysadmins)?
  • What is WHM for Resellers?
  • Getting Started with WHM
WebHost Manager (WHM)

Need root access but not sure what’s best? Check out our guide that compares Managed VPS or Cloud Server Hosting.

What is WHM Capable of?

cPanel account management

Since we’ve briefly covered what is cPanel, let’s start with its direct link to answering what is WHM. WHM is where cPanel accounts are created and managed. Major configurations upon creating cPanel accounts include:

  • Domain and login information
  • Package settings for limits on disk space, bandwidth, email, and FTP accounts
  • A feature list specifying what cPanel user can do
  • DNS settings for email authentication to help mitigate business email compromise (BEC)

You can also import cPanel accounts, customize cPanel’s appearance with your branding (great for resellers), mass email cPanel users with important information, and dozens of other settings for those interested in how to secure cPanel.

DNS Configuration / Networking

cPanel users can add most common DNS records (A, MX, TXT, etc.) themselves. But only in WHM, and sometimes Account Management Panel (AMP), can you change major DNS records that govern those common records:

  • NS (Nameserver) records state where to search for authoritative records for a domain name
  • SOA (Start of Authority) records are timestamps for the last time DNS records were changed
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Ever wanted to know how to setup reverse DNS in cPanel with your server name, known as IP address Pointer (PTR) Record, to prevent your server IP from being blacklisted? You’ll need WHM.

Want to improve DNS security? You can change your nameserver software from BIND (named) to PowerDNS to configure DNS security extensions (DNSSEC).

The last notable feature worth highlighting is multiple options on how to whitelist IPs in cPanel for email traffic (country and domain).

Server and Software Upgrades

WHM does more with software than upgrade CentOS. Its EasyApache 4 (EA4) allows cPanel administrators to manage server-level software without the terminal:

  • Update and remove PHP versions and extensions
  • Specify a Multi-processing module (MPM) for Apache
  • Add Apache and Perl modules
  • Install Tomcat and Node.JS

WHM also includes a list of RPM package manager (RPM) packages in an Install an RPM function.

InMotion Hosting customers looking for an easy way to install WordPress in cPanel or other content management systems (CMS), learn how to get Softaculous on cPanel.

Install cPanel Plugins

cPanel plugins add more capabilities to WHM via third party vendors. We recommend you check out these cPanel plugins for security and performance:

  • ClamAV allows cPanel users to scan their home directory and email
  • ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) includes a suite of server security auditing tools alongside a firewall
  • ImunifyAV FREE, like ClamAV, enables cPanel scanning with more features in the cPanel GUI including automatic background scans and resource consumption options (there’s also a paid version with additional features)
  • Munin Server Monitor visualizes Apache, network performance, and other system activities

Remember, InMotion Hosting customers wanting an instant installer, see our guide mentioned above if you’d like to learn how to add Softaculous to cPanel.

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While many other features can improve cPanel security, there are many included features focused on Linux VPS hardening:

  • ModSecurity blocks commonly known exploits with multiple regular expressions and rule sets
  • Disable Shell Access, or restrict it, for cPanel users that don’t need it or shouldn’t have it
  • Security Advisor audits cPanel settings such as cPanel user password requirements to mitigate cyber attackers searching how to hack cPanel login credentials
  • Two-factor authentication (TFA / MFA) adds a layer of protection against cyber hackers that figure out how to hack cPanel password of a website
  • cPHulk Brute Force Protection blocks IP addresses at the Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) level to detect failed login attempts

SSL Management

WHM can automatically add a free Security Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate to new websites with Comodo or Let’s Encrypt to encrypt traffic between your website and users. Then, you can work on how to redirect HTTP to HTTPS in cPanel or the website. For even more security, consider adding HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).

For more information about SSL management, see our article on how to set up SSL certificates in cPanel.

If you’re learning how to generate SSL certificates in cPanel for e-commerce websites, you should consider a paid versus free SSL.

Automated cPanel Backups

In case users don’t know how to backup a website in cPanel, or just don’t do so regularly, WHM can schedule full cPanel server backups and store them on remote locations:

  • Google Drive
  • Amazon S3
  • WebDav
  • Other custom options using Rsync, FTP, and more

Looking for an easier backup solution for WHM and cPanel? Ask about our Backup Manager solution.

Server Metrics and System Health

There are native features that provide the same info as the Munin cPanel plugin covered above. These System Health options help you manage bandwidth, disk space, and processes outside of SSH, similar to cPanel Metrics.

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Sysadmins – Give More Control to your Clients

Some Web Designers have one shared hosting account, and host several of their clients on that single account. The problem however is that when your clients need emails addresses created or passwords reset, this falls on you. You cannot give your client your cPanel login credentials, as this will give them access to your other clients as well, and that is simply not a viable action. If you have VPS Hosting or a Dedicated Server, you can create individual cPanel accounts for your clients. This will give them their own cPanel login so they may have access to create new email addresses and many other tools available in cPanel. In the long run, this can save you quite a bit of time if your clients learn how to make changes without contacting you first!

cPanel creation is no longer unlimited. Learn more about cPanel Pricing Changes and related FAQs.

Resellers – Resell Web Hosting

WHM allows you to, in essence, resell your own hosting accounts. You can create cPanel accounts within WHM, and just like InMotion Hosting, you can apply certain restrictions per account. For example, you can set one cPanel account to have a max of 5 addon domains, while another cPanel account can have a max of 10 addon domains.

Resellers looking to sell hosting on a VPS, check out our Reseller VPS plans.

Getting Started with WHM

  • Managed VPS and Dedicated customers, log into Web Host Manager (WHM)
  • Shared customers, upgrade your hosting plan in AMP

Learn more about cPanel with our Managed VPS Hosting Product Guide.