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Lesson 1 – Tour the HostGator Control Panel

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Tour the HostGator Control Panel

Hi! and welcome to Start Building Your Website Here Tutorial Series. My name is Melissa and I’ll be your instructor for part of the series. The goal of this tutorial series is to show how you, with basic Word Processing and Desktop Publishing skills can develop, manage and maintain your own business web presence. In this series we will guide you step by step through the process. We will assume that you have no special knowledge of doing this besides being able to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher and/or some other similar types of business productivity software. You won’t need to know HTML, CSS, XML or any of other technical elements involved in developing a website.

This lesson assumes that you’ve selected a domain name and that you have a hosting account with Hostgator.  If you have not yet taken this step, please read our article about this and go through the steps of selecting your name and hosting account first. In this lesson we will take a tour of the HostGator dashboard. So let’s get started.

First, I log in to my hostgator CPanel through the link provided by HostGator. I enter my user name and password and click log in. Now here I am at the dashboard and this is the Control Panel. This is where you control all the elements of your website within HostGator. The Control Panel contains a large variety of tools. Let’s go over the sections one by one.

First we have “Special Offers” where you can see companies that have special arrangement with HostgGator hoping to sell you their services and/or products. Next we have “HostGator Links” where you can get access to their Billing and Support System such as Support Portal, Live Chat and Ticket System. The next set of tools is “Preferences”. Here you’ll the find basic account information and good help resources. In particular, under preferences, is this “Getting Started Wizard”. If you select the “Getting Started Wizard”, you’ll see this drop down menu where you can find a list of tutorials that take you to the process of doing all the things you will probably want to do with your hosting account. In addition here, you also have “Video Tutorials”. There are lots of tutorials here that you can look at if you bumped against anything that you don’t have an answer for. Now back to CPanel.

Next in line is “Mail” and this is actually the first place we’re going to start in the next lesson. Now that you have your domain name, you want to have an email address with that domain name and you’ll also want a way of accessing them and using that email address. We will address that here. This email address will also be necessary in order for you to set up your website. So in the next lesson we’d be creating an email address and showing how to link it to Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.

The next section is “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools”. These icons will connect you to a free service called Attracta. What it does is that it automatically generates a sitemap of your website and pings the major search engines when any pages are added, to ensure that everything in your website is indexed by the search engines.  Don’t bother with this because later in the series you will learn how to do this from within your website.

Next we have “Files”. You will likely use the “File Manager” more than any other tool on this site. In later episodes, we will talk about how to use a “Backup Wizard” and how to deal with backups. We won’t be using the FTP System. We will show you how to download an FTP client called FileZilla which is very easy to work with. I will describe the process when we get to that.

Next we have “Logs” where you can evaluate parts of your website and review its performance. This is an advanced set of tools that I hardly ever used. Next comes “Security” where you can deal with security elements of your website. The next section is “Domains”. This is a section where you can add more domains or subdomains and perform other actions related to domains in your account.

Now let’s go back to CPanel and scroll down to “Databases”. We will be utilizing a database but you won’t realize it. It’s going to happen without any interaction and won’t require anything from you. Next section is “Software/Services”. Once we get our mail set up and running, we will be installing WordPress using Fantastico. It will be very simple to do. And finally, there’s this “Advanced Section”, which at this point will not require anything from us.

So that’s Control Panel and that about wraps up Lesson 1. You have an established account on HostGator and you’ve established your domain name. In Lesson 2, we will talk about setting up email from this domain name and attaching it to one of your email clients.

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