inside the mind of a linux admin

cPanel


Being an old-school system administrator from the days of command line and GUI-less administration, adapting to cPanel was a difficult challenge. If you’re like me, and you’re a _real_ system administrator (not a point and click admin), this cheat sheet I have compiled will want to be bookmarked. cPanel and WHM still run on Linux environments, therefore, they still have to play by the rules. Everything that cPanel does for you when you click that button, can easily be explained on the server-side by something as simple as the existence of a lock file, or the modification of some obscure cPanel fabricated configuration file. So, here’s all of cPanel’s dirty little secrets file locations:

Cpanel installation directory structure


/usr/local/cpanel
+ 3rdparty/ – tools like fantastico, mailman files are located here
+ addons/ – AdvancedGuestBook, phpBB etc
+ base/ – phpmyadmin, squirrelmail, skins, webmail etc
+ bin/ – cpanel binaries
+ cgi-sys/ – cgi files like cgiemail, formmail.cgi, formmail.pl etc
+ logs/ – cpanel access log and error log
+ whostmgr/ – whm related files

WHM related files


/var/cpanel – whm files
+ bandwidth/ – rrd files of domains
+ username.accts – reseller accounts are listed in this files
+ packages – hosting packages are listed here
+ root.accts – root owned domains are listed here
+ suspended – suspended accounts are listed here
+ users/ – cpanel user file – theme, bwlimit, addon, parked, sub-domains all are listed in this files
+ zonetemplates/ – dns zone template files are taken from here

Common CPanel scripts


cpanel/whm Scripts are located in /scripts/
+ addns – add a dns zone
+ addfpmail – Add frontpage mail extensions to all domains without them
+ addfpmail2 -Add frontpage mail extensions to all domains without them
+ addnetmaskips – Add the netmask 255.255.255.0 to all IPs that have no netmask
+ addnobodygrp – Adds the gorup nobody and activates security
+ addpop – add a pop account
+ addservlets – Add JSP support to an account (requires tomcat)
+ addstatus – (Internal use never called by user)
+ adduser – Add a user to the system
+ bandwidth – (OLD)
+ betaexim – Installs the latest version of exim
+ biglogcheck – looks for logs nearing 2 gigabytes in size
+ bsdcryptoinstall – Installs crypto on FreeBSD
+ bsdldconfig – Configures the proper lib directories in FreeBSD
+ bsdpkgpingtest – Tests the connection speed for downloading FreeBSD packages
+ buildbsdexpect – Install expect on FreeBSD
+ builddomainaddr – (OLD)
+ buildeximconf – Rebuilds exim.conf
+ buildpostgrebsd-dev – Installs postgresql on FreeBSD.
+ chcpass – change cpanel passwords
+ easyapache – recompile/upgrade apache and/or php
+ exim4 – reinstall exim and fix permissions
+ fixcommonproblems – fixes most common problems
+ fixfrontpageperm – fixes permission issues with Front Page
+ fixmailman – fixes common mailman issues
+ fixnamed – fixes common named issues
+ fixndc – fixes rndc errors with named
+ fixquotas – fixes quota problems
+ fullhordereset – resets horde database to a fresh one – all previous user data are lost
+ initquotas – initializes quotas
+ installzendopt – installs zend optimizer
+ killacct – terminate an account – make sure you take a backup of the account first
+ mailperm – fixes permission problems with inboxes
+ park – to park a domain
+ pkgacct – used to backup an account
+ restartsrv – restart script for services
+ restorepkg – restores an account from a backup file ( pkgacct file)
+ runlogsnow – update logs of all users
+ runweblogs – update stats for a particular user
+ securetmp – secures /tmp partition with options nosuexec and nosuid
+ suspendacct – suspends an account
+ unsuspendacct – unsuspends a suspended account
+ upcp – updates cpanel to the latest version
+ updatenow – updates the cpanel scripts
+ updateuserdomains – updates userdomain entries

Important cpanel/whm files


/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf – apache configuration file
/etc/exim.conf – mail server configuration file
/etc/named.conf – name server (named) configuration file
/etc/proftpd.conf – proftpd server configuration file
/etc/pure-ftpd.conf – pure-ftpd server configuration file
/etc/valiases/domainname – catchall and forwarders are set here
/etc/vfilters/domainname – email filters are set here
/etc/userdomains – all domains are listed here – addons, parked,subdomains along with their usernames
/etc/localdomains – exim related file – all domains should be listed here to be able to send mails
/var/cpanel/users/username – cpanel user file
/var/cpanel/cpanel.config – cpanel configuration file ( Tweak Settings )*
/etc/cpbackup-userskip.conf –
/etc/sysconfig/network – Networking Setup*
/etc/hosts –
/var/spool/exim –
/var/spool/cron –
/etc/resolv.conf – Networking Setup–> Resolver Configuration
/etc/nameserverips – Networking Setup–> Nameserver IPs ( FOr resellers to give their nameservers )
/var/cpanel/resellers – For addpkg, etc permissions for resellers.
/etc/chkserv.d – Main >> Service Configuration >> Service Manager *
/var/run/chkservd – Main >> Server Status >> Service Status *
/var/log/dcpumon – top log process
/root/cpanel3-skel – skel directory. Eg: public_ftp, public_html. (Account Functions–>Skeleton Directory )*
/etc/wwwacct.conf – account creation defaults file in WHM (Basic cPanel/WHM Setup)*
/etc/cpupdate.conf – Update Config *
/etc/cpbackup.conf – Configure Backup*
/etc/clamav.conf – clamav (antivirus configuration file )
/etc/my.cnf – mysql configuration file
/usr/local/Zend/etc/php.ini OR /usr/local/lib/php.ini – php configuration file
/etc/ips – ip addresses on the server (except the shared ip) (IP Functions–>Show IP Address Usage )*
/etc/ipaddrpool – ip addresses which are free
/etc/ips.dnsmaster – name server ips
/var/cpanel/Counters – To get the counter of each users.
/var/cpanel/bandwidth – To get bandwith usage of domain

cPanel Managed Services


Now, in addition to all of this, cPanel and WHM insist on managing many of the services and daemons that we previously used to have to individually compile for new releases and modify configurations regularly. This is somewhat of a positive thing, though, it can also be a nuisance. Here’s the configuration files of the various services that cPanel manages (some of which are the same):

Apache
=======
/usr/local/apache
+ bin- apache binaries are stored here – httpd, apachectl, apxs
+ conf – configuration files – httpd.conf
+ cgi-bin
+ domlogs – domain log files are stored here
+ htdocs
+ include – header files
+ libexec – shared object (.so) files are stored here – libphp4.so,mod_rewrite.so
+ logs – apache logs – access_log, error_log, suexec_log
+ man – apache manual pages
+ proxy –
+ icons –

Init Script :/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd – apache start script
Cpanel script to restart apache – /scripts/restartsrv_httpd

Exim
=====
Conf : /etc/exim.conf – exim main configuration file
/etc/localdomains – list of domains allowed to relay mail
Log : /var/log/exim_mainlog – incoming/outgoing mails are logged here
/var/log/exim_rejectlog – exim rejected mails are reported here
/exim errors are logged here
Mail queue: /var/spool/exim/input
Cpanel script to restart exim – /scripts/restartsrv_exim
Email forwarders and catchall address file – /etc/valiases/domainname.com
Email filters file – /etc/vfilters/domainname.com
POP user authentication file – /home/username/etc/domainname/passwd
catchall inbox – /home/username/mail/inbox
POP user inbox – /home/username/mail/domainname/popusername/inbox
POP user spambox – /home/username/mail/domainname/popusername/spam
Program : /usr/sbin/exim (suid – -rwsr-xr-x 1 root root )
Init Script: /etc/rc.d/init.d/exim

ProFTPD
========
Program :/usr/sbin/proftpd
Init Script :/etc/rc.d/init.d/proftpd
Conf: /etc/proftpd.conf
Log: /var/log/messages, /var/log/xferlog
FTP accounts file – /etc/proftpd/username – all ftp accounts for the domain are listed here

Pure-FTPD
=========
Program : /usr/sbin/pure-ftpd
Init Script :/etc/rc.d/init.d/pure-ftpd
Conf: /etc/pure-ftpd.conf
Anonymous ftp document root – /etc/pure-ftpd/ip-address

Frontpage Extensions
=================
Program – (Install): /usr/local/frontpage/version5.0/bin/owsadm.exe
Uninstall and then install for re-installations
FP files are found as _vti-bin, _vti-pvt, _vti-cnf, vti-log inside the public_html

Mysql
=======
Program : /usr/bin/mysql
Init Script : /etc/rc.d/init.d/mysql
Conf : /etc/my.cnf, /root/.my.cnf
Data directory – /var/lib/mysql – Where all databases are stored.
Database naming convention – username_dbname (eg: john_sales)
Permissions on databases – drwx 2 mysql mysql
Socket file – /var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock, /tmp/ mysql.sock

SSHD
======
Program :/usr/local/sbin/sshd
Init Script :/etc/rc.d/init.d/sshd
/etc/ssh/sshd_config
Log: /var/log/messages

Perl
====
Program :/usr/bin/perl
Directory :/usr/lib/perl5/5.6.1/

PHP
====

Program :/usr/local/bin/php, /usr/bin/php
ini file: /usr/local/lib/php.ini – apache must be restarted after any change to this file
php can be recomplied using /scripts/easyapache

Named(BIND)
============
Program: /usr/sbin/named
Init Script: /etc/rc.d/init.d/named
/etc/named.conf
db records:/var/named/
/var/log/messages

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5 Comments

  • Dan on Monday, November 21, 2011

    Hi, Nice cPanel Cheat Sheet, When was this compiled, i.e, for what version of cPanel is it applicable please?

    Thanks!

  • student on Monday, May 21, 2012

    Great!!! Thanks

  • GMSujon on Sunday, July 29, 2012

    Hi,
    I am a new webmaster and I recently registered my very own site. For some reasons, I need to edit the ‘httpd.conf’ file, but unfortunately, I could not find one!
    Surfing online, I found out that ‘httpd.conf’ is located at ‘etc/’ directory. But there is no ‘httpd.conf’ or anything titled ‘httpd’ or ‘.conf’ exists in that (‘etc’) directory. I came to know that it is a ‘Apache configuration’ file. But I don’t have one! I am using Linux with cPanel version 11.32.3 (build 23) and Apache version 2.2.22.
    What, if that file is deleted? Can that file be recovered or can someone create that file? Thanks in advance!

  • atasehir on Monday, March 25, 2013

    hello admin,

    Great!!! Thanks

  • istanbul halı yıkama on Monday, January 9, 2017

    Great!!! Thanks for the cpanel informations

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