Being up and open on the information superhighway isn’t a set-it and forget it kind of deal. Every good Canadian web hosting provider will offer their customers what they consider to be the best and most intuitive control panel for site updates when and as needed. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’ve always seen cPanel to be the best choice and recently they’ve made a good thing even better with significant upgrades to their email hosting capacities.
This week let’s talk about some of the awesome features that have been rolled out to make hosting email on a cPanel & WHM server a breeze for webhosting providers, system administrators, and cPanel users.
cPanel & WHM Version 58
SubAddressing (or ‘plus addressing’) refers to the name of an email that incorporates a ‘+’ as part of the destination user. Subaddressing optimizes the filtering of emails out of your inbox without having to configure filters for each sender. It’s definitely useful for system administrators and more standard cPanel users.
You know what it’s like in some instances when you sign up for a user account from any service provider or retailer. You’ll then be bombarded with future ‘offer’ emails and the like, but by using an address like firstname.lastname@example.org to filter them all into a folder named ‘partyrentals’ at my email account email@example.com. Plus you can also track who is sharing your email address with other companies as well with the fact each address acts as a unique one.
One quick thing to note here is you don’t create the folder before you use this address you do have to go to the server and manually subscribe to the new folder.
MDBox continues to be a hit with system administrators, and the list of reasons why you should convert from Maildir to MDBox is long.
Both are storage formats used by the mail application on cPanel & WHM servers, called Dovecot. There are more than a few differences between them, but the one that necessitated adding support is that email stored with Maildir uses a simple 1-to-1 format, while MDBox employs what they call a many-to-1 format. For your average Joe cPanel user it makes no difference at all, but for a server administrator it’s something of a big deal. It allows more than one mail message to be stored in a single file for lower inode use, and that lets you enjoy a whole lot faster disk access. Things like backups and account transfers for any cPanel with large email accounts take a fraction of the time, and can be done with minimal server impact.
cPanel & WHM Version 60
SNI Support in Dovecot
cPanel made it a point to be eliminating domain-mismatch SSL as much as possible with the introduction of AutoSSL last year. The idea was to help prevent end-user confusion and reduce support load for webhosts and system administrators. That’s been accomplished by adding SNI support for all services across cPanel, including Proxy Subdomains and common service subdomains. Adding SNI support to Dovecot means that emails users can set up a secure connection to their mail server using their own domain name, with no chance of coming across a mis-matched SSL Domain error that many user will know all too well. No more!
cPanel & WHM Version 62
Email Account Settings
It seemed the primary frustration of end users was when they wanted to check their email outside of the webmail interfaces on the server. Keeping your documentation updated for those users can be a huge resource drain for a Canadian web hosting provider. That starts with the fact that there are a ton of different devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc) that you and your support team should be fairly familiar with. Then add in the number of native applications (like Mail on MacOS and iOS) and 3rd-party applications (Thunderbird, Outlook, Mailbird, Claws, Opera Mail to name a few) and it becomes a little much.
It’s easy to have the webmail interface send yourself instructions for configuring any cPanel-hosted email account. From there you’ll notice that the email containing instructions also has a mobile configuration file attached to it. Open that mobile config file on your mobile device and that’s pretty much it for the procedure. All you have to do is confirm the settings and enter your password, and just like that the account is set up for you.
More adept users can take this a step further: Add your WHM account login for your server to the cPanel app (for iOS and Android). Then you can login to webmail for any user on your server via your mobile device, and send them the new account setup instructions with ease.
cPanel & WHM Version 64
IMAP Full-Text Search Indexing
IMAP Full-Text Search Indexing is one of those features that’s more sublime in its usefulness and thus appeal for system administrators. The entirety of that is in the way that it delivers incredibly fast search capabilities for all of your email hosted on a cPanel & WHM server over an IMAP connection. As an email user you’ll love how you can search your email so quickly, even if your email is hosted on the server. If you’re not a big fan of folders, it’s pretty darn nice. It comes highly recommended for hecking email on my phone or any iOS device, Microsoft Outlook, SquirrelMail, Horde, Roundcube, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Quick note: If you didn’t enable SOLR on the upgrade to version 64, you can enable it via the WHM’s Manage Plugins interface (Home >> cPanel >> Manage Plugins), or by running the install_dovecot_fts (full text search) script.
iOS Push Notifications
Another gripe users had had in the past was with the inability to get email in a timely manner from your cPanel & WHM server on an iOS device. As an email user, you are forced to choose between a delay, either that or manually refresh your inbox. cPanel did add the best support possible for android devices in version 54, but didn’t add support for iOS push notifications until version 64.
There’s a lot of manual work that goes into setting up iOS push on a server, and that’s due to Apple requiring extensive configuration. It’s well worth it though, and if you visit cPanel’s website there’s good iOS Push Notifications set up documentation.
cPanel & WHM Version 66
Mail Compression on delivery
Here we are at the latest and greatest from cPanel. This feature promises to be the most exciting to anyone (sysadmin or cPanel user) that is concerned about their email bear hugging up disk space in their cPanel accounts. It has yet to be rolled out yet, but there’s one particular feature of version 66 where they’re adding compression for emailed delivered to your server. It will be compressed as the email is delivered, whether you’re using Maildir, or MDBox, reducing the amount of space needed by any email account on your server. Pairing Compression with MDBox promises to make email hosting blazing fast!
If you’re like us, you love what you do but it’s always best to get away from the desk with updates complete as soon as possible.