Getting Started with your Winhost site: Control Panel tutorial

When you open a new account you should receive two email welcome letters. One will contain your account ID and account password, the other will contain your site domain name and some guidelines on how to get started. The distinction between "account" and "site" is important. You use the account login for Control Panel. The site is contained within the account. One account can contain multiple sites. When you open your account it will contain your first site, the domain that you used during sign up. You can add sites to your account in the future by clicking the "Order New Site" button which is located under the Sites tab.

Logging in to the Winhost Control Panel

The first thing you will want to do is log in to the Winhost Control Panel, which is located at: https://cp.winhost.com. Your account welcome letter contains the Control Panel username and password. Your username is a seven digit number.   

The first page you will see after logging in is a news and announcements page. Every page in Control Panel has the same navigation links. In the upper right corner are links that will open a new browser window or tab: Forum, Knowledge Base, Support and Logout
 
Forum
This link will take you to the Winhost community forum. The forum is a great tool to assist in troubleshooting and diagnosing problems, as well as finding tips and suggestions. Any coding or programming related questions you have should be asked in the forum. Also feel free to post non-programming related questions. We welcome your opinions, comments and conversation. We have several staff members who are active in the forum, though it should not be considered an "official" support channel. The forum is open to the public, it is not exclusive to WinHost customers. We believe that having an open forum benefits customers and non-customers alike.

Knowledge Base
This is a link to our extensive collection of Knowledge Base articles, where you can find tons of information and guidance. Some Knowledge Base articles will also appear in Control Panel, in the right side column under "RELATED KB ARTICLES." These links provide direct access to relevant information.

Support
This links you to our help desk system. The help desk system is the primary method with which you communicate with us. Logging in to the help desk to open a support ticket allows us to authenticate your request to provide more timely responses. It also allows you to track the status and history of your tickets. You can also visit the help desk directly, at http://support.winhost.com.

Logout
Click here to log out of Control Panel.

Below those links you will find six tabs.


 
Home
This is the news page, the same one you see when you log in.



 
Account & Billing
This will take you to your account information page.  From here you can view or update your account contact information, account password, secret question, billing statements, and credit card on file.
 
Admin Contact
It is important to keep this information current, as we use it to contact you in the event of a renewal or other billing problem. We use the Primary Email Address as a contact for any important technical emails or notices that we may send out regarding your account.
    
Update Account Password
This is the login password for Control Panel. Changing this password does not affect passwords related to any sites in your account.
    
Secret Question
This is the question we will ask if you lose account usernames or passwords and have no other way to verify account ownership.
    
Billing Statements
You can view all past billing statements here. If you have questions about a charge that was made for your account, the statement should contain the answer.
    
Update Credit Card
Keep this current to avoid possible interruptions in service.

 
Sites
Here you will see a list of the sites associated with your account.
 
Domain Name
This is the primary domain name for the site. Note that you may have other domains associated with the site (pointer domains), but only the primary domain will be listed here.
    
Plan 
Plan type; Basic, Max or Ultimate.  
    
Status
This will normally be "Active." If a site is inactive, the "Manage" link will not be present.    
    
Site ID
The site ID is used as a login name for certain site functions, such as FTP, etc. The site ID is based on the primary domain name for the site.    
    
Manage
This link takes you to the Site Manager section, which is covered separately in this Knowledge Base article.    
    
Notes
These are optional notes that you enter for a given site. Notes are added or edited in the Site Manager section.

 
Domains
This tab will take you to the domain manager page. This page displays both domains registered through WinHost, and also domains that may be registered elsewhere, but are associated with a site in your account. If you registered a domain elsewhere, some of the options below will not be available to you. Those tasks must be done at the domain registrar's site. If you are unsure of who the registrar is for your domain name, see this Knowledge Base article.
 
Domain, Exp. Date
Displays the domain name and the expiration date for the domain.

Associated Site Login
If a domain is associated with a site, the username (login) for that site is listed here.

Whois Privacy
When you register a domain name you provide contact information that is publicly available in what is called a "whois record."  Whois Privacy sets the publicly available information for your domain name to generic information provided by the registrar (in our case the registrar is OpenSRS). So in effect, the Whois Privacy option prevents your address, phone number, email, etc. from being publicly available. Whois Privacy can be ordered when a domain is initially registered with us. If privacy is not ordered, the option to add privacy will not be available until the domain is scheduled for renewal.

Whois Record
Clicking the Edit link here will take you to the whois record section. Here you can update your contact information or change name servers for the domain. You may be tempted to enter false contact information here in order to set up a kind of pseudo "Whois Privacy," but we strongly recommend that you do not do so. Periodically the governing body that oversees domain name registrations, ICANN, will contact domain owners to verify their identity. If you fail to respond to the verification call, email or postal mail, there is a possibility that you could lose your domain. For that reason we suggest that you always have valid contact information in your whois record. If you wish to keep your personal information out of the public record, opt for Whois Privacy.

DNS
Clicking the Manage link here takes you to the DNS Manager, where you can alter the DNS records for your domain. Unless you are quite sure of what you are doing, we do not recommend making any changes to the DNS record for your domain. Incorrect entries here can render your domain inoperative.

Move Away?
The Lock / Unlock link takes you to the "unlock" option. By default your domain is locked so that we can renew it and to prevent unauthorized changes or domain hijacking. You should only unlock your domain if you intend to transfer it away to another registrar. Once a domain is unlocked we cannot renew it on your behalf.

 
 
 
Order New Site
When you order a new site you have the option of registering a new domain name through Winhost or using a domain name that you have previously registered elsewhere. Either option you choose will add the new site's domain name to the Domains tab where you can control certain aspects of the domain. Note that domains and sites are managed separately, even when they are associated with each other.


 
Order New Domain
You can order a new domain name on its own, without ordering a new site. If you intend to associate the new domain with a site in your account right away, you should use Order New Site, which includes a step to register a new domain. If you are registering a new domain that you do not want to associate with a site in your account (or will set up a new site for at a later date), you can do so here.

The first step will let you know if the domain you wish to register is available. If it is not, we will automatically check other extensions (.net, .org, etc.) to see if the name is available under any of them.

The second step is the Whois Privacy option. You can read about Whois Privacy in the previous section of this article.

Finally you see a total price that will be charged and the "Purchase Domain" button. If you notice any errors on this page you can hit the "Back" button and start the process from the beginning.
 
Your domain name may not be immediately active.  Before you can fully activate your domain name you will need to run through the Domain Registrant Validation.  An email will be sent to the email address entered in the Registrant field. Your domain name will remain in 'Suspended' state until the domain validation has been completed.


For information on the Site Tools section, see this Knowledge Base article.
For information on the Site Info section, see this Knowledge Base article.