What is Sentora

Are you on the hunt for a user-friendly, versatile, and budget-friendly web hosting control panel? Sentora could be just the ticket. This free, open-source software transforms any Linux, UNIX, or BSD-based server into a fully functional Web Hosting server. In this piece, we’ll delve into what Sentora has to offer and guide you through its installation, configuration, and usage.

A Deeper Look into Sentora and Its Advantages

Sentora sprouted from the original ZPanel project, purchased by Hostwinds LLC in 2014. Determined to continue the software’s evolution and maintenance as a passion project, the Sentora team has worked tirelessly without any commercial support or financial incentives. Sentora operates under the GPL v3 license, allowing you to use and expand on it for free while sharing with others.

Sentora brings a variety of features to the table that make it a compelling choice for web hosting management. Here are just a few:

  • A Multi-client Environment: With Sentora, hosting and managing multiple clients on a single server becomes a breeze, with each client having a unique login and customizable control panel. Assign distinct packages and permissions to every client and monitor their activities and usage.
  • Quota Management: Set restrictions on bandwidth and the number of services (such as mailboxes, domains, databases, FTP accounts, and subdomains) for each client. Enable or disable specific features for individual clients, including cron jobs, SSL certificates, DNS records, and backups.
  • API Integration: Sentora’s modular API allows you to connect your corporate website or billing system. Create, update, delete, and list clients, domains, services, and other resources via the API. It also enables you to suspend, unsuspend, or terminate clients.
  • Modules: Expand Sentora’s functionality with modules from the App Store or develop your own. Modules are plugins that add new features or improve existing ones. You can install modules for webmail, file manager, statistics, security, backup, and more.
  • Resellers: Allow your clients to resell your hosting in a white-label environment. Resellers can create their packages and clients, managing them via their control panel. Set quotas and permissions for each reseller, and monitor their activities and usage.
  • Branding: Modify Sentora’s appearance by downloading themes or crafting your own. Themes are templates that change the control panel’s look. You can also alter the logo, favicon, title, and footer of the control panel to match your brand.
  • Localization: Thanks to translation packs, Sentora can be used in various languages. These packs contain the control panel’s text strings in different languages. You can download translation packs from the App Store or make your own.

Steps to Install and Configure Sentora on Your Server

Installing Sentora on your server is a breeze. Follow these simple steps:

1. Check that your server meets Sentora’s minimum requirements. You need a clean installation of a supported operating system (CentOS 6/7/8, Ubuntu 12/14/16/18/20, or Debian 7/8/9/10), with at least 512 MB of RAM and 10 GB of disk space. Root access to your server via SSH is also required.

2. Download the installation script from the Sentora website. You can choose between a stable or beta version.

3. Run the installation script on your server using the bash command. The script will ask for details such as your domain name, subdomain name, time zone, and admin password. Provide these and wait for the installation to finish.

4. Once installed, access your Sentora control panel by visiting your domain URL. Log in using the username ‘zadmin’ and the password you set during the installation.

After accessing your control panel, consider the following:

•          Update your profile details like name, email, and password.

•          Change your language preference if necessary.

•          Check and install updates if any are available.

•          Install desired modules or themes from the App Store.

•          Create packages for your clients, assigning different quotas and features.

•          Create clients and assign them packages.

Creating and managing clients, domains, mailboxes, and other services using Sentora is straightforward. Use the control panel’s menus and tabs to access different sections and perform different tasks. For example:

•          Create a client under Admin > Clients > Create a new client. Fill in the necessary information and enable or disable certain features, then click ‘Create.’

•          Add a domain under Domains > Add a domain. Fill in the domain name and assign it to a client. Enable or disable features for the domain, then click ‘Create.’

•          Create a mailbox under Mail > Mailboxes > Create a new mailbox. Fill in the mailbox name and assign it to a domain. Set a password, quota, and forwarding address for the mailbox, then click ‘Create.’

•          Create a database under Database > MySQL databases > Create a new database. Fill in the database name and assign it to a client. Set a password and assign users to the database, then click ‘Create.’

Similar steps can be followed to create other services like FTP accounts, subdomains, cron jobs, and backups. You can also edit, delete, or suspend any service created using the control panel.

The API, modules, resellers, and branding features of Sentora offer advanced functionalities that enhance your web hosting experience:

  • API: Use the API to interact with Sentora programmatically. Send HTTP requests to the API endpoint using your API key to perform various actions or get information about your server, clients, domains, and services. Documentation is available on the Sentora website.
  • Modules: Add new features or enhance existing ones on Sentora using modules. Install modules from the App store or develop your own. Documentation for the module system is available on the Sentora website.
  • Resellers: Offer web hosting services to your clients under your brand name using resellers. Create reseller accounts and set quotas and permissions for each, monitoring their activity and usage.
  • Branding: Change the appearance of Sentora to match your brand. Download themes or create your own. Alter the logo, favicon, title, and footer of the control panel using the branding settings.
  • Sentora is a community-driven project, and its users’ feedback and contributions are highly valued. If you need support or want to contribute to Sentora, here’s how:
  • Support: The Sentora community forums are a great place to ask questions, share tips, report bugs, or request features. Premium support from the Sentora team is available through subscription.
  • Contribution: Contribute to Sentora by reporting bugs, suggesting features, translating texts, developing modules or themes, writing documentation, or donating money. More information is available on the Sentora website.

Conclusion

Sentora offers a free and open-source solution for efficient and easy web hosting server management. Its multitude of features, including a multi-client environment, quota management, API integration, modules, resellers, and branding, make it a compelling choice for web hosting management. Installation is simple, allowing you to begin creating and managing clients, domains, mailboxes, and other services swiftly.

FAQ’s

Q.1. How can I install Sentora on my Linux, UNIX, or BSD server?

Ans. You can install Sentora by downloading and running the installation script from the Sentora website. Follow the on-screen instructions and provide the required details such as your domain name, subdomain name, time zone, and admin password.

Q.2. What are the minimum requirements and supported operating systems for Sentora?

Ans. Sentora requires a clean installation of a supported operating system (CentOS 6/7/8, Ubuntu 12/14/16/18/20, or Debian 7/8/9/10), with at least 512 MB of RAM and 10 GB of disk space. Root access to your server via SSH is also required.

Q.3. How can I access and use the Sentora control panel?

Ans. You can access your Sentora control panel by visiting the subdomain URL that you set during the installation. Log in using the username ‘zadmin’ and the password you set during the installation. You can then use the control panel to manage your web hosting services and settings.

Q.4. How can I create and manage packages, domains, subdomains, databases, mailboxes, FTP accounts, and cron jobs with Sentora?

Ans. You can create and manage these services using the modules in the control panel. For example, you can use the ‘Package Manager’ module to create and assign packages to your clients, the ‘Domain Manager’ module to add and remove domains and subdomains, the ‘Database Manager’ module to create and manage MySQL databases, the ‘Mailbox Manager’ module to create and manage email accounts, the ‘FTP Accounts’ module to create and manage FTP users, and the ‘Cron Manager’ module to create and manage cron jobs.

Q.5. How can I secure my Sentora server with SSL certificates and firewall rules?

Ans. You can secure your Sentora server by installing SSL Certificates for your domains and subdomains using the ‘SSL Manager’ module in the control panel. You can also configure firewall rules for your server using the ‘Firewall Manager’ module in the control panel.

Q.6. How can I monitor the performance and usage of my Sentora server and clients?

Ans. You can monitor the performance and usage of your Sentora server and clients using the ‘System Information’ module in the control panel. This module shows you various statistics such as CPU load, memory usage, disk usage, bandwidth usage, service status, and server uptime.

Q.7. How can I backup and restore my Sentora server and clients’ data?

Ans. You can backup and restore your Sentora server and clients’ data using the ‘Backup Manager’ module in the control panel. This module allows you to create full or partial backups of your server data, including databases, files, emails, settings, etc. You can also restore your data from a backup file using this module.

Q.8. How can I uninstall or remove Sentora from my server?

Ans. You can uninstall or remove Sentora from your server by running the uninstall script from the Sentora website. This script will remove all Sentora files, databases, settings, and services from your server.

Q.9. How can I download and install modules, themes, and translation packs from the Sentora App store?

Ans. You can download and install modules, themes, and translation packs from the Sentora App store using the ‘App Store’ module in the control panel. This module allows you to browse, download, install, update, rate, sell, and publish modules, themes, and translation packs for Sentora.