How to Install cPanel & WHM on DigitalOcean®

Last modified: January 12, 2022


This document explains how to create a DigitalOcean® Droplet™ running the cPanel & WHM drive image.

  • cPanel & WHM requires a valid license. If this is a new installation, you can activate a free 15-day trial license.

  • In order to activate a new license, you must have a cPanel Store account with a verified email address.

  • Due to networking requirements, you cannot run an IPv6-only cPanel & WHM server. You must have at least one IPv4 address.

Create a Droplet

  1. Navigate to the DigitalOcean website.

  2. Click Log In in the top right corner. The Project page will appear.

  3. Click the Marketplace tab. A list of Marketplace listings will appear.

  4. In the Search bar, enter cPanel. The cPanel listing will appear.

  5. Click the cPanel listing.

  6. Click Create cPanel & WHM Droplet. The Create Droplets page will appear.

  7. The Choose a plan section lists the available Droplet sizes with the number of CPUs, disk size, bandwidth quota, and pricing. Select a Droplet plan from the list.


    Even though cPanel & WHM requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM and 20GB of disk space, we recommend at least 2GB of RAM and 40GB of dsk space.

    For more information about hardware requirements, read our Installation Guide - System Requirements documentation.

  8. The Add block storage section allows you to configure additional storage space for your server.

    We recommend that you skip this step until after you configure your cPanel & WHM server.

  9. The Choose a datacenter section allows you to select the region in which your server will reside. Select the datacenter region that provides the fastest access for you and your customers.

  10. The Select additional section allows you to add Private networking, IPv6, User data, and Monitoring

  11. The Add your SSH keys section allows you to use SSH keys to securely access your server.

    We strongly recommend that you use SSH keys to access your server. If you do not use an SSH key, DigitalOcean will send you a root password via email, which poses a security risk.
    To add an SSH key, perform the following steps:

    On an macOS® computer that uses the default download folder:

    1. Run the following command, where example represents the key pair’s name:

      mv ~/Downloads/example.pem ~/.ssh
    2. Run the following command to modify the permissions for the .pem file, where example represents the key pair’s name:

      chmod 600 ~/.ssh/example.pem
    3. Run the following command to add the key pair, where example represents the key pair’s name:

      ssh-add ~/.ssh/example.pem

    An Identity added message will appear.

    On a Windows® computer that runs the PuTTY client and uses the default download folder, perform the following steps:

    1. From the Windows Start menu, open PuttyGen.

    2. Under the Conversions heading, click Import.

    3. Navigate to the PuTTY Key Generator interface and select the .pem key you downloaded. Click Open.

    4. Enter a passphrase in the Key passphrase and Confirm passphrase text boxes.

    5. Click Save private key and save the key as a .ppk file.

    6. From the Windows Start menu, open PuTTY.

    7. In the Session interface, enter the following information:

      • Hostname (or IP address) — You virtual machine’s IP address.
      • Port — Enter 22.
      • Connection type — Select SSH.
      • Saved sessions — Enter a name for your session. Then click Save.
    8. Navigate to the Auth interface under the SSH category.

    9. Click Browse, select the .ppk file you created, and click Open.

  12. The Finalize and create section allows you to duplicate your Droplet instance, set your hostname, add reference tags, select a project, and add backups.

  13. Enter a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) as the hostname for your server and click Create.

    • If your server does not use a resolvable fully-qualified domain name as the hostname, it will automatically receive one from cPanel, L.L.C. For more information, read our Automatically-Issued Hostnames documentation.

      • Do not select a hostname that begins with www or a number, or a hostname that ends with a hyphen (-).

      • You must use a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) that uniquely identifies the server (for example, or

      • Do not choose a hostname that a cPanel account on your server will use.

      • Do not choose a potential service subdomain as a hostname. For more information, read our Service and Proxy Subdomains documentation.

      • Do not select a socially-unacceptable hostname. The hostname will appear in mail headers.

      • Only use lowercase, Latin-script letters in hostnames.

  14. DigitalOcean will provision your server and its profile page will appear.

Your server’s IP address will appear in the ipv4 area of the profile page. You will use this address to log in to your server.

This IP address is also the IP address for which you will purchase a cPanel & WHM license.

The cPanel & WHM installation process

When you create a droplet, cPanel & WHM will automatically begin installation in the background. To watch the installation progress, log in to the instance via SSH.


The installation process takes about 10-15 minutes. You cannot log in to WHM until the installation process is complete.

Log in via SSH

To log in to the server via SSH, run the following command, where IPADDRESS represents the server’s IP address.

ssh root@IPADDRESS

The server will respond with a Message of the Day that contains helpful links.

Change the root password

To change the root user’s password, perform the following steps:

  1. Enter the passwd command.
  2. Enter a new password.
  3. Enter the new password again.

The system will update the root password.

Log in to WHM

To log in to WHM, perform the following steps:

  1. In your preferred browser, navigate to the https://IPADDRESS:2087 URL, where IPADDRESS represents your server’s IP address. A new interface will appear.

  2. Agree to the software license. The Get started with a Free cPanel Trial! interface will appear.

  3. You will need to log in to or create a cPanel Store account. For information about how to do this, read our How to Sign Up for a Trial License documentation.

  4. After you log in to the cPanel Store and obtain a trial license, the Contact Information interface will appear.

  5. Enter your contact information and nameserver information. The WHM Home interface will appear.

cPanel & WHM requires a valid license. If this is a new installation, you can activate a free 15-day trial license.

Configure WHM

After you agree to our software license, you’re ready to configure cPanel & WHM.

For more information about WHM and how to configure your server, read our WebHost Manager documentation.

For more information on how to quickly build a website on a newly-installed cPanel & WHM server, read our From WHM to Website documentation.

cPanel & WHM requires a valid license. If this is a new installation, you can activate a free 15-day trial license.

Additional Documentation