Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blacknight Control Panel for Cpanel users

Having used Blacknight as my web host for about 18 months I still find the control panel rather complex compared to Cpanel (which I worked with for many years as a sysadmin as well as an end user).

The reason for the differences between Blacknight’s control panel is that Cpanel is a “per server” system designed to run mail, web. databases and DNS on the one physical machine. Blacknight’s system uses a Parallels automation system which runs the control panel on one server with web, email, databases and DNS on separate machines or clusters of machines which can be expanded as required. This means that each service has to be provisioned seperately with commands sent to the appropriate server. It would be nice if Blacknight had a simple script which would add the domain, create the web space and an FTP account, but it doesn’t, so you need to know how to do these things manually.

I have recommended Blacknight to a few people and they have all found it a bit tough to get to grips with the control panel after using Cpanel so I have complied the following guide from my own notes. I can’t guarantee it is all correct and it is strictly unofficial, but it might help someone else.

The key to the system is the list of domains which you will find under the “All Domains” tab. A domain needs to be listed here before you can add any services to it. If you register a domain through Blacknight that domain will normally be listed here, but you can also add domains registered elsewhere without transferring them to Blacknight.

Adding an existing domain not registered through Blacknight and creating a web space
  • Log into
  • Select correct subscription (if you have more than one you should select the one you want any hosting set up on)
  • Click on “All Domains” tab
  • Then “Add existing domain registered elsewhere”.
  • Select the required options including “new web space” (or it will try and set it up as a directory under another domain) and “Qmail” or your email will not work.
Remember to update name servers at your domain registrar to:

The process above is also used for adding web space to domains registered through Blacknight, but simply select the domain from the list under the all domains tab.

“Web space” is the term used for an account on the web server with FTP access like a Cpanel “hosting account”. Web spaces do not automatically have FTP access so now you need to add an FTP account.

Setting up ftp
  • Click on the web hosting tab
  • Click on  “web space” on the left hand menu
  • Click on “webspaces” in the main page
  • Click on “select” next to  the webspace you need an FTP account for
  • Click on “ftp access” in the left hand menu
  • Enter a username and password or let the system create a password
  • Press continue
  • “Manage FTP” will be displayed
  • Click on this to get the FTP server address
If you ever lose the ftp password you can recover this by going back to the “ftp access” stage and it will be displayed on the page.

Adding an  email address.
  • Click on Web Hosting tab
  • Click on “Email” in the left hand menu
  • Click on “Email Addresses” ojn the main page
  • Click the button “Add new E-mail Address”
  • Select “new service user” and click “continue”
  • Select “Loginexisting domain” and enter the Display name (for webmail) and the required email address and the required ;password or let the syetem choose a password.
  • Click “next” and on the next page fill in the required options.
  • Click “Next” to complete the process.

Enabling Backups
Backups are not automatically enabled and must be turned on per web space.

First you need to identify the web space (hosting account) you wish to backup:
  • Click “domain overview” on the left hand menu.
  • Click on “domain administration”.
  • You will see the list of domains and web spaces.
  • Click on the domain name for the hosting you wish to back up.
  • You will see a page with sections starting General, DNS, and Web Hosting.
  • Under “web hosting” click on “details”.
  • You will see the webspace, something like
  • Write down this address.
To enable the backup:
  • Click on “backups” on the left hand menu.
  • Click on the button “create backup” 
  • Tick the box for the webspace you wish to back up
  • Click on finish.

Editing DNS
  • Click “domain overview” on the left hand menu.
  • Click on “domain administration”.
  • You will see the list of domains and web spaces.
  • Click on the domain name for the DNS you wish to modify.
  • Click the “DNS” tab near the top of the page.
  • Click on “DNS records” under the tab.
  • Click on the “add new DNS record” to add a new record
  • To change an existing record click on its hyperlink and delete it then add it again with the new values.

Switching domains between subscriptions
Some Blacknight customers have two “subscriptions” one for their hosting account and one called “domain only” which would contain domains they have registered or transferred. If you create web spaces for the ones listed under “domain only” it can get a bit messy so you might want to move them to the hosting subscription. Here is how to do this:
  • Select the subscription containing the domain you wish to move:
  • Click on “All Domains” at the top of the page
  • Click on the domain name you wish to move
  • Click on the DNS tab
  • Change DNS hosting to External
  • Click refresh
  • Change DNS Hosting to Internal
  • Select the subscription you wish the domain to be moved to
  • Click “Finish”
If you do this quickly then there should be no downtime.

If people find this article useful I will write something similar for the domain management side.