Hey folks, it’s been a while since I wrote up something so I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on over the past few months. Ever since I started my journey in technical support, I have been learning a lot! A few things I spent a lot of time on were cPanel, WHM, and server administration. I’ll be going through what it takes to get a CWSA-1 (or CWA), and maybe it will inspire you to get one yourself.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a l33t sysadmin by any means (I’m always learning), I can say that I learned a lot over the past few months and I would like to share my experience with the various cPanel certificates, more specifically, CWSA-1.

What cPanel certificates are available?

There are four primary certificates which range from entry-level cPanel administration to advanced command-line and WHM administration. I’ve got them all 😛 (weird flex, I know…)

  • CPP – This is an entry-level certificate which is great for understanding the basic concepts of cPanel and WHM. This certificate will get you up to speed on concepts of DNS, email and other server administration tasks.
  • CPSP – This one is for sales. I personally didn’t find this to be super-useful from a web hosting perspective but it definitely teaches you what the cPanel folks have to offer and is a stepping stone for the CWA certification.
  • CWA – I’d say this one is the primary certificate you should aim for if you want to gain knowledge and experience in cPanel and WHM. It gets deep into email, DNS, databases and web server related topics so be prepared to learn a lot!
  • CWSA-1 – This one is similar to the CWA however it aims to teach server administration from a command-line perspective. I would classify this one to be the more difficult one to get but with enough practice, it is doable and a solid certificate to get under the belt.

Why cPanel?

cPanel & WHM are used extensively in the web hosting industry and for good reason too! I’m not going to shill for cPanel here but I can say that it is very easy to use. The extensibility and integration it offers with systems like LiteSpeed web server, Acronis backup services and other utilities makes it a powerful tool for hosting and managing websites.

If you’re looking to learn a lot about DNS, email and explore databases at a greater detail, the folks at cPanel have done an excellent job at making the course interactive and easy to follow.

Furthermore, cPanel university is completely free! No exam fees, no course fees, you can learn anything and everything from university.cpanel.com!

What’s inside?

The CWA and CWSA-1 are certifications aimed at understanding the underlying behaviour of cPanel and WHM as well as the various programs that are interfaced from it. Basically, you are going to use Linux command-line utilities to perform analysis and administration on mail, DNS, database and web server sub-systems.

Mail Administration

If you have done the CWA, the CWSA-1 section will dive deep into administering services like Dovecot, Exim and SpamAssassin directly from the command-line. You will soon learn that mail-headers, mail-logs and exim-logs are very important in troubleshooting issues with cPanel accounts.

DNS Administration

cPanel University has done an excellent job at teaching you the basics as well as the administrative tasks one might do through WHM, cPanel or via the CLI. This includes managing DNS records, taking backups of the zone and much more.

MySQL Administration

In the CWSA-1 database section, you will get right into diagnosing and fixing common issues with MySQL databases as well as maintaining, backing up and interacting via the CLI.

Web Server Administration

In the web server administration side of things, you get right into managing and customizing PHP versions and configurations. Depending on the technologies you’re using, this can be about Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed. Since Apache (or LiteSpeed) is the primary focus here, you’ll get to learn about administering these services.


If you’re planning to get into the web hosting industry or looking to sharpen your skills, check out cPanel University and maybe you’ll earn a certificate or two from the courses they offer. I would highly recommend having an instance of cPanel and WHM on a server so you can play around with it and get familiar.

If you have any questions regarding cPanel certification or want to share your ideas on it, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading.