How to use Softaculous to install scripts easily using cPanel

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Written by Dennis Nind

Last published at: February 8th, 2019

What is Softaculous?

Some web-enabled applications, like WordPress, need little introduction. Powerful and easy to use, many blogging and eCommerce applications have become immensely popular. Of course, there’s still that small matter of their installation. 

In WordPress’s own description of its “Famous 5-Minute Install,” users are instructed to unzip the WordPress package, create a database with a MySQL user with correct privileges, rename and edit a .php file, upload the WordPress files to the right web directory, create a blog directory, and (finally) run a WordPress installation script. And that (says WordPress) is the quick version! Isn’t there a less painful option to get applications like this installed? YES! That is what Softaculous sets out to do. 

Softaculous automates the installation of web applications to a website through the use of predefined scripts. Installations are launched from the website administration area. 

Softaculous runs within the cPanel control panel.  


To install an application using Softaculous:

  1. log into your cPanel
  2. Click the Softaculous link, which is located under the Software/Services section
  3. Click on the program you would like to install:
  4. Browsing programs
    Top Scripts
    If you want to browse through the available programs you can install using softaculous, click on any category in the left menu. For example, if you're interested in finding software you can use to run a blog, click the Blogs category. You will then see a listing of blogging applications show.Under Top Scripts, you will find a listing of the most popular programs being used on the web today. For example, WordPress, one of the most popular programs on the web, is listed at the top of the list.
  5. Click the Install button (located above the description of the software)

    Important! If you get an error stating that there are conflicting files (such as robots.txt, .htaccess, etc.) You can go through your File Manager and delete the files from your public_html. Then the Softaculous installer will go through with the install.

  6. Fill out all of the installation details and then click the Install button at the bottom of the page. If you want to email yourself a copy of these installation details for later reference, enter your email address next to Email installation details to (located towards the bottom of the page). While the installation details may vary from program to program, generally the same information is asked for. In our testing, we are using softaculous to install WordPress. Below is a summary of the settings being asked for.

    Software Setup

    Choose ProtocolThe most common option here will either be http:// or http://www.
    Choose DomainIf you have more than one domain name associated with your cPanel account, choose which domain name to install this program to.
    In DirectoryIf you want to install this program into its own folder, enter the folder name here. For example, if you wanted users to visit http://domain.com/blog (instead of simply http://domain.com) to see your WordPress site, you would enter blog for this setting.
    Database NameUnless you have a specific reason to change the database name, you can leave it as is.

    Database Settings

    Table PrefixUnless you have a specific reason to do so, you can leave the table prefix setting as is.

    Site Settings

    Site settings are generally settings such as your site's name and description. Most programs allow you to easily change these values after installing them.

    Admin Account

    When working with a program, you'll generally need to log into them as an Administrator before you can begin to manage your website. In this section, you'll typically create a username and password.

    Note! You will want to make your username and password secure. You do not want to use Admin for the username or password for the password.

    Choose Language

    If you don't plan to run this website in English, select the appropriate language from the drop down list.
  7. After clicking the Install button, you will see a progress bar dictating how much time is left for the installation. When your new software has been installed, you'll see a message similar to the following: Congratulations, the software was installed successfully. You will then generally see two links, one link to your new site and the other a link to your site's login page.

Installing to the 'Preview URL' with Softaculous:

You may want to develop your site on the testing domain (which is similar to 1.1.1.1/~accountname) - you are able to install applications such as WordPress directly to this URL which will allow you to develop your site without any DNS records. However, once you are ready to go live with your site, you would need to change your application (for example, WordPress) to use the correct domain name for the site to display correctly. In WordPress, this is easy - simply go to Settings -> General then change both URL's to the correct domain name.