You may have noticed that when visiting a CPanel Server ( running WHM ) if you don’t have a site configured for the hostname that you are accessing ( or possibly if you are accessing the server via the IP address ) you will end up seeing the “default website” page, and your browser’s URL will redirect to
defaultwebpage.cgi ( or
You may have searched your system and ended up finding something like this file:
However, that’s not just a plain HTML file – it’s a beefy binary cgi script. No editing is going to take place there! (nor should it)
You may have also found the file that actually loads / redirects to the cgi script, which lives here:
However, I would not recommend customizing that file because it will get overwritten during a cPanel upgrade.
So, what is the right way?
Well it just so happens that in WHM there is a
Web Template Editor that is meant for this very purpose:
The Web Template Editor allows you to create placeholder web pages. These pages will appear to visitors who navigate to a site on your server that:
- Has not yet been configured by the domain owner (see the Default Website Page tab)
- Has moved (see the Account Move tab)
- Is experiencing a connection or firewall problem (see the Connection Selection tab)
- Has been suspended (see the Account Suspended tab)
Info for the Default Website Template:
You are editing the Default Website Template.
This page appears to visitors who navigate to a site that has not been configured by the domain owner and sites that have been deleted.
If you have created
index.pl this page will be overridden by these scripts
This template file will be saved as
How to use a scriptable index ( like index.php or index.pl )
You can make changes to
index.html, but during apache rebuilds and/or cpanel upgrades changes may be lost as the file is reverted to the system version. According to WHM, another file in that location may take precedence – like
index.php – however to get
index.php to load you may need to move or delete
index.html in order to have a file like
index.pl – load as the default. But again, during upgrades or rebuilds the
index.html file will come back.
Also, please note when using php files that the permissions should probably be set to
644 and the owner and group of the file should be the apache user – most likely
The other way to keep a file like
index.php available even during upgrades and rebuilds is to set the
DirectoryIndex priority setting in WHM so that
.php files are prioritized: