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Published: December 7, 2020

If you require full administrative privileges to a Linux web server, you will need to get root access. What this means is that you will have full control to perform any task on a dedicated server, cloud server, or on your VPS hosting service. It includes access to the top level or “root” directory, represented as “/”.

For most purposes, for average website owners, root access is not necessary, as you can manage most of the functions you need to handle using cPanel. However, if you need to do more advanced server tuning, root access may be necessary.

Services that require root access include changing the root password, configuring cronjobs on cPanel, setting up account quotas, and the ability to tweak many individual settings on the server. It also allows users to be able to manage many of the security settings for the host.

To explain all of the actions that are available to those with root access on a server would be too much to cover here (there are entire manuals on Linux server administration, and it can take years to become fully proficient). Suffice it to say, unless you plan on doing detailed activities on a server, you probably do not need root access. The easiest approach is to ask your hosting provider if there is a way to perform a specific function that you need without it. Often there are tools in place to handle most functions that you would need.

With shared hosting, root access is not an option as this would give you access to any other website that happens to be sharing the server; this would be a security violation.

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