Great question! A control panel or “cp” for short is an administration panel that website owners can use to maintain their website.
An example of one would be cPanel. They are widely used and have been used for years though recently their prices were raised so a lot of providers, like myself, are moving away from cPanel and moving to places like CyberPanel and FastPanel. I use FastPanel myself but I have used CyberPanel in the past. I recommend both of these software(s).
The reason why I say that website owners can use control panels is that they aren’t necessary meaning if you know how to run Linux commands and how to set websites up via Command Line then you do not need a control panel. I’m not that handy and most people aren’t. If you are, awesome! I’m jealous!
The above screenshot shows how the FastPanel control panel looks. You can get to the nitty gritty of your website and see how much RAM you have available, your CPU load, what websites you have plus a screenshot of every website. If you press the 3 bars in the top left you can get to the extra settings to create FTP accounts, MySQL databases and get into your websites settings to force https create SSL certificates and more.
So that is a control panel and what it is used for. If you decide to use FastPanel they have a fantastic wiki which you can use to help you learn how to use the software. If you have questions on it you can post them below!