How to Manage Files with Your Website’s Control Panel - dummies

How to Manage Files with Your Website’s Control Panel

By Peter Pollock

Your control panel gives you a handy way to manage your files without the need of a web hosted FTP client. This is something common to almost all control panels but is sometimes labeled slightly differently. For example, most hosts call it the File Manager, but DreamHost calls it webFTP.

Using the File Manager is pretty much the same with all hosts, although the exact screen sequence to connect varies slightly from host to host. Here is how it is done with cPanel:

  1. Log in to your control panel.

  2. Click the File Manager icon in the Files section.

  3. In the pop-up box that asks you which directory you want to start at, select web Root to go to the document root of your primary domain.


  4. If you want to show hidden files, which are also called dot files, click the option to do so.

    The hidden files are files whose names begin with a period, such as .htaccess.

    Hidden files are hidden for a reason: so you don’t accidentally delete them as they are generally important.

  5. If instead you want to see the hidden files so that you can move, edit, or delete them, select the Show Hidden Files check box to force those files to appear on the next screen.

    Be careful with dot files. When you can see them, you can delete or change them just as you can any other file, and you will not be prompted that it is a normally hidden file. If you are deleting a number of files and don’t want to delete your dot files, it’s best to keep them hidden.

  6. Click Go to open a new window with the files laid out similarly to how they are laid out in your file manager on your computer.


You can perform functions on files such as moving, editing, or deleting them by selecting the file you want to change and clicking the appropriate icon at the top of the window. Alternatively, you can right-click the file to bring up a contextual menu.

The File Manager in cPanel is fairly full-featured and can be used in place of an FTP client for simple tasks, but using an FTP client is much easier when you’re handling multiple files.