cPanel includes a fully-featured file manager and this article outlines its basic functionality, including how to access hidden files and applying file and directory permissions.

File Manager

You can find the File Manager in your cPanel account at cPanel > Files > File Manager.

The File Manager is used for quick tasks like uploading single files or ZIP archives or applying file and directory permissions. For larger tasks, for example, uploading a full website or for regular website development, we'd suggest using an FTP (File Transfer ProtoFTP (File Transfer Protocol)col) client.

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Clicking the File Manager icon will open the main interface in a new tab.

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Along the top of the view, you have the toolbar. The main pane below is then split into two sections, the left is a directory tree, and the right is the contents of the currently selected directory. Your current directory will be displayed in bold in the left pane, so you will always know where you are in your folder structure.

The toolbar contains the following controls:
  • Add a File
  • Add a Folder
  • Copy (files and folders)
  • Move (file and folders)
  • Upload (files)
  • Download (files)
  • Delete (selected files and folders)
  • Restore (restore a file from .trash providing you did not select 'Skip the trash and permanently delete the files')
  • Rename (files and folders)
  • Edit (files)
  • HTML Editor (edit files)
  • Permissions (files and folders) - be careful using this as you may break your website if the permissions are set too low.
  • View (files)
  • Extract (An archive or ZIP file)
  • Compress (files and folders) - Allows you to download a folder once compressed.

You can change the folder by left-clicking on the folder in the left pane. Or by double-clicking the directory on the right pane.

Be careful - in the right pane, if you double-click on a file or folder name you'll be able to rename the file or directory.

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Double-click the icon, or space to the right of the file or folder name to change or open the file.

The toolbar above the right-hand pane also allows you to navigate as well as View and Empty the Trash.

Deleting files or folders and the Trash

When you select a file or folder and click Delete, by default anything you've selected will be moved to the Trash and will not be deleted until you Empty the Trash. If you need to Restore something you have just delete, click View Trash, select the files or folders you require and click Restore.

If you have checked the box to skip the trash during deletion, you won't be able to restore your files. Depending on how long the files have been in your account you may be able to restore from a backup. If you have only just uploaded or created them, you'll likely need to recreate or reupload them.

Viewing hidden files like .htaccess

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If you ever need to edit you `.htaccess` file you can do this within the File Manager. In order to see hidden files, those that begin with a full stop (also known as dotfiles), click on Settings (top right of the toolbar) and then tick the Show Hidden Files (dotfiles).

If you do not see the files when you open File Manager you can also check to ensure the correct default folder is chosen. Usually, this will be your home folder under which you'll see all of your files for your primary domain, addon domains and any subdomains.

Setting files and folder permissions

You can change the file and folder permissions by either selecting your file or folder and click on Permissions in the toolbar or by right-clicking it and selecting Change Permissions from the menu.

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Here you check/uncheck the checkboxes to select the permissions you desire, or simply enter the appropriate numbers in the boxes.

Please be careful when changing permissions and ensure you know what you are doing otherwise you may break your website and people may not be able to visit your site.

We suggest you read our separate article on Understanding file and directory permissions.