Step-by-Step Guide to cPanel File Manager

Written by MacHighway Team on May 21, 2019

cpanel file manager

Building, designing, and organizing for web hosting can be a tedious and complicated process if you don’t have the right tools.

Lucky for you, the industry standard, cPanel, is easy and efficient!

It has a host of tools, like the cPanel File Manager, to make web hosting a breeze!

Eager to learn more about how to use this system? Follow along!

What is cPanel

cPanel is a system of Linux based control panels that take all the details and aspects of web hosting and building and houses it in a simple setting.

The layout and design for cPanel make for a user-oriented experience. This allows even the most simple of web hosting novices to catch on and work with the best of them.

There are many pros and cons to the usage of cPanel over other, similar systems.

1. Pros

cPanel has an easy to master learning curve. As well, getting the grip of the basics lets you advance at a fast pace right up to master levels. cPanel keeps the easy-to-grip attitude from beginning to end.

cPanel is a cheap and well-used system across the web hosting industry. There are plenty of tutorials (like this one!) that help you build up your skill.

The program has its own installers, allowing you to get started right away.

2. Cons

The ease of cPanel can be a bit of its downside as well.

It is easy to change settings by accident or to mishandle a file or folder.

You can get lost in the number of possible functions. Each of these functions may be simple, but with the number in the double digits, it can be easy to lose track.

cPanel does not offer free hosting. Some hosts you may interact with may even have outdated versions that can affect your ability to edit and run programs.

What is cPanel Used For

cPanel is a web hosting program, and as such allows you to manage all aspects of web development and design.

The program has a number of modules. We will go over the File Manager module in this guide today.

The other modules cover a large variety of utilities and ideas used in the web hosting process.

These other modules and setups include data backups, shortcuts, databases, a large host of web applications, domains and hosting clients, data metrics, security systems, development software, email, and other advanced services.

A Macbook Touch

Despite being a Linux setup and program, it is useable on a Macbook of any design. The variety of different setups that cPanel can slip into, combined with the well laid out variety of its tools, mark cPanel as the industry standard.

The cPanel File Manager

Within the cPanel system is a powerful tool called the File manager.

The basics of this tool allow you to manage, edit, and organize the variety of files you will use in your web hosting process. This allows your sites to display all that they need, with a clean and professional air.

Interested in learning more about this powerful tool in cPanel? It is an easy thing to manage, but first, you must grasp the basics. Let’s walk through how to go from File Manager novice to File Manager master!

The Startup and Setup Steps

Now that you know a bit about why you have cPanel and what you would use it for, let us explore how you get it moving.

1. Log in and Find the File Manager

The first step is to log in to cPanel proper. As you start up the program, cPanel will require your login information. This should come with the initial setup of the program.

If you are having trouble finding cPanel in the first place, you can use your Mac’s search function to track it down.

Once you have the system open and running, you need to locate the File Manager, which should be in the top left. The rest of cPanel’s functions will be in the same section, but for this guide, we will focus on everything in the File Manager.

2. Navigating the File Manager

Once inside the File Manager, you will have two major pieces to navigate around.

On the left will be all the folders involved. These folders may have some sub-folders. The folders which have sub-folders have a plus next to them to mark them. When you click on the plus, you can access the sub-folder.

If you cannot find a folder you need, there is a search bar right above the folder section on the left.

On the right will be the contents of each of the folders you have selected. When you select a different folder, the section on the right will change. You can select and alter each file on the right with the functions in the rest of the program.

Above the section on the right are other navigational tools. This includes the Home button, which sends you back to the Home folder, as well as a Back and Forward button to transition through the files and folders you have already explored.

This section also includes an Up One Level button to go up to the next folder in the hierarchy. The last few buttons include a Reload button to reset what you are viewing, a Select and Unselect All for mass management, and Trash buttons.

At the absolute top of the program is a search button for specific files or file directories.

The Functions and Details

Above all of the navigation tools is a line of buttons that form all the functions that File Manager has. All of these create an action in the program when clicked, and all serve a different but very important function in the program.

1. File

The first selection allows you to create a new file.

When you click on the button, a new window will pop up. This window will allow you to name the new file, as well as create the path to where the file will live.

Once finished with that, click the Create New File button in the window and you will create the file where you designated it.

2. Folder

This button works in the same manner as File, but for folders.

3. Copy

The Copy button will create a clone of a selected file or folder.

This will require you to select the file or folder you wish to copy. Find the target file or folder and make sure you have it highlighted after you click on it.

Once you have hit Copy, you will select a new destination for what you wanted to copy.

4. Move

Move works in the same way as the Copy button, only there is no duplication. The selected file or folder will move to a designated spot and its original location is now vacant.

5. Upload

Upload is a key function of the File Manager. It will allow you to add to the available files for you to edit and manage.

Select the folder you wish the uploaded files to go in to. After that, select upload and find the files you wish to upload on your computer. If they are not on your computer, you will need to move them there.

Once you have the file selected, the upload will be automatic and the file enters the proper folder. Click the Back button on the navigation bar to return to the folder you selected. The file will be there.

6. Download

This allows you to reverse the Upload process from earlier.

Select the file you wish to download onto your computer. Select Download, and select the destination on your computer if it is not an automatic selection in your computer settings. This will copy the file, so it will remain in cPanel.

7. Delete

If you wish to remove a file, the Delete button will do it for you.

Select the file you wish to delete and it will go to the Trash folder. You will have a prompt that asks if you wish to skip the Trash folder and delete the file permanently.

The prompt after selecting the Delete button allows you to avoid deleting a file on accident. Be mindful of this button, as if a file skips the Trash folder, it will be very difficult to recover.

8. Restore

If you need to pull a file out of the Trash folder, the Restore button will help you do that.

First, you must have the Trash folder selected. Select the file that you want to Restore and hit the Restore button.

The restored file will return to the folder it was in last before deletion.

9. Edit/Code Editor/HTML Editor

These are three buttons that are key to the editing process. Each one deals with a different level of editing on the selected file and should be self-evident.

The editing process is an entire feature selection and requires the knowledge and understanding of code, HTML, and file scripts to use in a proper manner.

10. Permissions

This button will allow you to edit the Permissions of a particular file. This is the ability to edit, control, or even view the file in question.

It is a highly recommended that you don’t alter this unless you have a very specific need for altering the permissions of any given file.

Even if you have a specific need to do this, our recommendation is that you have a keen understanding of how permissions work, what they mean, and how to reverse them if things go wrong.

11. View

The View button opens the file for you to view. You cannot do anything to the file from here.

You can also use the View button to look at the file’s code.

12. Extract/Compress

Extract and Compress are two functions that work in tandem.

You can compress a file to shrink down the amount of data space the file takes up. Compression makes the file inaccessible until you uncompress it. To do this, the Extract button will reverse the process.

The selected file you wish to compress or extract will do either of the selected tasks in the folder it resides in. Neither option will move the files.

Compression is good when you need to transport a very large file through an upload or download process. The file will travel much faster while compressed.

13. Settings

Beyond the Functions bar is the last few options.

In the top right corner of the program, next to the file search function, is the Settings. This button will allow you to alter the details of how the program acts.

Within the settings section, you will have the option to choose which directory you start into when you open the cPanel File Manager.

Below that selection are two other options. These options, Show Hidden Files and Disable Character Encoding Verification Dialogs, are detailed below.

14. Show Hidden Files

This option in the settings section will allow you to view files that remain removed from sight as a default setting.

This is very important if you wish to edit all files, as you cannot edit a file if it is not visible. The .htaccess file is the common file that defaults to hidden.

When a file becomes visible, it will be in the public_html folder.

15. Disable Character Encoding Verification Dialogs

When you use one of the three Edit buttons on the Function bar to edit a file, a notice will pop up to confirm that you have edited the file and you are happy with the changes.

If you wish to disable that so that you don’t have to see it every time, this option will do that. If you plan to edit a file or many files multiple times, it may be good to use this option to avoid any annoying reminders.

Learning About the Other Modules

The File Manager is just one of the tools the cPanel has to offer. It is also far from the most complex of design.

Mastering the File Manager is a great start towards further cPanel mastery, but it is only the beginning.

cPanel Mastery

With this guide, you now have mastery over the cPanel File Manager. With this, you can edit, alter, and organize all the files you may use during your web hosting adventures.

If you have any trouble with this or any other problems on your Mac, contact our Support Center today!