Accessing the File Manager in your hosting account

Your blog/website is comprised of lots of files that are stored in your web hosting account. The File Manager in your hosting account lets you access these files. The File Manager can be useful in a few different situations:

  1. Safeguarding your code edits. Wordpress themes use a type of code called PHP, which is highly sensitive. A small mistake in the code can cause the "white screen of death" on your website. If you have your File Manager open while you are making edits to a .php file, you can easily upload the original version of the file that just broke your site. Instead of panicking that your site is blank, you can bring it back online in seconds!
  2. Fixing stuff. If you installed a faulty plugin and it broke your site and locked you out of your dashboard, you can remove the offending plugin from your File Manager.
  3. Verifying your website. Various services online, such as Mailchimp or Google Analytics, may have you verify your domain by uploading a file in your File Manager.

How to access the File Manager

Some hosting plans, like Dreamhost and GoDaddy Managed Wordpress, do not let you access the File Manager or any of your backend files. The vast majority of web hosts do allow File Manager access.

We'll cover the major hosts below. If your host is not listed here, google the name of your web host + "file manager" for instructions on where to find the File Manager in your hosting account. Scroll to the bottom of this page for instructions on finding your theme files inside the File Manager.

Bluehost  |  HostGator  |  HostMonster

All three of these hosts have the same cPanel, so instructions are the same.

  1. Log into your web hosting account.
  2. Navigate to the cPanel, if you weren't already taken there at login.
  3. Under Files, select File Manager.

GoDaddy

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.
  2. Click Web Hosting.
  3. Next to the account you want to use, click Manage.
  4. Under Files & FTP menu, select File Manager.

Further instructions from GoDaddy here.

SiteGround

Instructions here.

Dreamhost

You'll need to use  FTP instead, because Dreamhost does not offer a traditional File Manager.

Finding your theme in the File Manager

Where your theme is located in the File Manager will vary slightly between websites. Generally, you'll follow this path:

public_html > {your-website-root} > wp-content > themes > theme-name

Not every site will have a "website root." On some sites, the wp-content file may be directly inside the public_html. It's common to have website root(s) if you have multiple domains or subdomains in your account.

If you have trouble finding your theme in the File Manager, contact your host and they'll be able to assist you.