It is essential that you understand how to use your HostGator file manager. It’s something that can be easily overlooked. I overlooked it at first and then discovered its value when I had a serious issue.
My initial thoughts were that it wasn’t really necessary as I was able to complete all my tasks via my WordPress dashboard. It was only when I accessed one of my theme files to mess around with some code and went to save my alterations that I ended up in a sticky situation.
My site crashed and my WordPress dashboard froze. I opened up a new window to log back in to my WordPress dashboard and it came back with a message stating fatal errors. I felt sick, I thought I had lost everything.
How Did I Resolve the Situation?
After I had collected my thoughts, I searched the internet for an answer and within an hour my site was back up. I was able to access my site files via my HostGator control panel (CPanel) file manager and undo what I had done.
This was a key learning for me on how important it is to do things properly. I have since discovered this situation can arise even when you do everything by the book. I found this had happened to other people just by them uploading a new WordPress plugin or theme via their WordPress dashboard. All it can take for a site to crash is a single corrupt file or a bit of bad coding.
I recently had to use my file manager as I locked myself out of my site for 24 hours. I have a security plugin which blocks an IP address after too many failed login attempts. For some reason I was using the wrong password and didn’t realise this until it was too late. This wasn’t a problem as all I did was access my HostGator file manager and delete the security plugin that was blocking me.
Although the file manager can be very useful for undoing or deleting, it’s also very handy for uploading files if the need arises. I will demonstrate this next by showing you how I can use it to upload a WordPress theme.
The demonstration refers to zipped files, however you can use it for uploading various types of files, zipped and unzipped and the process is just the same.
Before starting, an important point you need to remember is that WordPress files reside within the public_html folder.
Uploading a WordPress Theme Using HostGator File Manager
First I log in to my HostGator CPanel, scroll down to Files and then select “File Manager”.
Next I select my test site from the drop down menu and choose the “Document Root for” option. I could select the “Web Root (public_html/www)” option and then navigate to the site I want to work on but I prefer to do it this way. I always leave “Show Hidden Files” checked. Now I click “Go”.
I am now able to access the WordPress folders and files of my test site. Before making any alterations I always check I have accessed the correct site by checking the address at the top of the screen or the folder further down the folder tree. I have pointed these out below. As you can see I have accessed “davestestwebsite.com” that is within the “public_html” folder. Now I’m going to select the “wp-content” folder from the right.
Note: Click on the folder not the text. If you click on the text it opens up the text box to rename it.
Next I select “themes”.
Now I’m in the themes folder I select “Upload”.
I am taken to the next screen. Here I select “Browse”.
I navigate to my themes folder on my PC and select the “genesis” folder which is then uploaded to the WordPress themes folder. I repeat this process to upload the eleven40 theme.
Please note that not all WordPress themes come in two parts. I use premium WordPress themes from StudioPress for my sites and this is how they function.
I go back to the file manager theme folder, highlight the genesis zip file and then click on “Extract”.
In the following popup click “Extract Files”. Repeat the process to extract the eleven40 theme.
I go back to the file manager themes folder and delete both the zip files.
That’s it done. Now all I have to do is log in to my WordPress dashboard and activate the theme.
One point I must mention is that HostGator file manager will only allow file sizes of 500 MB or less to be uploaded. As HostGator allows FTP access you can upload files larger than 500 MB by setting up an FTP connection.
After my mishap I hope you understand how important it is to familiarise yourself with the file manager before you ever need it. If you are a bit worried about delving in to it on your live site, do what I did after I crashed my site and buy a domain for test purposes. I now check everything on my test site before applying it to my live sites. After what happened to me it I consider it money well spent.
Photo © Depositphotos.com/David Castillo Dominici