If you are using the very popular CPanel hosting control panel for your hosting, you might or may not know about the built in file manager. It is like a built-in FTP client and can be used to upload your website files to the hosting server.
What is FTP? I hear you ask. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and you use it to copy files from the hard disk of your PC to your hosting server so that you can publish your website on the Internet.
Sometimes you might not need to use FTP since you might be using an online web tool or content management system of some sort, such as Joomla or WordPress. These tools often offer built-in capabilities to upload files such as images and document to your website, but at some other time you may be required to upload files to your hosting server without going through one of these interfaces.
It is at this point that you discover that you need something called an FTP client. An FTP client is therefore a piece of software that you install on your PC that will allow you to connect to your hosting server and to copy files. But you might not need to install an FTP client, your CPanel control panel of your hosting server already has the functionality built in to copy files to and from your hosting server.
If you log into your CPanel control panel with the username and password provided by your hosting company, you will see a link for 'File Manager'. Open the File Manager functionality in your control panel and let's see what you can do with it.
The first question that you will have to answer is if you want to make 'public_HTML' the folder that should display by default, and if you want to be able to see hidden files – answer yes to both these questions.
It offers a familiar type of interface where you can browse through the files on your server, with a tree type layout with folders on the left and files on the right hand side.
One of the cool things that you can do with the File manager is to quickly upload and download a lot of files at the same time. You do this by using ZIPped files.
To upload a number of files to the server at the same time, zip your files on your PC into a single zip, then choose the 'Upload files' option in your CPanel File manager. Upload the ZIP file into the location where you want the files to appear. After the file has been uploaded, choose the 'Extract' option. The ZIPped files will immediately be extracted from the ZIP archive and will appear in the folder where the ZIP file is located. It is much faster to upload one zip file than it is to upload multiple individual files and the unzipping process on the server is very fast!
In the same way you can select a number of files in your file manager and select 'Compress'. Choose the ZIP format as the option to compress the files. One zip file will be created that you can then download to your hard disk by selecting the 'Download' link.
These file management options make it really easy to quickly download and upload files if you do not have immediate access to an FTP client such as when you are traveling, or if you want to save time by zipping and unzipping files before uploading or downloading.