The File Manager is a cpanel tool not all that different from the desktop file management system on your computer.

Your web site is organized in a series of directories that correspond to each site you create; exploring the structure with the File Manager is one way to get a better understanding the structure of your domain.

But also, the File Manager allows you to delete files, add, and even modify on your site. For this activity, we start with something relatively simple; replacing a background image from one of the Site Publisher created templates (see the Building a Front Entrance for Your Domain with Site Publisher kit).

A common reaction to these sites created with the Site Publisher is “Can I change the background image?” — the answer is yes, if you can figure out where the background images are stored.

For this example, the Under Construction template was used as an example for the Building a Front Entrance for Your Domain with Site Publisher kit for a site that existed as gadgets.stateu.org.

It’s an image of a book; how can we do something that is more gadget like? I might have a great image of some toy cars and wires that is much better suited for my landing page.

Toy cars on a table top, a crane is lifting a USB cable into the back of another truck
Working on USB 4.0 flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

Make sure you have saved on your device a copy of the image that you want to use to replace the open book of the Under Construction template. You can use this same technique on other Site Publisher templates that have a background image.

Return to the Site Publisher tool in cpanel. If you do not remember the steps, for sites on StateU, get to your tools by the Dashboard link at stateu.org. Look for Site Publisher under the Domains group. When opened, it will remember all sites it was used for; look for the one most likely associated with your Main Domain. The listing indicates the name of the template used, and the Website Directory for the files; this is the place in your account where your site files are hosted.

For this example, the files are stored in a directory  /home/mywsmiyu/public_html All websites at StateU are under home and in this case, the username for this account is mywsmiyu. The website for most domains will be found in the public_html directory.

You can find this from the cpanel File Manager tool but SitePublisher provides a link on that directory name that opens the File Manager to this directory.

The background image for this template is stored in a subdirectory. Double-click on the img folder to see one named background.jpeg.  To make this work, you need to edit the name of the image on your device to match this name. Now use the Upload button at the top of the File Manager to replace the image of the book with your preferred image. If it goes well, you might see something like this:

That is at least a little bit more customized than the default page Site Publisher creates.

If you want even more to explore in the File Manager, find the index.html file in the main public_html directory. This is the file that has all the site content. You can change anything there if you are brave enough to wade through HTML code. Select the file and click Edit but you can also use a visual editor by using the Edit HTML menu item. Note that in general, editing a document on a public web site is not recommended; we will show you later how to create a Sandbox part of your domain to experiment.

This is just a taste of what you can do in the File Manager. You can move directories, create new blank ones, and (with great care) delete files. Mostly, we hope you develop a sense of where all the files exist that are part of your domain and how they are organized.

Yes, a domain is actually just a set of files and folders (and maybe a database or more).

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This work by Alan Levine as part of the EduHack project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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