One of the great tools that comes built into the control panel is the Web Shell file manager. The tool itself is relatively easy to use, but most people don't know that it is available to them, or why they'd want to use it instead of using FTP. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Set file permissions
- Edit files directly on the server
- Rename a file on the server
- Copy and Move files between directories on the server
- Archive (compress) files on the server and download them.
- Protect files on the server
Accessing Web Shell from the control panel
To access the Web Shell program, log into your control panel and click the "File Manager" icon in the "Tools" set of icons. This will launch a separate web browser window showing the list of directories in your account in a familiar file explorer user interface.
Set file permissions
To set file permissions, navigate to the file and select it. The right panel will fill with statistics about the file, including the current file permissions. By checking and un checking the check boxes, you can change the file permissions. Note: this will not give you read/write access if you have not sent an email to tech support asking for read/write access for the files in your account at the user account level.
Editing files on the server
Those of us are programmed in ASP.NET, frequently need to make changes to web.config on the server that we don't want to make to the web.config file on our development computer.
To edit a file, navigate to the file using the explorer interface and click on the file in the left panel. The right panel will fill with the statistics. There should be a "View" button on the bottom of the panel and an "Edit" button if Web Shell knows enough about the file to know how to edit it. You can add and remove associated editor extensions by clicking the "Settings" button in the lower left corner.
If you don't have an "Edit" button available, you can click the "View" button which will bring up another window where you can tell it how you want to view the file. If you pick "View as text," you will be shown the file as text and buttons will appear giving you the ability to edit the file .
Rename a file
You can also rename a file by selecting the file and selecting "Rename" from the button in the right panel.
Copy and Move files
If you routinely create a test site, which I highly recommend, as well as your main production site, you will frequently need to move files from the test directory to the production directory. Without Web Shell, you would have to ftp the files down and then ftp them back up. By using web shell, you can copy them at the server level. To do this, select the files and directories you want to move in the left panel and then click the "Copy" or "Move" button. A panel will display on the right asking where you want to copy or move the files to.
Compress and Download files
Another big advantage of the file manager is that it can compress files as gz, gz2, or zip files so that you can download them. My experience has indicated that this only works with a small set of files, but it is an easy way to download a set of files quickly.
Protect files on the server
You can protect files and directories on the server using .htaccess type directives similar to how the apache guys protect their files. Further, you don't need to know anything about the .htaccess syntax to make this happen. Click the "Protect" button at the bottom of the left panel and use the rather simple graphical user interface to password protect your directories at the http level.