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A fresh new cPanel hosting account will include quite a few files and directories by default. Let's take a look at what shows up when you first log in using cPanel's Built-in File Manager. To follow this guide, please log in to your cPanel account with Hostwinds and navigate to File Manager in the Files section.
In File Manager, we can see the following default files on a brand new cPanel web hosting account:
The top shows / which is where all your files and folders for your account are located. The cPanel username is generated randomly for security reasons and shouldn't be shared (and cannot be changed).
www and access-logs – On the right side, you'll note www and access-logs, which are not directories but symlinks to public_html and logs, respectively.
If you click the 'options' in the top right side of your File Manager and tick the box to show hidden files, you'll see quite a bit more than the above.
(They're also known as 'dotfiles' because a file with a . at the beginning is not usually shown by default in Linux/UNIX file browsers)
For the most part, these files are hidden because they need them not to be edited by human hands.
There are a couple of .bash and one .zsh file in the root of the account directory: even though we don't allow SSH or other console access to Shared or Business servers, they are still Linux user accounts, and the OS adds these on user creation.
Inside public_html or a subdirectory may be .htaccess, which can be important for managing or debugging a website. This file will be generated and edited by cPanel changes such as adding a redirect, WordPress installations, or other software and may be edited if needed for various reasons.
Also, inside public_html or a subdirectory may be .well-known — a directory that stores temporary files for domain validation during AutoSSL certificate generation. This directory should not be touched.
Written by Hostwinds Team / December 7, 2018