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Upload to Root Directory: Putting Files In HostGator the Easy Way

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Last Updated on November 3, 2021 by Kelly Thoreson

Do you need to upload a file to your root directory on HostGator?

I know, that’s a mouthful … and what the hell is a root directory?

I’m here to help you get it done in 8 easy steps.

Click to jump straight to the how-to steps or…

Watch the Video!

No time to read? No problem! Watch the video tutorial on YouTube!

What is a Root Directory?

If you’re just starting your blog, you probably have never worked with a root directory before, and that’s okay.

A root directory, also called a root folder, is just a fancy-schmancy term for the file that holds all the other files.

Think of it like one of those big, expanding pocket file folders. You can stick all sorts of stuff in it!

photo of a brown expanding pocket file folder
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Just like this accordion file, the root directory is the file that holds all the other files!

Why Would I Need to Upload to My Root Directory?

Often, sites like Pinterest will have you upload a file to your root directory to prove that you are, indeed, affiliated with your website and have the right to make changes to it.

Being able to upload a file to your root directory is useful when you’re claiming your website on social media platforms.

screen shot from pinterest with text that says pick claim option and the upload html file to your sites root directory option is selected
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You can claim your website on social media platforms like Pinterest by uploading a specific file to your site’s root directory

If Pinterest did not make you prove that you have the right to claim your website – anyone could do it and pretend to be a representative of your blog.

That would be no muy bueno.

Now, let’s get to uploading a file to your root directory on HostGator!

How to Upload Files to Your Root Directory

1a. Login to cPanel

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The first step is logging into HostGator’s cPanel

1b. How to Access the HostGator cPanel

If you don’t already have your cPanel bookmarked, go to the, “Your Account Info” email you received from HostGator when you signed up for hosting and click on the Your Control Panel link.

screen shot of email from hostgator detailing your cpanel url
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You can also access your cPanel by going through HostGator’s billing portal.

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Another way to access your cPanel is to go through HostGator’s billing portal

Now – bookmark your cPanel link! 🙂

2. Under Files, click on File Manager

Pro blogger hack: cPanel is visually overwhelming and it can be hard to locate the one tiny, “File Manager” icon you’re looking for.

Skip the hunt by hitting crtl+F and searching for, “file manager”!

screen shot of hotgator cpanel file manager
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3. Click on the Top Folder

On the left-hand side of the screen, click on the folder that is at the very top.

This is your root directory/folder.

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4. Click on Upload

On the upper left-hand corner, click Upload.

screen shot of hostgator cpanel file manager with the Upload icon circled
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5. Click on Select File

screen shot of hostgator cpanel file manager with the select file circled
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Click Select File

6. Select Your File

We’re going to upload the file that Pinterest uses to let you claim your website.

screen shot of downloads folder on a pc with a circle around a file named pinterest-ff565
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7. Click Go Back

When your file is done downloading, click Go Back.

screen shot of the hostgator file manager upload page that shows file pinterest-ff565 100 percent downloaded with a circle around the go back icon
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8. Confirm and done!

After clicking the Go Back icon, you’ll be back at the File Manager.

If the file you uploaded is listed, you’re done!

screen shot of hostgator filemanager with the file pinterest-ff565 circled
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A root directory aka root folder is the main folder that holds your website’s files.

For good reason, only the admins on your website (usually only yourself in the beginning) should have access to it.

You’re a badass! That was a little more technical and YOU DID IT!

Now that you’ve got that straightened out … you’re ready to write posts. Start here 👉 Bang’n Blog Post Checklist: 25 Steps to Viral Success!

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