file manager in WordPress

Using a file manager in WordPress can help you streamline some common file-based operations directly from your admin dashboard. For example, it can give you a control panel or FTP access without requiring you to log into any external services. The big advantage with this is that you’ll be able to edit, delete, or upload files all within the WordPress dashboard.

In this article, we will show you our favorite WordPress file manager plugin and guide you through its installation and setup. ⚙️ We’ll also include a few tips and tricks to get the most out of its features.

Why do you need a file manager in WordPress?

A file management plugin can help you unlock several useful functions within your WordPress site. For example, it can make it easy to edit themes, plugins, and configurations without having to leave the dashboard. In particular, you can use this type of tool to modify files and access your site’s core files without having to rely on your hosting provider’s portal. What’s more, you can determine the level of access you give to different users and only allow certain ones to manage files through the plugin.

In a way, you can think of a file manager in WordPress as a web-based FTP client. This can be particularly helpful if, for example, you need to get into a multi-author WordPress website, but you don’t have the login credentials to access the site’s web hosting account. It also makes the process of sharing access with other team members (such as developers or content creators) much easier.

How to use a file manager in WordPress

In this guide, we’re going to use the File Manager plugin. This tool supports the editing of files (including copy-pasting, deleting, uploading, downloading, and zipping), all directly from the WordPress backend. The plugin also includes several configuration options. Some of them are paid, but many of the tool’s features are accessible for free. Let’s start from the beginning.

Installing a file manager in WordPress 👨‍💻

The first thing you should do is download and install the plugin. You can do this directly from the plugin’s page or from within the WordPress admin dashboard by going to Plugins > Add New. Search for File Manager, locate the correct plugin (you can see what it looks like in the image below), and click on Install Now. Don’t forget to also Activate the plugin, or you won’t be able to use it.

Finding and installing the File Manager plugin within WordPress.

To access the plugin after installing and activating it, click on WP File Manager on the left sidebar. You will see the following interface:

The File Manager plugin's dashboard in WordPress.

From here, you will be able to explore and access your files and folders. Let’s go through the possible actions you can take within this dashboard, including what you need to do to upload, manage, and delete files.

Uploading files within WordPress 📤

Uploading files is easy when you have a file manager in WordPress. All you need to do is go to the folder where you want your files to be stored (we recommend using the wp-content > uploads folder). Here, you’ll have two options: you can do a drag-and-drop file upload, or you can click on the Upload files icon and select your file from the explorer.

Uploading files to your WordPress website using the File Manager plugin.

Creating new files and folders 📁

Creating new files within the file manager in WordPress is also very straightforward. Just click on the New File icon and then select the type of file you want. You can choose from three different types of files: TXT (plain text), CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), and HTML (HTML document).

Creating a new file within WP File Manager in WordPress.

If you need to create a new folder, the process is similar (and even easier). Simply click on the New Folder icon and then select New Folder from the dropdown.

Creating a new folder within WP File Manager in WordPress.

Editing files using the WordPress file management plugin 🔌

Lastly, you can edit files by clicking on the Edit File button. This will open a code editor directly in your WordPress dashboard. Just remember to save your changes after you’re done.

Editing a file within the WP File Manager plugin's interface.

Additional configurations for the plugin

You can set up some of the File Manager plugin’s properties by going to WP File Manager > Preferences. From here, you will be able to:

  • Define a public root path.
  • Enable a trash folder to keep a backup of the files you edit or delete.
  • Allow the uploaded files to be included in the media library.
  • Set a maximum allowed size for restoring a database backup.

The File Manager plugin also has several settings you can tweak to achieve various goals, although you will need the paid version to do this. Still, you can see some of its capabilities in the freemium version and decide whether you need this additional level of control, which includes:

  • The ability to restrict file manager access to certain roles only (for example, Editors and Authors).
  • The option to determine a maximum file upload size.
  • A feature to receive notifications every time someone uploads, downloads, or edits a file.
  • Support for multiple languages within the plugin.

Final thoughts on using a file manager in WordPress 🏁

Using an advanced file manager is one of the best ways to keep track of all your files and folders without having to leave WordPress.

The File Manager plugin, in particular, can help you achieve this goal for free. It offers a variety of features, such as uploading, downloading, and editing files – all from a simple interface that connects directly to your server and supports various configuration options.

Do you still have any questions about how to add and manage files using a file manager in WordPress? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help.

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