Learn About Terminal & How To Use It Via The Shared Web Hosting Control Panel

Quick Intro

The Web Terminal lets you access the system's shell Terminal via the Web Control Panel.

You can use it with native UNIX-based commands.

Important To Know Before You Begin

Every single user is running in a Jailed environment, meaning that each account is isolated from another, as well as the main server's system root commands are disabled for using.

Accessing Terminal

From your Web Control Panel navigate to: Development Tools > Terminal > Start using it with UNIX-based commands.

Using Web Terminal

Make sure your Web Terminal status is Active. You can find the status on the very top of the Web Terminal page.

There are many UNIX commands, but we'll explain just the most important ones. You can learn more about the UNIX commands here.


  • ls --- lists your files
    ls -l --- lists your files in 'long format', which contains lots of useful information, e.g. the exact size of the file, who owns the file and who has the right to look at it, and when it was last modified.
    ls -a --- lists all files, including the ones whose filenames begin in a dot, which you do not always want to see.
    There are many more options, for example, to list files by size, by date, recursively etc.
  • more filename --- shows the first part of a file, just as much as will fit on one screen. Just hit the space bar to see more or q to quit. You can use /pattern to search for a pattern.
  • nano filename --- is an editor that lets you create and edit a file.
  • mv filename1 filename2 --- moves a file (i.e. gives it a different name, or moves it into a different directory (see below)
  • cp filename1 filename2 --- copies a file
  • rm filename --- removes a file. It is wise to use the option rm -i, which will ask you for confirmation before actually deleting anything.
  • diff filename1 filename2 --- compares files, and shows where they differ
  • wc filename --- tells you how many lines, words, and characters there are in a file
  • chmod options filename --- lets you change the read, write, and execute permissions on your files. The default is that only you can look at them and change them, but you may sometimes want to change these permissions. For example, chmod o+r filename will make the file readable for everyone, and chmod o-r filename will make it unreadable for others again. Note that for someone to be able to actually look at the file the directories it is in need to be at least executable. See help protection for more details.
  • File Compression
    • gzip filename --- compresses files, so that they take up much less space. Usually text files compress to about half their original size, but it depends very much on the size of the file and the nature of the contents. There are other tools for this purpose, too (e.g. compress), but gzip usually gives the highest compression rate. Gzip produces files with the ending '.gz' appended to the original filename.
    • gunzip filename --- uncompresses files compressed by gzip.


Directories, like folders on a Macintosh, are used to group files together in a hierarchical structure.

  • mkdir dirname --- make a new directory
  • cd dirname --- change directory. You basically 'go' to another directory, and you will see the files in that directory when you do 'ls'. You always start out in your 'home directory', and you can get back there by typing 'cd' without arguments. 'cd ..' will get you one level up from your current position. You don't have to walk along step by step - you can make big leaps or avoid walking around by specifying pathnames.
  • pwd --- tells you where you currently are.

Finding things

  • whereis filename(s) --- find files anywhere on the system. This can be extremely useful if you've forgotten in which directory you put a file, but do remember the name.
  • grep string filename(s) --- looks for the string in the files. This can be useful a lot of purposes, e.g. finding the right file among many, figuring out which is the right version of something, and even doing serious corpus work. grep comes in several varieties (grep, egrep, and fgrep) and has a lot of very flexible options. Check out the man pages if this sounds good to you.
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