How can I search for a specific string (function name or a variable name) in my files which are in various directories under cPanel file manager?

I have been using a library directory and functions on that directory are used in various apps and pages. Now, I am in a situation to change something in the library file, for which I need to know the impact on files which use this library file functions.

How to search / find / grep through the files hosted?

  • 1
    I don't think you can through a cpanel (maybe a cron job set to run only once), but if you ssh to a server you can do it. – dkuntz2 Apr 18 '11 at 2:53

I can understand the frustration when you don't have access to SSH. Below is a simple PHP script that you save in a file in the root folder from where you want to start your search. For example, I wanted to find all files that have the HEX color code string ecebeb under the ../public_html (or the www) folder. Retracing the steps here.

  1. Login to yourdomain/cpanel
  2. Go to File Manager - elect to go to www/public_html
  3. Create new file with .php extension - I created ecebeb.php - then edit it.
  4. Copy below 6 lines script, paste it in the ecebeb.php edit window and save the file.

    $command = "grep -ri 'ecebeb' ./*";
    $output = shell_exec($command);
    echo "$output";
    echo "Grep job over.";

  5. Now, open a new browser tab/window and browse to the URL like yourdomain/ecebeb.php

|improve this answer|||||
  • You will be happy to know that Cpanel has now added a search facility in the File Manager. – Sri Dec 19 '12 at 3:29
  • 3
    @Sri Unfortunately it doesn't search within files, it only looks for file names. – CaptSaltyJack Feb 9 '15 at 20:59
  • I've used this code several times. Thank you @Sri. However, I'm trying to use it on a significantly larger website now, and I've been unsuccessful. In fact, the page just appears to be loading for a long period of time. Then, it comes back and says page could not be found. Does this code not work on large websites? – CQuinn Jan 20 '16 at 19:09
  • I add pre to make it readable – tofutim Jul 27 '18 at 7:43
  • This is not works for me. I prefer to download all files and then search in them with note pad ++ and it works. – Mahdi Nov 28 '18 at 8:51

AFAIK, it’s impossible. You must write a PHP/Perl/Python/whatever script and run it on your server to get the list of files and grep through it.

|improve this answer|||||

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.