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, 2011 at 2:53

2 Answers 2


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

  • You will be happy to know that Cpanel has now added a search facility in the File Manager.
    – Sri
    Dec 19, 2012 at 3:29
  • 3
    @Sri Unfortunately it doesn't search within files, it only looks for file names. Feb 9, 2015 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, 2016 at 19:09
  • I add pre to make it readable
    – tofutim
    Jul 27, 2018 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, 2018 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.

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