How to Fix Bluehost’s cPanel File Manager not Showing Hidden Files

A few days ago, a customer contacted me about performing some WordPress work in regards to redirecting two additional WordPress websites to their primary website.

To perform the work and lessen the manual labor of redirecting all links by hand, I wrote a few lines of code in a .htaccess file.

I setup a quick test environment to ensure the .htaccess file was executing as it should. And it worked like a charm, redirecting all previous blog posts to their respective new url.

What should have been a routine change, rather an addition of code to the .htaccess file, turned out to be a wild goose chase to locate the .htaccess file.

Upon logging into the customer’s Bluehost account, I traversed to the Files section of cPanel options.


Next, I selected File Manager settings icon (blue icon), and then selected the Document Root domain and checked the box next to “Show hidden files” under “Preferences”.


As shown below, I encountered a directory with no .htaccess file.


I thought I logged into the wrong customer’s account or maybe this customer’s website had been hacked. But no, the website resolved and functioned as designed without error.

What’s more intriguing is I ftp’ed into the customer account and root directory, using Filezilla, and there appears a number of .htaccess files. How could this be?

I could have easily used Filezilla to download the .htaccess file to my local desktop. Then, I could have made the necessary changes and once more used Filezilla to uploaded and overwrite the .htaccess file.

That’s one solution to obtain access to hidden files, but for my own sanity, I needed to understand why those same hidden files were not showing up via the File Manager web browser experience.

Seeing I manage many customer websites via their Bluehost account, I logged into a long-time customer’s Bluehost account using the same web browser.

I repeated the the steps to open the File Manager with hidden files show, and to my surprise, this customer account displayed hidden files.

Being a problem-solver and tech-savvy person I am, I copied the web browser’s page url or link from this customer’s account to compare to the other customer’s account not showing hidden files via web browser when selected to show via their File Manager.

When comparing both web browser urls, it was then I noticed the following query parameters missing from the customer’s account not showing hidden files via web browser when selected to show via their File Manager.

  • showhidden
  • saveoption

Could this simple mishap really be the fix to show hidden files in the Bluehost File Manager? Unfortunately, yet fortunately, adding both query parameters to the File Manager url and setting their values to 1 did the trick.

  • http://bluehost-path-to-file-manager?query=1&showhidden=1&saveoption=1

No matter the web browser and operating system of your chosen machine, the aforementioned fix will have you viewing .htaccess files or other hidden files via the File Manager web browser experience in no time (as shown below).


That’s all for now. If you have questions or comments about the Bluehost’s cPanel File Manager not showing hidden files, or general Bluehost services questions/comments, please drop me a comment or question below, and I’ll do my best to find the appropriate answer.

Also, for those of us who prefer video over reading, I’ve included a quick video tutorial to share how to make “Show Hidden Files” reappear in Bluehost’s File Manager web experience.


Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive tutorial alerts.

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.