1. Knowledge Base
  2. >
  3. Results
  4. >
  5. Document Root Changes

Document Root Changes

Updating the document root folder for a domain name changes the actual location of a site's files. Your primary domain uses the public_html folder by default.

HostGator does not support changing the document root for your main (primary) domain, as this causes multiple severe issues. The document root can only be changed on addon domains and subdomains.

Change Document Root for an Addon or Subdomain

By default, addon domains and subdomains use folders beneath the public_html folder - thus, the root directory for an addon domain named somedomain.com would by default be public_html/somedomain.com.

Note: HostGator always recommends creating a full backup before making any major changes to your site.

To change the document root folder:

  1. Log in to cPanel.

  2. In the Domains section, click the Addon Domains or Subdomains icon, depending on which you'd like to modify.

    HostGator cPanel Domains Section

  3. Locate the addon domain (or subdomain) you wish to modify.

  4. Click the pencil icon next to the current document root for the domain you wish to modify.

    Example for Addon Domain: 

    Modify Document Root for  Addon Domain

    Example for Subdomain:

    Modify Document Root for Subdomain

  5. In the pop-up window, enter the new document root and click Change.

    Change Document root pop-up

Alternatives to Changing the Document Root for the Primary Domain

If you still want your primary domain to use a root folder other than public_html, you have two options:

  • Change the primary domain name on your account, then add the old primary domain as an addon domain. This way, you can pick the root folder you want for the primary domain/new addon domain. (The new primary domain will now point to public_html.)
  • Use mod rewrite to automatically redirect your website visitors to a new default directory. The new folder name will appear in the URL (i.e., http://domainname.com/subfolder/).
It is highly recommended that you do not change your new document root to point to your home directory.