Public_Html Has Vanised

Some background: I been asked to help a guy who is running a Boonex Dolphin site on DigitalOcean with a Virtualmin panel. I’m not happy with the way the panel has been set up, but he had it done by someone he considered an expert. Maybe it’s fine and I’m just not used to the complexities.

Earlier today I created a sub directory in Public_Html and installed a clean version of Dolphin. It was working fine, but I got called away before fully testing it. When I returned, I decided to create a new user for myself and tried to create FTP access, which was denied when I tried to access the site. When I went back to the site, I was told by Virtualmin that the Public_Html directory didn’t exist. The remainder of Virtualmin operates normally.

It’s possible that the person who set up Virtualmin has done something while I was away, because I understand he’s still trying to refine it. It’s also possible I did something wrong as well. However, during the short time I was trying to gain FTP access, I don’t recall doing anything destructive nor did I receive any warnings that a file or directory was about to be deleted. This is the message I get when using File Manager:

Following errors occured while performing operation
Error opening directory /home/xxxxxx/public_html No such file or directory

Is there a log where I can consult to see if someone did something to cause the directory to vanish, or can the directory be simply hidden from me? I am accessing the panel as the administrator.

The owner will be devastated because he’s paid a lot of money to have the site installed. Fortunately it doesn’t have any members and I can rebuild it for him if needs be.

Any help will be appreciated.


Unfortunately most filesystem actions such as deleting files and folders aren’t logged… if it was deleted from SSH, file manager, or from the website itself, there’d be no way to know.

There is an FTP log in /var/log in case it was deleted using FTP though.


Many thanks Eric. I was a bit surprised by the reaction by the owner when I told him. Considering the money he’s poured into the project, his response was wasn’t what I expected. As I wasn’t connected to the site via FTP it counts me out, but I’ll still look at the log.


If you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend setting up Scheduled Backups in Backup and Restore -> Scheduled Backups… that way, if something like that happens again in the future you can always pull in your latest backup.

Files shouldn’t spontaneously vanish, but bad things can happen for various reasons, such as hard drive issues, someone clicking the wrong button, or even someone malicious breaking in and deleting them.

You’d definitely want to be prepared for any of the unusual things that could happen.

Also, just to rule out something really unusual, you may want to take a look in that user’s home directory, and just ensure that the public_html folder wasn’t simply renamed to something else.


I do all of the above on my own site but he has someone maintaining his. I’m not a server person and I find Virtualmin the way it’s set up on his site very confusing. I’m only helping because I know my way around Dolphin. Having said that, I’m also aware enough not to delete stuff, especially when you’re warned. I did consider the directory may have been dragged to another, but I didn’t think about the possibility of it being renamed. Thanks for that tip. - John