Putting Your Pages onto the Web
By now you should have a site consisting of one or more pages, that you
are happy with. It is time to show them to the world!
At the moment the pages are all on the hard disk of your computer in the
directory webpages. If the rest of the web is to see them, they must
be uploaded to the webspace provided for you by your Internet
Service Provider (ISP). The details of how this is done, vary slightly from
one ISP to another, so you should start by looking at any information
provided by your ISP. There will probably be something on your ISP's own
web site, or it may have been included on a CD which you used to get
connected in the first place. The general principles will be the same for
all ISPs so I will describe the process for my ISP, ClaraNET and leave you to change the details as
necessary for your ISP.
Before You Start
There are two things to check:
- Are all your filenames in lowercase letters and do all your links use
lowercase letters for the URL? This probably won't matter, because many
ISP's home page servers will ignore case, but yours may be one of the
ones that does not, so it is simplest to adopt an "all lower case"
convention. Windows programs are not very consistent, some will save in
all upper case and some with just first letters in upper case. Check with
Windows Explorer, and rename any that have got any upper case
If you have several files to convert or find that some of your filenames
"mysteriously" change case, see theWhy do my Filenames
Change Case? item in the Extra Topics here.
Check that one of your files is called index.htm. By default, if
someone just enters the address of your web site, without a filename,
they will receive the file called index.htm, so you should
always make sure that you have one of these and that it is the page
where you want your visitors to enter the site.
When you get more ambitious and start putting subdirectories on your
web site, always make sure that each directory contains its own
index.htm file, for the same reason.
Your web browser is able to download pages from the web, but not to upload
them. To do this you need a special program that supports the File
Transfer Protocol. The web being a great place for acronyms, it is of
course known as an FTP program!
Your ISP may already have provided you with an FTP program as part of
your start-up kit, or he may well have one available for you to download on
his web site. Don't worry if this is not the case. There are a number of
FTP programs available on the web, some of which are freeware. If you don't
already have one, I suggest you try FileZilla. This is excellent
Open Source program written by Tim Kosse and may be downloaded at no cost
In the days when the only FTP programs were commercial software, I
suggested a method of using Internet Explorer itself for uploading, as
a zero-cost alternative. This is described in the item
Using Internet Explorer to Upload Your Pages
in the Extra Topics section of these web pages. However it has been
reported not to work in Internet Explorer 7, and with the advent
of free FTP programs such as FileZilla, there is no longer a need for it.
Whatever software you choose, follow the makers instructions for
installing it on your machine.
Configuring your FTP Program
Whatever FTP program you use, the first time you use it, you will probably
need to configure it for a connection to the "homepages" area of your ISP's
site. Most FTP programs allow you to set up a menu of FTP sites you use
regularly, where you keep all the parameters needed for each site. So you
first need to set up your ISP as one of these sites. I will take the
FileZilla FTP program as an example.
- Click the "Site Manager" button, or select "Site Manager" from the
File menu. This will give you a dialog box to enter details of
the server. Click the "New Site" button and a new entry will be added
to the list of available sites in the "My FTP Sites" folder.
Name for the site will intially be "New FTP Site" and will be
selected in blue, so you can immediately replace this by a name of your
choice. Just enter a name by which you will remember this site.
(It doesn't matter what you choose, it only appears in your FTP sites
menu). Now fill in the details for your ISP's site.
- In the Host box, put the correct hostname for
uploading home pages, that you have been given by your ISP. In my case,
this is home.clara.net.
- Unless your ISP has told you to use a specific port for FTP, leave
the Port box set to the default value of 21.
- Unless your ISP has told you otherwise, leave the Servertype set to its
default value of "FTP".
- FTP servers usually have two methods of operation. One, known as
"Anonymous FTP" allows anyone to connect to the site for downloading
material, without having to have a specific account with the server. The
other requires that the user is known to the site and has been given a
username and password. For uploading data to your home page, you will of
course use the latter method. You wouldn't want anyone to be able to load
data onto your homepage would you? So depending on your FTP program,
either clear any checkbox labelled Anonymous or, as in the case of
the FileZilla program, select the radio button Normal, which will
automatically clear the Anonymous button.
- Now enter your username and password in the boxes provided. These
will have been given to you when you opened your account with your ISP and
will generally be the same ones you use to log on to the ISP when
browsing. You will probably also want to check the radio button
to make this your "Default site".
- As a convenience your FTP program will probably allow you to enter
details of the starting directories on your hard disk, and on your
server's system, where your pages are located. These just mean that when
you start a connection to this server, you will automatically start in
the correct directories. In the case of FileZilla, you get to these settings
by clicking the "Advanced" button. If you have followed our earlier suggestions,
your local starting directory will be c:\webpages. Your remote
starting directory will depend on your ISP. In the case of ClaraNET it is
- Finally any box labelled "Bypass Proxy Settings" or
"Firewall Friendly Operation" can probably be left
un-checked. If you are using a firewall to access the internet, it is
best to set up your firewall software to permit the FTP program to
access the internet, rather than setting up the FTP program to bypass
the firewall. If you have problems check the instructions supplied with
the firewall software.
Transfering the Files
Now that you have set up a configuration for your ISP, when you want to
transfer data between your hard disk and your ISP webspace, all you have to
do is click the Connect button. In the case of FileZilla, this is
labelled with an "R", for Reconnect. This will attempt to connect
to the site you set up as your "Default site" in the step above.
If all is well, a connection will be established with your ISP (you need
the phone line plugged in of course, just as for normal web browsing). You
should then see two separate panes, looking a little like Windows Explorer.
If you set up the correct starting directories, one should be showing the
various files you have created in your webpages directory and the
other should be showing your webspace directory on your ISP's site. (This
will probably be empty).
Your FTP program will probably give you the choice
of transfering files as ASCII or Binary. In FileZilla this is accessed by selecting
"Transfer Type", from the Transfer menu. Usually there will be an "Auto"
option selected by default, where the program decides which method to use based on
what the file contains. Normally this works fine and should be the method of choice.
Since you want to start by copying all your files to the site, highlight
all the files in the local pane and either drag them to the remote pane if
your FTP program supports drag-and-drop, or otherwise click the
Upload button. Check that after a few minutes spent transfering data,
the Remote Pane now also shows the same files. In future, when you add or
change files, you need only upload the ones that have changed.
Double check that the index.htm file has been transfered, since
this will be the first file visitors see when connecting to your site. Then
click "disconnect" on your FTP program.
Now for the moment of truth! Connect to the Web in the usual way and
enter the URL Address for your home page. (In my case I can use either
http://www.shotover.clara.net/ or http://home.clara.net/shotover/.
Yours will depend on your ISP). If all is well, you should see your page
index.htm displayed. Check that all the other pages are there and
that the links between them all work, then celebrate. You are now the proud
owner of a Web Site!
|Copyright © Alan Simpson 2000-2007
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|| Last Updated 2007-01-30