Making your HTML site live

In 'Preparing your HTML site to go live ', we investigated some background terms relevant to making your Web site live, in addition to some preparatory questions to ask your ISP. Now we step you through uploading your Web site, with specific reference to an FTP program named CoffeeCup Free FTP which you can download from the TUCOWS website.

Although FTP clients vary in appearance, they all demand information specific to the server to which you are connecting. CoffeeCup is no exception and requires three standard items of data: the FTP address of your server, your username, and your password.

Once connected to your ISP, FTP programs permit users to select files they want to upload and then copy them onto the server. You can do this simply by using your mouse to drag-and-drop files from one graphical area of the application representing your local machine to another representing the server.

Configuring your server settings

If you are setting up this program for the first time, or connecting to another server, you should follow these instructions.

First, click the Plus (+) button. The window that pops up requires the input of your server details. In the 'Name' field, enter anything you want - this is for your reference only. In 'Hostname/Address' enter the FTP address of your server. Once you select 'Requires username and password', you will be prompted to enter your username and password in the given spaces. The rest of the fields can be left as they are. Next, click the COOL button.

CoffeeCup Free FTP

With reference to the illustration displayed, note the following areas of the application as hightlighted:

(A) Refers to the menu bar. The main items you will use are the lightning bolt, which connects you to the server; the minus sign (-), which diconnects; and the addition sign (+), which adds a new server connection.

The area labelled (B) shows all the folders on your local machine. From here, select the folder containing the website files you want to upload.

The section marked as (C) then displays the files within that selected folder -- in this case, the test.htm file. If you have successfully connected to an ISP, the area marked as (D) will illustrate the files and folders on the server; otherwise, this area will be greyed out.

Finally, the section marked (E) shows the FTP log. Refer to this when you want to know the status of your FTP operations.

Connect to the server

Every time you want to connect to your server, first click the lightning bolt button. This will load the window in which you select the server name you created during setup. Click COOL and your PC will attempt to make a connection - of course, you have to be connected to the Internet for this to be successful.

After you connect, you will see the server folders and files appear in the server directory. If this doesn't happen, double-check your details or contact your ISP.

Upload your Web site files

Once connected, open the directory on the server where you want to place your Web site's files. Check with your ISP, but in most cases this will be the public_html folder.

Using the mouse, select the files you want to upload from your computer, and drag and drop them into the server directory you just opened (in this example, public_html).

Uploading will now begin and a series of pop-up boxes will appear indicating the transferral of each file. Once this has finished and the FTP log status reads 'Ready', uploading will be complete.

Now, click the minus button (-) on the menu bar to disconnect and then close the application. Type the URL of your Web site into your browser (ask your ISP for this information) and you should be able to view your work!

Troubleshooting Tips

Editing Web site files
The best way to edit your files is to download them to your local machine, then create a backup copy of them, make the changes, and finally upload the amended files using the same process as indicated above.

To download the files to your local machine using CoffeeCup Free FTP, select the folder on your PC (indicated by B in the illustration above) into which you want to download the files. Then select the file(s) on the server (indicated by D) that you want to download.

When these files are highlighted, right-click your mouse and select Download to local dir from the resulting pop-up menu. Wait until the process has completed and then close the application. You will now have a copy of the server files in the selected folder on your computer.

Files are uploaded but still nothing at the URL
If you've uploaded your files to the server, but the site cannot be viewed at the designated URL, check these common causes:
1. Check that your file is an HTML file with extension .html or .htm
2. Ensure the files have been uploaded into the right folder (usually labelled public_html)
3. Make sure that you have called your homepage 'index.html'

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Heidi Woof

PC World
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