Preparing your HTML site to go live

Throughout recent HTML columns, we have investigated the code necessary to create your site. Up to this point, however, you have only been creating pages on your local machine. We haven't yet looked at how you post this site to the Internet once it's completed.

In this column you will be given essential background knowledge about the process of making your site 'live'. 'Making your HTML site live ' will then expand with specific reference to an FTP program used to make this transition from local to live, and will answer some associated questions.

Site check

Before making your site 'live', you must edit and error-check your Web site files on your local machine. Ensure that everything works on relevant browsers and pass the files through an HTML validator to double-check any errors you may have missed.

Talk to your ISP

Before you begin the upload process, you need to ensure you have a location for your Web site to be posted, and determine the address for the location.

Check with the ISP that you use for connecting to the Internet to see if your account has any available Web space on the server. Most ISPs provide a user with 5MB to 10MB of space in which you can upload your Web site files. For the average site, this should be plenty of space - unless you have an extraordinary amount of graphics with large file sizes.

After establishing that you have enough space, you will need to ask your ISP the following questions:

1. What will the URL (Web address) of my Web site be?

In other words, once you upload your files to the site, what will people type into their browser location bar in order to access it?

One standard for the Web site URL used by some ISPs (not all) is the ISP's URL, followed by the ~ character, and then the username with which you connect to the Internet. For example, if my ISP was Webmail, the address of my Web site could be: http://www.webmail.com.au/~username.

2. Does the server support uploading through an FTP program?

An ISP may have its own FTP instructions that don't require a separate application to perform the uploading. If your server falls into this category, find out from the ISP what these instructions are.

3. What is the FTP address to which I need to upload my files?

An FTP address is required for the connection between the FTP program on your local machine and the available space on the server.

4. What is my username and password to access the server?

In most cases, these are the same that you use to connect to the Internet.

Once you have this information from your ISP, you will be ready to make your site live. 'Making your HTML site live' discusses taking these details and setting up a connection to your server. Using an FTP program to step you through, we will demonstrate how to upload your Web site for the world to see!

Internet terms

Before we delve into the technicalities involved, it is necessary to discuss some related terms and background information.

Web server
Loosely speaking, a Web server is software on a specific computer, which serves Web site files to the Internet. These files may include HTML pages, graphics, sounds, etc. Once on the server they are available for viewing by the public at all times.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
ISPs are the companies that house the Web servers and service your requests to connect to the Internet. Some ISPs you may be familiar with include Telstra, Optus, OzHosting and TPG.

Uploading
This is the process of transferring files from your local computer to another location. We will be uploading files from your computer to your server.

Downloading
Downloading is the opposite to uploading, and therefore means transferring files onto your local machine. When you access a Web site, you are actually downloading HTML files and graphics onto your PC so you can see them.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
FTPing is the process of transferring files between computers, whether uploading or downloading. In the next column will find a description of one of the many FTP programs which make this transferral painless.


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