Getting Your Website Out There
Once you’ve produced your website, got a Host, registered a Domain Name, you need to transfer your site files on to your webspace (host’s server) so people can at last view your wonderful offering.
This procedure is called ‘uploading’ your website, and involves the transfer of files via FTP. The File Transfer Protocol allows computers to exchange files, upload or download, via the Internet.
It might be a good idea to let your web designer/developer do the initial upload of the whole website. But if you intend to maintain or update your website yourself, it is worth learning how FTP works. It is actually very simple once the initial configuration is set-up.
The easiest way to manage FTP operations is to use dedicated FTP application software. Popular applications include; WS-FTP, Smart-FTP and Cute-FTP. After you’re entered your FTP password, username, etc, these applications will present a interface very similar to two computer Disk Drives. Each represents ‘your local’ drive and ‘your server’s remote’ drive respectively. All you do then is ‘drag ‘n’ drop’ files from one drive to the other.
Remember that FTP is a two-way interface, so you can download files as well as uploading them. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have the latest version of a webpage available to you. You can download the page from your server, make some editorial changes say, then upload it again.
Uploading Websites Using FTP
Our search statistics suggest that many people are visiting this page wanting details on using FTP to upload their website.
Well it really is quite easy especially when using dedicated FTP software. Here is a general guide using WS-FTP Pro.
You can use any ftp software to do this, just do a google search for “free ftp”
After launching WS-FTP you need to create an FTP site ‘account’. From the Menu options, go to Tools>Site Manager. From the dialogue box that appears select ‘Create Site’ (see below). If you have more than one website to manage you’ll need to create an account for each.
The Site Manager Wizard will take you through a series of pages where you need to paste in your hosting details – these should be supplied to you by your host.
There are usually three things required:
- Host Address
- User ID
Ask your host for your FTP connection/upload details if you do not seem to have this information. Keep it somewhere safe!
WS-FTP should now be ready to connect to your host.
Use the ‘Connect’ drop-down Menu to select which account you wish to access (see below).
If the connection is successful the panel on the right will display the default start directory for your host. This may vary but you may need to clarify which directory you should use to upload your website. A common name for this ‘upload’ directory is ‘public_html’.
You now need to use the left panel to navigate to the website files on your local drive.
Just ‘drag and drop’ files from one panel to the other! The panel at the bottom of WS-FTP shows the progress of your file transfers.
Large organisations who have many people involved in site maintenance may need to consider a ‘Content Management System’ (CMS) of some sort – See: Web Technologies. You could set-up your own system but there is software available, designed specifically to manage updates and track latest versions, etc.
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