Publishing web pages

Publishing is the generic word for transferring files to a computer which acts as a web server.  You can also say uploading.  

Web page composers such as FrontPage, Netscape Composer, and Dreamweaver make it easy to publish, as easy as clicking a publish icon.  I would recommend that you use one of these programs, since they do a pretty good job of making sure that all the associated picture files and linked files get transferred. The specific directions vary from one html composer to another, so you'll need to read about them separately.

Alternatively, you can publish web pages by directly transferring the files using an FTP program such as Fetch.

File and directory structure

This can be a headache.  There are three file and directory structures to know about.

1. On your local machine

You may be creating web pages on your office computer or on computer lab computers, storing your files on a floppy disk or, preferably, a large capacity Zip disk.

I would recommend that you store all the files related to a given web site in one folder.  If you use a web page composer, it may store image files in subfolders which it creates.

2. In an internet browser

When you visit my web site, you use the address  The web server looks for a file called index.html or index.htm by default, and displays it if it finds it.  In my case, you see something like the window below, which shows that there is no index.html file, but there are some different files and folders named 591 and 592.  If you click on them, you do not see their contents, because they do have index.html files, which are displayed.

3. On the web server computer

Web servers have their own folder structure.  Since these are usually UNIX machines, I will call them  directories rather than folders.  When you get, say, a account, you are given one directory to be your own.  Mine is called /web/25/zirbel.  Note that you can look in other people's directories (and people can look in yours), but you can only make changes to files in your directory.  You can also make subdirectories. 

In general, UNIX machines are used for all sorts of things other than web pages, so all web content is put in a subdirectory of your main directory, and this is always called public_html.  This is where the web server will look for your files when someone visits your website.  If you visit, the web server will first look for a file called index.html in my public_html directory and will display it, if found.

In my case, I can foresee that I will put other things on my web space than 591 and 592 material, so I made subdirectories of public_html called 591 and 592..  Thus, all of my Math 592 files are stored in the directory /web/25/zirbel/public_html/592.

When I publish to, I can tell my local computer where to put the files in a couple of different ways. 

Frontpage 2000 (Windows)

In FrontPage 2000, pull down the File menu, then Publish Web ....  You will see the window below. tells my local computer what remote computer to talk to, ~zirbel is a short way of referring to /web/25/zirbel (since knows where zirbel's files belong), and public_html has a clear meaning.  Because my local files are stored in a local folder called 591, when I publish to, the files are put in a subdirectory of public_html called 591.  Very convenient.

Note that the web site begins ftp://  This indicates the way in which my local computer will attempt to communicate with the remote computer.  I want to transfer files there, so I must use FTP rather than HTTP.  When you click Publish, FrontPage will attempt to transfer all of your local files to the server, which is useful if you have associated picture files and the like.  However, if you have put other files on the server, it will notice them and ask if you want them to be removed.  Just be careful.


Below is a snapshot of the window I would use to transfer files between my local computer (on the left) and (on the right).  Note that on a PC, subdirectories are indicated by /, while on a UNIX machine, they are indicated by \.