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File Transfer

11 Aug

Filezilla is my ftp software of choice.  It’s free; it’s been around quite a while; it works.  This link http://filezilla-project.org/ will take you to the filezilla home page to download the software.

Once you’ve downloaded the software and installed it, you are ready to transfer files to your host.  The filezilla interface is pretty straightforward, and it is easy to monitor the transfer progress.  The quickconnect is the easiest option for getting started quickly.  Enter the host name, your administrator username and password and click on Quickconnect.  You will have a local and remote view in the windows below, and you can drag and drop the files you wish to upload.

If you have only one or two files to upload, after you’ve edited a page or added a new one, the ftp software built into the host will usually suffice.  You may have to indicate that the file already exists (if it is a file you’ve made changes to) in order to upload it and overlay the existing file.

You already know this, but I’ll say it anyway.  Make sure you have backed your files up before you start to play around with uploading edited or new files.

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Going Live

31 May

You have a domain; you have a host; you’ve finished desinging and developing your site.  What next?

Test, test, test!!!  Bang on it; press keys you might not expect someone to press.  (They will.)  Try to do things out of the ordinary.  (Users will!)  Generally, try to make sure everything is working, even if someone does something unexpected.  Ask someone else to look at your site and try to break it. 

Make sure all of your links work, and users end up where you expected.  Are your titles accurate when a user hovers over an image?

Once you’ve tested your site and you are ready to go live on the web, how do you do that?

Software will vary from host to host, but most of the larger ones offer some sort of file transfer protocol (ftp – a standard network protocol used to get files to the host).  Usually, this ftp software is not the best choice when you are trying to get the entire site to the host.  This can be a lot of data (jpg files in particular can be large), and a light-weight software package could take a long time to upload all the files.

So, I would suggest using  this built-in software as you make changes or updates to a single or a few files.  But, for your initial transfer, consider one of the free ftp utilities like Filezilla.  The interface is easy to use, and the user can see what the directory/folder structure looks like on the local computer and the host.  In addition, the transfer progress is easily tracked.

Next post – transferring files

 

Finding a Host

9 Apr

Your web host is the company that provides the server space for your site.  This is the “place” where all of your files reside and the machine that has the software to run your site.

There are many choices and advantages and disadvantages of each.  The larger hosting services tend to be more expensive than the smaller ones.  But some of the larger hosts can be more reliable and stable.  It does a company no good to  have an amazing website if the hosting server is down all the time!  The bottom line is this:  do your homework; research several hosts; talk to existing clients if you can.

One also has to consider the type of site.  If your website is an ASP.net site, make sure the host you choose can run/support this type of site.  Not all hosting servers can.  Make sure you find out.

On this topic, when designing your website you may want to consider using CSS wherever you can instead of JavaScript.  (Specifically, menus, photo viewing, and hover changes are more elegantly handled in CSS many times than invoking JavaScript.)  CSS is universally supported/accepted and many times can be the difference in someone viewing your site as  it was intended, and viewing it with missing effects when JavaScript is disabled.

There are many websites that review hosts.  http://bestwebhostingsreviews.com/ is just one website that offers comparisons of different hosting services.  Use several resources to check out a web host.  Remember, just because you see it on a website doesn’t mean that information is accurate or true.  Cross- check!

Domain Names

26 Jan

To publish a website you need 1) the website content, 2) a domain name, and 3) a host.  Let’s talk about the domain name. 

Think of the domain name as your website’s name/address.  This is how it is identified.  For example, the domain name for the wordpress blog home page is wordpress.com.  Domain names can end in com, net, org, edu and a number of other extensions.  It’s a good idea to make your domain name descriptive of your venue.

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you have to register it with an ICANN registrar; ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  You can register your name directly through a registrar or through you web hosting provider.  (Sometimes the web host providers will have a special deal when you purchase hosting for a discounted domain name.)

Personally, I prefer to register the name directly with the registrar.  A google search on ICANN registrar will give you a list of registrars.  Right now, Yahoo! is having a special deal.  http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains

When you go to the registrar’s site to register your domain name, they will search and tell you if the name is available.  You may have to regroup and come up with a variation if your name of choice has been taken.  You will have to pay for your domain name, either with a credit card or PayPal.  The cost can vary from a few dollars to $35.

You should also consider making your information private.  (This will probably cost you an additional $10, but then your address and phone number, which is required by the ICANN when you register, is not publicly available.)

Next – Ok, I have a domain name, now what?

Web Page

25 Jan

There are several ways to go about having a web presence.  Let’s start with the easiest ways first.

Blogs:  There are several sites where you can set up a free blog (like this one), and you can be up and running in minutes!  Blogs have several advantages.  You don’t have to be an IT guru to set one up and update it.  With the different appearance options available with most blogs, you can also customize your blog to reflect you and your purpose for a web site.  Adding pictures and links is very easy as well.  Here are several links for free blogs: http://wordpress.com/, http://blog.com/, http://blogger.com/.

Free web space:  Microsoft has a small business program where they will give you web space free.  This is a good way to get your feet wet.  On the down side, your website address is a fourth-level domain, which means it has web.officelive.com at the end of your domain name.  (But it is free!)   http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/en-us/

There  are other offers of free websites on the internet.  One suggestion – “buyer” beware. 

Finally, you can purchase a domain name and web hosting and build and customize everything for your site.

Next – Getting a Domain Name

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