Getting Your Website Up & Running On The Internet
A To-The-Point Approach
The purpose of this article is to describe the necessary steps to get ones content viewable on the internet. I am writing this because I spent a great deal of time searching for information and trying to understand the process. It seemed that I could never find a straight to the point reference, only a tip here, and an explanation there. So with each article I had to piece together the specific information I needed instead of having a straight answer.
First things first, the basis of a website is the URL or address (www). This is like your physical home address except its on the web. These can be purchased from several registers with Godaddy.com being one of the most recognized. Once you have acquired your "address" it is time to look for a hosting provider.
The hosting provider is the one that has the servers that store all the information necessary for your website, i.e. images, HTML, CSS, scripts, etc. There are several options such as HostGator and even godaddy has the ability to also host your website. For this article I will be referring to Hostgator but it applies to most other hosting providers. If you decide to purchase both your domain address and your hosting package from HostGator, they take the necessary steps out of changing what is called the domain name service (DNS) to the address/URL. A DNS is what attached a web address to a hosting provider/server. If you purchase your domain name from someone like godaddy and then decide to host it with HostGator you have to log into godaddy and change the DNS in the account info. When you purchased your hosting package from HostGator they send you an email with all the necessary information relating to your server. In it you also have the DNS information. It is usually in the form of 82.hostgator.com & 83hostgator.com. It is these two address that you input into your godaddy account relating to your address.
Once you have the DNS changed for your address and it is added to your server you are ready to start uploading your website to your server. Information is uploaded to a server through what is known as an File Transfer Protocol "FTP" agent. There are several available free downloads over the internet with the one I use being Cyberduck.
In order to use your FTP agent you need to log into what is known as your "C-Panel" in your server. There you will see a section called "FTP" and it is there that you setup a name and password in order to connect your FTP agent i.e. cyberduck to your server. You then take this information and open up a new connection with cyberduck and input the information.
From there you will see all the available files on your server. It is set-up just like a computer directory. You will see a file labeled "www" with an available drop down arrow. It is here that you place your HTML file. For purposes of uploading a homepage for your site it is common practice to save the main HTML file as "index.html" This is what you will drag and drop in cyber duck under the "WWW" folder name. After that you can continuie dragging and dropping your files such as your images and CSS folders into the server.
Once everything has been uploaded through cyberduck you webpage is available for viewing on the internet.