HTML for Absolute Beginners, by Jon Storm.
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Getting it onto the Web

OK, so you've made your first page or pages, and now you're ready to publish your masterpiece (well, almost). So how do you do that?

You are going to need a couple of things : some webspace, and an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. If you are based in the UK as I am, you probably already have the webspace. Almost all UK Internet Service Providers provide 10-15 Megabytes free with your dialup account, which is more than enough for most purposes. Go and have a look at your ISP's website, which will explain what your web address is and how to get your pages there.

You need an FTP program because that's how you transfer files to your webspace. Usually it will have one window for picking out the files on your C: drive that you want to upload, and another to show what is already in your web area - nothing, to start with. Your ISP quite likely will provide you with an FTP program, either a thirty-day-trial type, which will do to get you going, or if you are lucky a completely free one. You will also need the FTP address to log onto (see your ISPs website), and the password to your web area, probably the same as your login password.

If you don't get free webspace with your dialup account, you can either pay someone for commercial webspace, or find someone to provide some free. There are several companies that provide free webspace; they make their money by putting an advertisement on your site, usually on every page. Go to a search engine and do a search for "free webspace".

Whatever sort of webspace you get, be aware that there will be certain restrictions that you have to abide by. These will usually be explained in a document on your webhost's site called the AUP, or Acceptable Use Policy. Most restrictions are commonsense things, such as nothing that breaks the law in the jurisdiction the ISP is under, or might get them sued for libel. In free webspace there are usually also restrictions on what scripts you can use, which do things like providing page counters and mailforms. But in any webspace there will be a restriction on bandwidth, even if it isn't clearly set out.

Bandwidth is a measure of how much stuff is being downloaded per day from your site. For example, say you have a couple of pages of text, and ten pictures of about 25 K each. If each visitor downloads (looks at, for most purposes) all the pictures, that is 250 K altogether - text pages are so small by comparison that they make very little difference. So if you get an average of four visitors to your site every day, and each one views all the pictures, that would be about one megabyte per day, which isn't a huge workload for the webserver and won't bother your webhost at all. But if your site becomes popular and you get four hundred visitors per day, that will be 100 Megabytes per day, which is quite a lot of work for the server. If every website your provider hosts used that much bandwidth, pretty soon they would need a faster server and a better internet connection before the whole thing grinds to a halt - which costs money. So they will either ask you to pay, reduce the site's bandwidth (by removing some of the pictures, perhaps) or to take your site elsewhere. A free provider may even take your site completely offline at a moment's notice if it's drawing too much traffic.

If you do become that popular, you will need to make a deal with a commercial provider, which will include a specific bandwidth limit. If you exceed it, you pay more. Good news if your site is commercial, because presumably you will be making pots of money from all these visitors. If it's not commercial, then you will either have to dig deeper into your pocket, or maybe consider raising revenue by having advertisments on your site. Or something.

It's well worth considering buying your own domain (eg, even if your site isn't commercial. There are lots of companies who will register a domain for you for just a few pounds (or dollars or whatever), and the big advantage is that the domain belongs to you rather than the service provider, so if you decide to change webhost/ISP you take it with you. This means that as far as your visitors are concerned you have the same address as before, and they won't even know you have moved; if you don't have your own domain, when you move your web and email addresses change, and your visitors suddenly don't know where to find you.

Buying your own domain isn't expensive. A .UK domain will cost you around thirty pounds at the moment, a .COM or .NET maybe twice that. Those prices typically include registration fees for two years (ie reserving the domain), plus mail and web forwarding, which forwards any mail coming in for "" to any address you specify, and handles any requests for "" (either by invisibly fetching the pages from a "real" URL somewhere else, or by being your webhost, which is a bit more expensive). It's a good idea to buy your domain from someone in the same country as you, both because it's much easier to enforce your rights if there is a dispute, and to cut down on delays if there is internet congestion. If you and most of your prospective visitors are in the UK, but your domain is hosted in the US, every request for one of your pages has to flash back and forth across the Atlantic, which is inefficient, and worse, potentially much slower.

But we're rather putting the cart before the horse here, because although your new webpage works, it isn't really completely ready to publish yet. If you want your site to be noticed, there are a couple of things you need to add to it to help people find it. So, on to the next section.

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