If you want other people to be able to view your website on the Internet, you'll need to upload it to a server. The logistics of this process are a little hazy for some beginners, so we've gone over some of the basics here. If you already have a web hosting provider and just need the gritty details, click here to skip ahead.

Exactly What Is the Internet?

In simple terms, the Internet is a series of special computers (called servers) that are all linked together. These servers contain the data needed to display webpages, search engines, or other online applications.

How Do I Fit Into the Internet?

There are a variety of ways to connect to the Internet, but you are most likely connected using an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Comcast, EarthLink, and Verizon are all ISPs. When you connect your computer to the ISP, the ISP connects your computer to the rest of the Internet (all those servers we mentioned before).

Where Does My Webpage Go When I Upload It?

Just because you have an ISP and are able to connect to the Internet doesn't mean you have a server where you can store your webpages. ISP and hosting servers are two very different things. A server keeps your pages on file and allows other people on the Internet to view them; an ISP only allows you to see pages already stored on servers.

So, if you want your website to go online, you'll need to get some server space. How do you go about doing that? Through a hosting company. There are two different types: those that will host your site for free and those that charge a monthly or yearly fee. Lycos Tripod is an example of a free hosting company, whereas 1&1, Lunarpages, and GoDaddy are all paid hosts.

So why doesn't everyone choose the free option? Because it comes with tons of strings attached. With free hosting, there are limits on how much information you can store on the server, you may have permission to run cgi scripts (which is important), you probably won't get to choose your own domain name, and you'll be required to put annoying, ugly banner ads on your site. By paying for your hosting, you get flexibility and capabilities beyond what any free host can give you — and best of all, most hosting providers have plans starting from a few dollars a month.

How do you choose a hosting provider? Well, the links we provided above are a good jumping-off point, but your best bet is to jump on Google and do a little research until you find a host that provides services that meet your unique needs. Important factors to take into account are price, quality of customer support, and the amount of allotted server space.

Enough Already! I Have a Host, and I Want to Upload My Work.

If you have a host, you'll need to set up a server profile in the HTML Editor. To do this, go to File > Upload File to Server > Add or Edit Servers. This opens the Server Configuration window. Click the Add button to open the Server Configuration - Add window, which allows you to add a new server profile.

We'll go over the information you should put in each field. If you are unsure of this information, contact your hosting provider.

Nickname: A personal reminder you can use to tell your servers apart. You can name your servers anything you want.

Server: The location where you will upload your website files. It should be in the form of an IP address, your domain name (e.g. yourdomain.com), or your domain name preceded by ftp. (e.g. ftp.yourdomain.com). Do not include ftp:// or http://. It is up to your web hosting company to assign your FTP server host name, so you will need to find out from them what it is.

Examples of valid server names

ftp.mysite.com

24.24.100.100

mysite.com

Examples of invalid server names 

ftp://ftp.mysite.com

http://www.mysite.com

Username: The FTP username assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Usernames are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your username, you must enter it that way.

Password: The FTP password assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Passwords are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your password, you must enter it that way.

Protocol: Your preferred FTP connection. Standard FTP is fine for most connections.

Clicking the Advanced link displays additional information you may need to add.

Port: A port defines how the server responds to a certain protocol. This number is usually 21, and unless your hosting provider has told you otherwise, you should not change it.

Passive Mode: Checking this box activates passive mode. Enable passive mode if you experience trouble connecting.

File Upload Overwrite: Choose what you would like the program to do when it tries to upload a file with the same name as a file already on your folder: ask what you would like to do, automatically overwrite it, or skip that file.

Manage Folder Bookmarks: Folders on your server you would like to bookmark for later use.

Uploading

When you're ready to publish your work, go to File > Upload File to Server and select the server and remote folder where you want to upload your files. A window will appear displaying the progress of your upload. When the upload is complete, the window closes automatically. You can then view your updated website online.