Getting Started


CFH Web WorkshopEveryone wants to make a website. OK, but before you do, you need to understand a few things and take some preliminary steps. The first step is finding a host for your site. This is what's known as an ISP, or Internet service provider. 

Shop around and find the right service for you. If you need a secure server, access to scripting, or a domain name account, you need to make sure the ISP you pick can offer what you need. Boardwatch offers an ISP search by area code and provides detailed information on the ISPs to help you choose. You might also try when researching ISPs.

If you want a domain name, which is a personalized Web address such as, you will need to register your name in advance, or ask your new web host to do it for you.


What to Expect

Once you sign up with an ISP, you will get some information on setting up your website. This may be confusing at first, but once you understand the procedure, you will have no problems.

You will be asked to choose a user name, or your ISP will provide you with one. This is the name you will use to log on to your server when you want to upload or download information to your site. You will also choose a password. Finally, your ISP will provide you with an FTP address. This is the address of the server that takes care of moving your files back and forth.

Silicon Ali is using FrontPage Express to create her site. It uses the Web Publishing Wizard to upload information to the server where her site will live.

If you are creating your site in HTML, you will need to get a separate FTP program. In both cases you will be asked to provide your username, password, FTP address, and sometimes the directory you are looking for. Again, your ISP will let you know this information.

The main directory is called the root directory. All folders you create-- for example, to store images or organize the branches of your site-- reside in the root directory. The main page, which will be your home page and the one that users see first, is often called index.html or default.html. Your ISP will specify what this file should be called.

For more on FTPs, follow this link:

Communication System's FTP Guide

Creating Your First Page

While you create your website, you should have an "under construction" page in place of your homepage so that people know you will soon have a Web presence. We will give you some basic instructions for using FrontPage Express.

First you should decide what you want to include on your page. Map out a simple message so you have a guideline. We have chosen to use just text because it is simple and will help us get used to the program. Follow these steps:

  • Open FrontPage Express and choose File, New, Normal Page. You will see a blank page and several tools that resemble those in Microsoft Word.

  • Following your guide, enter the text you want to appear. 

  • You can then highlight the text with your mouse and choose to format it with the buttons along the top. You should recognize several of these buttons for bold, italic, center, and so on.

  • If you wish to change the attributes of the font, highlight the text you want to change, go to Format, Font and choose the color, point size, and font. Remember that the fonts available to you may not display on certain computers if those machines do not have your font. The safest fonts to choose are: Arial, Helvetica, and Times.

  • Tip: in FrontPage Express, you can alter whatever you have selected by right-clicking and choosing from the menu options that appear. For example, if you highlight some text and right-click inside the highlighted area, you will be given the option to change the font properties.

  • Once you are satisfied with your message, choose File, Save. You will be asked for the page title. This is the title that will appear at the top of the browser window. You will also be asked for the location.

  • If you have not yet created a folder for your website, choose As File. You will then be able to choose a location for your files. Create a new folder and name it. Then enter the name your ISP gave you to name your home page. This will mostly likely be index.html or default.html.

You are now ready to upload your page.

Upload Your Temporary Home Page

Open the Web Publishing Wizard. You may find this in Programs, Accessories, Internet Tools. If you don't see it, use the Find tool to locate it. Once it opens, choose Next and follow these steps:

  • Choose Browse Files and locate the file you wish to upload, then click Next.

  • You will be asked to choose a Web server. This is the location where your site will live. If this is your first time, you will need to enter New to create a profile for your site.

  • Give the server a name.

  • Enter the server address in the first space. This will look something like:

  • In the next space you should see the path to the folder you already created. This is your local file that will contain your website. Choose Next.

  • Enter the user name and password that you received from your ISP. Choose OK.

  • Choose Finish to publish your pages to the Web.

You can check your page by opening your browser and entering the address your ISP gave you. If you want to make changes, make them in FrontPage Express and follow the FTP steps to upload the changes.

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