Your page is ready and you want to show it to the world. You could hook up your own computer to the web using your modem. But this would get a bit costly. And you cannot use your phone anymore, or you would have to have second line installed. Fortunately you won't have to do this. You can put your page on the server of your provider. So even if your modem and computer are turned off, anyone will be able to see your page when he wants to.
Sometimes you cannot place a page at your own provider. If you're connecting from a school or libray, you do not have a provider. Even then there is a simple solution. There are lots of sites offering web space for free. I have collected a few of them on a link page. They vary a lot. Sometimes only a small text-only page is allowed, sometimes you can have 25 MB or more. The way of uploading your pages can differ very much. I'll just describe the most common way.
You don't really need much space for a home page. This whole site is less than two megabytes in size. Only if you intend to use a lot of images or sound files, you'll soon run out of space. A nice photograph will easily use up 150 kB. You'd better find the largest available space just to publish your holiday snapshots. If you have got mostly text to show, you'll have a lot more options.
Your page will be put on a web server. To make this happen you will need special software. You could use Netscape Navigator to do this (File | Edit page; File | Publish...). but you don't have a lot control that way. The best way to go is using special FTP software. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This software makes it possible to put files in your own directory, and to take them off again.
Most FTP software have two windows. The left showing your computer, the right the web server. It looks a lot like Norton Commander or Windows Commander, should you know these. You can see exactly what is on your computer and at the server. The most used program is WS_FTP. You can get this as freeware, it won't cost you a penny. If you don't already have it you can find it on my downloads page.
Connecting to the server
After firing up WS_FTP a login screen displays. If it doesn't, press the connect button. Fill in the name of the FTP server. Often this is the name of your web server, with "www." replaced by "ftp.". Next you fill out a user ID and a password, normally the same you use to log in at your provider. Also press "Save password". The startup tab allows you to specify startup directories on both your computer and the web server. Press "Ok" next and WS_FTP will connect to your server.
Everything going the way it should, you get a "connected" message in the status window at the bottom. The connect button changes into a 'close' button. Pressing this will disconnect you from the server. On your left hand you will see a list representing your directory where your new home page is waiting eagerly. On the right is your directory on the server. Mostly you get directly to the right one, sometimes you have to use a subdirectory like "html", "public_html" or "www" for your web files.
Double clicking on files copies them to the other side. You could do this one by one, but you can do all at once by selecting them and press the right arrow button between the two lists. WS_FTP will let you know when it is done, and refresh the lists if necessary. This may take a while if you are sending many or large files, or if you have a slow connection.
Have another look at the file names. If you payed attention, all names are in lower case characters. Do you see any capitals? Rename them if you do. Otherwise you can take a good bet it won't work later on. Your main page mostly needs to be called index.htm or index.hmtl, sometimes default.html. Most web servers are set up to display this file automatically, when opening a directory.
Next you go to your web browser and fill out the address of your page in the 'Location:' field, and press the Enter key. Your page should appear now. For my page this should read http://www.weballey.net/index.html. Be sure to type in the exact address.
If everything went as it should, your home page should be visible now in your browser. If it does not work, check everything mentioned above. Did you use the right user ID and password? Did you mind the file name case? Did you put the files in the right directory? If you are sure you did everything right, send an e-mail to support or webmaster of your provider. There may be something wrong on the server or your account needs te be setup for your pages to display.
If it does work, don't think you are there just yet. Check and double check everything you put on your home page. Check every image, every link to your own pages as well to those of other people. If something is wrong, be sure to change it. If you see lots of errors, you might consider taking your site off the server again. Nothing is more annoying than links that don't work, or pictures not showing up. Fiddle around as long as you need to solve all problems.