Your Website's Home Page
After you sign up with a web host
and have gained access to your account's control panel, one of the very first things you'll be asked to do is to establish a home page. Just to clarify, the phrase "home page" can refer to several things in internet parlance. It can refer to the page that your web browser
defaults to when you first start it up or
it can colloquially refer to a personal or hobby page on the internet.
But for our purposes here, "home page" will refer to the starting
page or the entry
page to your website. The file name of this page on your website is typically calledone of the following:
Now you may have noticed throughout your travels on the internet that many URLs
don't actually have a file name at the end to indicate exactly which web page is being requested. To explain, let's say for example the URL to your website is:
Since there is no file name tacked on to the end of the URL, when you put this into the address bar of your web browser and hit Go, your browser is actually requesting the root directory
of files that exists at this URL. Web hosts usually have their servers configured to search for and open the
file when any directory is requested by a web browser. Although this helps to abbreviate some URLs by dropping the file name, its real purpose is to prevent visitors from getting a directory list of files (á la Windows Explorer) when using a URL that requests a directory instead of a specific file.
Hence, the starting or entry page to your website, a.k.a. home page
, should always be named
and it should always be kept in the root directory
that your web host has created for your HTML files, usually
(most web hosts' technical support should be able to tell you what this directory is and how to access it).
Normally, web hosts will plunk a ready-made
file in your website's root directory after activating your account. This 'home page' usually displays the web host's company logo as well as some quick instructions to you that this is just a placeholder page which you should replace with one of your own.
Hence, the first thing you'll want to do is replace that home page with your own custom home page even if you're not ready to upload the rest of your website yet. You can accomplish this by creating a simple 'Under Construction' page, saving it with the file name
and then using the File Manager application in your control panel to upload that to replace the default
file created by your web host.
Alternatively, you can use an FTP program to upload files to your website. This is actually preferable since the control panel's File Manager app is not very visually intuitive and won't give you a sense of dealing with the two key locations involved when uploading files.
And those are:
- The offline copy of your website on your own computer
- The online copy of your website on your web host's server
If you don't have a good FTP program, you should download and install a good free FTP program called FireFTP
(requires the Firefox web browser
Wait a minute.
have a copy of your website saved to your home computer, right?
If not, for shame! :o)
Do NOT pass Go and do NOT collect $200.
Instead, go directly to the next page in this tutorial and learn how easy it is to build a complete fully functional copy of your website offline