ARCHIVED: The basics of creating a web page

This document contains the essentials of publishing pages on the World Wide Web at Indiana University or elsewhere. Several steps are involved in this process; if you need more information about any of these steps, see the Knowledge Base documents linked within the relevant section.

Getting web space

To publish your web page, you need an account capable of hosting web pages. At IU, you have several account options available, including departmental or organizational accounts on the central web servers and personal home pages on Mypage. For more information, see At IU, how can I publish on the web? and ARCHIVED: At IU, how can I publish personal pages on Mypage?

Note: On June 23, 2008, UITS will retire Steel. As part of this process, UITS will move the Mypage service to a new platform. For more, see ARCHIVED: About the Mypage migration.

Note: The IU South Bend Mypage service is different from the Mypage service noted here; see IUSB's Web Publishing: Mypage.

If you are not at IU, or do not want to host your pages on the university servers, you can publish your web site from an outside Internet service provider (ISP). Most popular ISPs offer web publishing capabilities at no additional charge, although very large, graphics-intensive, or popular sites might incur charges; consult your ISP for details. For more information about ISPs, see:

Creating your pages

Web pages are usually written in HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language. If you are not familiar with HTML, see ARCHIVED: How can I learn about HTML? If you do not want to learn HTML, you can use software designed for creating web pages (e.g., Dreamweaver); additionally, many popular word processing programs have HTML editing capability. For more information, see ARCHIVED: For HTML, what editing software is available?

If you are familiar with HTML, you can use a text editor on the server itself (such as Pico or Emacs on a Unix system) to design your home page.

You can find information about web design issues on the IU Webmaster page at:

Note: If you choose to write your pages with something other than a text editor in your account, you will need to transfer your pages from your computer to the account where your web pages will be hosted. If you are publishing your pages on Mypage, you will need to transfer your files to the www directory in your Steel account using a secure FTP program. For more information, see In Windows, how do I transfer files using an SSH or SFTP client? or In Mac OS X, how do I use Cyberduck to transfer files over SFTP? If you created your web pages using an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver, you can use the built-in upload feature only if it allows secure file transfer. For help, consult the documentation for your software.

Setting permissions

After your pages are in your account, you must make them world-readable (available to web users) by setting the permissions on the files. After you have set permissions correctly, you and others will be able to view your page in a web browser. You have a few different options for performing this task:

  • If you are creating your web pages on Mypage, after you have saved or transferred your file, at the Unix prompt, enter spinweb.

    The spinweb command does several things, including setting the permissions on all the files in the www directory to make them world-readable. You need to run spinweb every time you add a new file to your www directory, or nobody will be able to view that file on the web. For more information, see What is spinweb?

  • From within Unix, you can change your file permissions yourself with the chmod command. (For example, on Steel, enter chmod 755 www at the prompt.) For more information, see In Unix, how do I change the permissions for a file?
  • If you are using an outside ISP, consult your ISP's support for more information about setting permissions for your web pages.

Publicizing your web pages

  • If you have created a web page on Mypage/Steel, your home page address will automatically be included in the Directory of Personal Home Pages at IU. However, it will not appear in the listing until the next day. It will look something like:

    The URL above (with your username substituted for username) will work only if your home page is named home.html or home.htm.

    Note: The script that automatically updates the Directory of Personal Home Pages will not include your page unless your www directory is world-readable. If you have recently run spinweb on Steel, or used the chmod command described above, you do not need to worry about this.

  • You may wish to create in your email account a signature file containing the address of your home page. This is a popular way of publicizing your home page because the signature file will be automatically appended to every email message you send. For information on signature files, see ARCHIVED: In email, what is a signature?

This is document addx in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2008-11-01 00:00:00.

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