Can you explain how to create and publish website files?

If you don't want to use WordPress to create your site, you'll need to design the Web pages and "publish" them onto our servers.

In a way, making a website is like creating a business letter. With a business letter, you use word processing software such as Microsoft Word to create the document on your hard disk, then you "publish" it by sending it to a printer. A website is similar: you use Web design software to create the documents (Web pages) on your hard disk, then you "publish" them by sending them to our servers.

Creating the Web page documents

Again, the best advice we can offer if you’re unfamiliar with this is to use WordPress.

but if you don’t want to do that, there are many programs you can use to create Web pages, just as there are many programs you can use to create business letters.

If you're unfamiliar with the process, you may want to choose a program from a large company that offers decent technical support to help you create your pages. The most popular of these programs (and one we recommend) is Adobe Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver is full-featured software that's fairly expensive. However, if your time is valuable and you think you might need assistance using the software, you'll probably find that it saves money in the long run to buy a program like this from a company that offers full support.

There are other programs you can use to create Web pages, of course. Many of the programs are less expensive, or even free. One popular free program that's similar to Dreamweaver and includes a built-in file publisher is Kompozer. Another program that’s much more modern (but requires you to use either a web browser and our file manager or a separate FTP program to publish your files) is Brackets.

Keep in mind that if you use a free program, you won't have a company to fall back on if you have trouble with it (although there's plenty of free advice to be found on the Internet for these kinds of programs if you're willing to search).

A word of caution: You might have read that Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher can create Web pages, which is tempting if you already have one of those programs on your computer. Don't do it. Word and Publisher weren't originally designed for creating Web pages, and they do a terrible job of it. If you use either one, you'll have far more problems than you would if you use a program designed for creating Web pages.

One final thing we should mention is that like all Web hosting companies, we don't provide support to help you use your Web design software to create Web pages. Our role is to make sure that other people can see whatever you create. So we can definitely help you publish your completed Web pages, but you need to create them first.

Publishing your completed files

When you have finished designing your website files, you will need to publish them to our servers. Many Web design programs have a built-in system that does this for you, and we have detailed instructions explaining exactly how to publish your files from within Dreamweaver. If you use a program without a built-in system for publishing the website files, you will need to use a web browser and our file manager or a separate FTP program like Cyberduck.

If you do decide to use FTP, our more general instructions for publishing your files using FTP will explain the process.