Is Microsoft FrontPage still supported?

Microsoft stopped making new versions of their FrontPage Web design software in 2003.

That means that Microsoft no longer creates new versions of FrontPage for you to use on your own computer, and they don’t create new versions of the “server extensions” for Web hosting companies like us. Because of that, we no longer support it.

Why can’t you continue to support FrontPage?

To fully support special FrontPage script features (including hit counters, guestbooks, feedback forms, and search boxes), Web hosting companies used to use special “FrontPage server extensions” software provided by Microsoft. However, Microsoft has not made any new versions of the “server extensions” since 2002, and they will not make any new versions in the future.

Because the old “server extensions” are incompatible with modern Web servers, it’s no longer possible for hosting companies like us to use the old software Microsoft originally provided.

If you previously used FrontPage Server Extensions, the basic text and images on a FrontPage site will continue to work, but special parts that requires FrontPage Server Extensions won’t work, and should be replaced with the changes below.

We should emphasize that this change is not unique to our company: most hosting companies have either already discontinued FrontPage support or are in the process of doing so.

What if I only use basic features of FrontPage 2003?

FrontPage 2003 can still be used for basic page design and publishing tasks, even though some special FrontPage features aren't directly supported:

  • FrontPage 2003 does not allow direct HTTP publishing, but does allow publishing using FrontPage’s FTP publishing method. This may require you to change the publishing settings in your FrontPage program.
  • FrontPage feedback forms that send you mail or save data in files should continue to work, because we will add a custom script to your site that attempts to mimic the old FrontPage behavior. However, you should test these forms fully to make sure they work and contact us if you have any trouble.
  • In most cases, we’ll be able to keep FrontPage hit counters working by adding lines to your site’s .htaccess file to replace them with the custom hit counter we provide, but you should also check that this is working correctly.
  • FrontPage guestbook pages and search boxes will no longer work and should be removed.

Unfortunately, if you’re using FrontPage 2002 (or an earlier version) on your computer, publishing using FTP may not work. That’s because it doesn’t include the “passive FTP” feature that’s needed if your connection is on a DSL or cable modem. You can try it, but if it doesn’t work, you’ll need to switch programs to publish the FrontPage files to the server.

What program should I switch to?

If you’re looking for a simple way to redesign your site and manage it from scratch, you may want to consider the free WordPress publishing system.

If you want to keep using a program on your own computer, Microsoft offers the free Microsoft Expression Web software. That program (which does not use the FrontPage server extensions) works fine on our servers, and can open/import the existing FrontPage site on your computer and upload them to our servers using FTP. Keep in mind that if you switch to that program, you may have to redesign some portions of your site: it doesn’t offer the same support for certain FrontPage features such as counters or feedback forms. There are many tutorials explaining how to switch on third-party sites like this one.

If you don’t want to use Microsoft Expression Web, but the only change you make to your site is to add or publish files that you change on your computer using the old FrontPage software, you should be able to use FrontPage 2003 FTP publishing or the separate Cyberduck FTP program to publish them.