Web Lair Designing

  So, you've finally decided to build a homepage on the web. This may seem like a very difficult task, but it really isn't that hard.
  The first thing you'll need is server space. A server works sort of like an answering service; it lets others see your webpage 24/7 without you needing to stay connected to the internet. There are programs like Personal Web Server that let you host your own webpage, but this can be tedious because your internet address is always changing (I'm told this even happens to broadband users occasionally). You can host your webpage for free on personal web hosts like Tripod in exchange for running banner ads. You can also find a paid webhost like PHPWebhosting, which charges a monthly fee but will be faster and won't run advertising. When looking for a host, you will want FTP (File Transfer Protocol) support so you can upload your webpages from your computer, un-metered or unlimited bandwidth (anytime bandwidth is limited you can expect untimely shutdowns or expensive overuse fees. 5 GB of transfer is more than enough for most personal sites, though), and around 5 MB of space or more. Check with your ISP, though, because you may already have space. Many times ISPs give you an address based on your e-mail address, so if your e-mail is userid123@service.net, your address might be http://members.service.net/~userid123/.
  If you want an easier to remember address, you can look into free redirection services like CJB.net or consider a domain name. Domain names cost about $20 a year, but are the easiest addresses to remember. If you're on a free host, you may need redirection service to point the domain name to your website; paid hosts usually support DNS so you can have a "real" domain name.
  The next step is to build your webpage. Most webpages start out as just one page, then move up to several pages linked together. You can use a simple graphical editor like Frontpage Express or Netscape Composer to build your webpage, but the best way is to learn how to edit the HTML code directly. A basic HTML page looks like this:
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Dragon's Home Page<TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
Welcome to my webpage.<BR>
I am still building it.
</BODY>
</HTML>
  The title will be displayed on the top of the window, and everything between the BODY tags is part of the webpage. You can add text effects like <B>bold</B>, <I>italics</I>, and even make a <A HREF="http://www.dragonfire.org/">link</A> to another webpage. The address goes in the quote marks, and you must include the http:// in front. To link to your e-mail address, make a mailto: link like <A HREF="mailto:your@address.net">this</A>.
  Another part of making a webpage is having graphics. Making graphics for the web is a two-step process, first you have to make it look good, then you have to make it load fast. This means compressing your images. If you open a GIF or JPEG file in Microsoft Paint (yes, you have to open one first), after that you can create and save images in those formats, however they will not be compressed. I suggest using Paint Shop Pro, particularly its image optimizers. PNG and JPEG are the best formats to use; PNG for logos and black-and-white drawings (using 8-bit color), and JPEG for photographs and color drawings. You can use GIF instead of PNG, but the problems with GIF are that it doesn't support true color or alpha transparency, has less efficient compression, and is not supported in some freeware and shareware programs due to patent issues. To add an image to a webpage, put it in the same directory and add an image tag to your HTML like this: <IMG SRC="filename.jpg"> It is very important that you use only lowercase letters when working with filenames on the internet! You will have problems with files named, for example, filename.JPG.
  Once you have your page put together, you can upload it to your web server. Internet Explorer 5.5, but not 6.0, supports an add-on from Microsoft that allows you to work with FTP sites through the explorer interface. You can also use a program like FTP Voyager to upload your files.



2006 Timoran J. Synkral. All rights reserved.