FrontPage 2002 Tutorials - Prepare before publishing your site - All About Publishing with FrontPage 2002 Part 1, Doing Your Homework First
by Tina Clarke
(some tutorials cover FrontPage 2000 as well)
You have crafted your first site and you're ready to publish it to the big wide world, but are you? It’s best to do some preparation before you take that next step.
First prepare your site for search engine optimisation. This was covered in the article, Optimizing Your FrontPage Site for Search Engines
Let’s make a checklist. This will be handy for future publishing and help keep everything in tiptop shape.
- Check for broken hyperlinks
- Review the status of your files in Reports view
- Verify that the pages look the way you want them to
- Preview the web site in a Web browser and navigate through the site
- Recalculate hyperlinks
I have covered how to accomplish these items in much greater detail in the article Site Cleanup.
The last item is something you SHOULD do before every publish. Simply go to ‘Tools’ on the FrontPage menu bar and press ‘Recalculate Hyperlinks’.
NOTE: Make sure you have all pages closed.
The following message may appear:
Press ‘Yes’ and the web will update hyperlinks and text indices and note this in the FrontPage status bar.
Now that your web is prepared, we have one more step, which is making a backup, this can be done in a variety of ways. I covered how to accomplish this in an article named
Backing Up FrontPage Webs.
Your website is now prepared and backed up ... are we ready to publish yet? Not quite. First you need to establish your requirements and obtain a domain name and hosting. If you just want to practice or don’t have the money yet for that (though it can be quite cheap) the best thing to use is a FREE FrontPage Hosts/ISP that maintain FrontPage Server Extensions.
First, you should never buy your domain name from your host or accept a ‘Free’ domain name from them. If your hosting experience turns out to be a nightmare despite all your preparation, you want to be able to point your name servers at your new host and not have to fight to free your domain from the clutches of your host. Or, in the case of being given a free one, look at their terms of acceptance: if you decide to move hosts, is the domain even yours? Do you then have to shell out money for the domain at THEIR prices?
The best thing to do is to buy your domain from a domain seller, such as namecheap. Their price for .com TLDs etc is $8.88 a year. The support is good and when I asked around I could not find anyone that had had a problem with them. If you live in the UK I can personally recommend 123-reg for .co.uk domains as being the cheapest and the support is 100% spot on.
When choosing the name for your domain it’s best to try and insert your main keyword that reoccurs in your content (usually the subject your site is about). Use Nameboy. It will generate domain names based on the keywords you enter.
When I chose my own domain name you were not allowed to use frontpage in the domain name and the .com was gone because I waited to obtain it, even though I had been using the name for more than a year on a free host. .com is the most popular TLD and you're best getting a .com if you can. If not, get a .net.
If you know the name you want, buy it immediately even if you're not ready to launch your site. I now like the fact that my domain name is a .net though and AccessFP.net is a name that is familiar now on most main FrontPage resource sites and I would not want to change the name. Also because it starts with a ‘A’ it usually comes at the top of most A-Z listings.
I thought the name up because I had read somewhere about this and it’s paid off quite a bit for those kind of listings. Try to avoid hyphens and abbreviations which make a domain name difficult to remember and keep it as short as you can.
- Insert your main keyword into the name if possible.
- If possible start the name with an ‘A’.
- Try to obtain a .com if possible.
- Avoid using hyphens and abbreviations. Domains cannot end or begin with a hyphen and only letters/numbers/hyphens should be used.
- Short is sweet when it comes to a domain name, as your visitors will have to remember it and type it. The minimum length allowed is three characters.
Domain names that will not work under conventional circumstances:
- www.access.fp.net - You cannot use periods inside a "www" domain name.
- www.-accessfp-.com - You cannot begin or end a domain name with a hyphen.
- www.tina'swebsite.com - This will not work because it contains an apostrophe--an invalid character.
- www.access fp.com - Spaces are not allowed in domain names.
- www.frontpage$$$.com - "$" is an invalid character.
- www.tiña.com - Extended ASCII is not supported for domain registration. Characters must be chosen from the English alphabet.
Make sure you register the domain in your name and that you ask for a reminder to be sent when the renewal date arrives, but make a note on your calendar too, since you don’t want to lose your domain after all your hard work.
NOTE: .co.uk domains are by law required to be sold for a minimum of two years.
How have you developed your web? Do you require server-side scripting languages such as?
Determining which environment best suits your needs can be bewildering and Webmonkey comes to the rescue with an excellent tutorial called ‘Server-side scripting shootout’.
Have you made a database?
Learn just enough SQL, VBScript, ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), and ASP stuff to scrape by and take a crash course with Webmonkey in their four easy lessons entitled, 'Your First Database'
NOTE: To display database information in your web site, your site must be hosted on a web server that supports Active Server Pages (ASP) and ActiveX Data Objects (ADO).
Will you be requiring a Shopping Cart? Does the host have one as part of the package even if you have to pay extra for it and what needs does a third party shopping cart require?
Works directly with FrontPage
Do you have a merchant account and require a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate?
SSL uses https in the URL and a little gold lock is present in the web browser status bar to denote the page is secure. The main Certificate Authorities are:Verisign and Verisign Still, keep an eye out for spoofing.
The Security Education Centre has some good beginner guides on what to watch out for.
Is this website going to be using the components that require FrontPage Server Extensions?
When a web host says, "We support FrontPage”, remember that you need FrontPage Server extension support also. They should state "We support FrontPage Server Extensions". If they don't, query it till they give you a written statement that they do support them and ask them to state that on their site. Go elsewhere if they don't know this basic fact, because chances are that they don't know too much about extensions either. When a host says "We support FrontPage", they merely mean you can use FrontPage the same as any other web editor with ftp capability. If you want to use FrontPage with web bots then you need the FrontPage Server Extensions.
Two other facts to keep in mind: Do they support sub webs and what version of FrontPage Server Extensions do you support? It's no good getting the latest FrontPage 2003 to use SharePoint only to find that you’re on a host with FrontPage 2000 server extensions. Not every host (most in fact) supplies the Server extensions for SharePoint without you having to pay extra. Establish they do in fact have this facility and how much extra it will cost you.
You might think I would recommend hosting review sites to check over what is good and bad, but in my opinion, a better policy is to ask people you know for feedback on their own hosts, or post to a web forum or email group. These review sites are usually setup to provide themselves with monetary gains and have no significance in the real world. Word of mouth is your best bet. However, you can still fall foul of hosting companies trying to offer you a special deal when they see your post, so be sure to say that you only want to hear from current or former customers and that current customers should include the URL of a website hosted with the company.
When you have built up a list of recommendations from friends, family, lists and forums you frequent, visit the host’s site’s to check out that what you have been told to be sure the hosts do actually meet your own requirements.
The Essential Criteria. All hosts must meet these basic requirements, otherwise they are not worth your time.
- 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee for both the monthly fee and installation fee (if included) or 90-day if quarterly paid. Terms by the month, not yearly, once guarantee period ended.
- Monthly or quarterly at the very least, payment options. NOTE: NEVER sign up with a host that requires you to pay for the entire year in advance.
- Virtual hosting of an existing domain name. NOTE: Don’t buy your domain from your host, see Obtaining your domain name above for further details.
- Free 24/7 reliable tech support, with telephone, either Toll-free or Local.
- Payment options should give the choice of cheque, credit card, money order and Paypal. NOTE: If you're paying a host in America but live in the UK the cheapest option is Paypal as regards the exchange rate charge, depending on your credit card or cheque options with your bank.
- POP3 E-Mail Accounts
- Email Forwarding
- Password Protection
What else should you look for in a host?
- If the host has had their websites less than a year, cross them off your list, you can do a whois lookup at http://whois.net/ and check the date the record was created.
- Hardware considerations should be in the realm of Pentium IIS, 400mhz or better on multiple T3 or OC3.
- Speed comparisons (How fast the page loads) should be done at the same time of day, one after the other, remember to empty your cache first. What is their distance to the Backbone?
- How many customers do they serve and what is their uptime percentage?
- Make sure the host does not accept adult/hate/racially abusive sites.
- Reseller/affiliate program
- If you require FrontPage Server Extensions then you must check they have the version you need.
- Do you want a UNIX or Windows server?
- Windows servers support ASP/ActiveX/MS Access/MS SQL/VBA/FrontPage Server Extensions
- Unix servers support Perl/PHP/MySQL/SSH/
How much bandwidth do you require? See this excellent article on ‘How To Reduce Web Hosting Bandwidth’ Unmetered bandwidth is best. I’ve had to move from one host and pay a charge because I’d underestimated the increase in visitors.
How much Disk space? – You can calculate the size of your web in Reports Summary View. It will give you the total file size in kb (kilobytes). 20 pages are equal to about 3mb (megabytes) so only pay for what you need, usually the minimum amount is 10mb and this will be more than enough in most cases.
Keep in mind the growth of the site. Will you require more services? Can you upgrade if so? I need to upgrade my hosting package for AccessFP but my host does not cover what I want, I’ll have to look elsewhere. I knew this when I obtained hosting with them, but I had to move in a hurry because of the aforementioned bandwidth problem. I had to move from that host because of problems before that, if you want to read about my sorry saga see Issue 3. I now have a personal reseller account with
Then start some searches on Deja
NOTE: Check on different arrangements of a host's name for example. OneStopHosting, you should search on both OneStopHosting and OneStop Hosting (as one word and as two words) to give you a wider range of messages.
If you want the full Monty on choosing a web host this book (available in electronic format) from Poor Richard’s Web Site: entitled ‘Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice On Building A Low-Cost Web Site’, Second Edition, by Peter Kent is a goo d resource. In the UK you can request books from your local library. It may take a while if they don’t have it available, but they will get it for you.
When you have narrowed your list still further it’s time to write to your shortlist and test them on their response time in getting back to you. Start at the beginning of the business day and you should get a reply (not an autoresponder) back within the hour. If the host is of that breed called the part time hobbyist who resells to make a little extra money, chances are they have left for work and you won’t get a response till they come home ... stir clear of this type. You want to be asking for your personal requirements and mention those basic needs above.
Now you have done all this hard work and you’ve narrowed it down. If you can’t choose between them, go for the cheaper price structure. Perhaps you think I should have been discussing price first? Not really. If your website is going to be your new online business you should be prepared to pay for what you need. There are ceilings though to what a host offers in general around the net and, on the other hand, you don’t want to be paying an exorbitant price unnecessarily. Good hosts realise this and will maintain a good solid price and not try to overcharge you.
If, despite all your hard work, things don’t work out, you’re going to be ok because you did your homework. You have a researched backup host at hand. You have your domain hosted with your domain seller and it’s just a matter of inserting the new name servers. Lastly, you only paid for a month or a quarter at most and you have a 30- or 90-day money back guarantee.
If your Internet service provider (ISP) has the Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions or SharePoint Team Services from Microsoft installed, you can publish to the Web server using HTTP. Otherwise, you can use Microsoft FrontPage to publish your web site to an FTP server.
NOTE: If you publish to a location on your local computer, your web site will not have the full FrontPage functionality unless your computer is a server that has the server extensions or SharePoint Team Services installed.
Choose one of the following:
- Publish to a Web server (HTTP)
- Publish to an FTP server
- Publish to a location on your hard drive
Locations/addresses to publish to:
- Your hard drive: c:\my webs\new web
- A network drive: \\myserver\path\new web
- A Web server on the Internet: http://www.mydomainname.com
- A Web server on your company's network: http://webserver/myweb
NOTE: Check the welcome emails or FAQs at your new host. They will have their own idea, of what the homepage should be called, most commonly they are either:
You must change your homepage file name to what the host requires. Click on the homepage file in ‘Folders View’ right click and choose ‘rename’, type in the new file name with the correct extension. FrontPage will produce a dialog box that asks you if you are sure you want to rename “index.html”, the homepage of your website because you are renaming the home page for your web site. This could cause broken links, broken link bars and errors when publishing. Press Yes. It will then ask you: ‘If you change the file name extension, the file may become unusable are you sure you want to change it?’ Say yes again.
First Published in ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume 23, April 2003