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The FTP Option
The Netscape "File|Publish" Option
The Server Side Tools Option
Revisiting Netscape "File|Publish"
The Web Folders Option

OK, I wanted my own web domain and site.

By May, 2001, I had secured a domain name,, from a "Registrar" (NSI/Verisign).
I had secured a webspace, (space on a web server which holds the website's content) by contracting with Earthlink, my ISP, who provides web hosting services provisioned by Sprint.  (An option would have been to set up my own web server, but hey, one thing at a time , eh?)  I had learned how to make straight text .html documents like this one, which could be published.

I had even succeeded in transferring hosting of my domain name from the registrar, Verisign, to the webspace provider, Earthlink.   That is a task worthy of its own writeup!

But I had not loaded the site with any of my own content.  I wanted to do that, and take down the Earthlink "Under Construction sign on the site -- the trick was, how?  What would I need to do to actually put a page on a site, that is load it into the webspace?  These notes document what I discovered in answering that question.

The FTP Option

I had received some information from Earthlink earlier:

ELN Webmaster wrote:

Hello, and thank your (sic) for choosing us to host your website.  Welook forward to a long and successful relationship with you.

Your website has now been setup but before you can start using it theprocess of registering or transferring your domain name must be completed.

If you are registering a new domain, this process should be complete within24 hours.

If you are transferring a domain this process could take a bit longer as you will be asked to demonstrate that you have the right to request this change.  You will be receiving a separate email explaining how to do this, please watch for it.  The speed and accuracy of your responsewill determine how quickly you can access your new Website.
(Note that I decided to handle the registration change myself, rather than have ELN do it.  It took some figuring, but how else could I learn the ins and outs of registration?)

The Hostmaster will notify you via email when your Domain Registration has been completed, once you receive this email you will be able to access and start building your new website!

Creating Web Pages ------------------ You can create web pages in two ways.

First: Our web servers already contain site development tools thatyou can use, free. These tools run on our servers, not your computer.So there isn't anything for you to download or install, simply go to yourWeb Support Center at: "" and follow the "Build Your Site" link.

Or you can use traditional, "Client-side" web authoring tools.  This option allows you to create the content for your website on your owncomputer and "FTP" it up to your hosted site.  In order to do thisyou will need to setup your web authoring and/or FTP program.  Most FTP and web authoring programs will require only these settings:

FTP Hostname:      <-- In the light of later events, this turns out to be not quite it!
FTP Username:
FTP Password:  Redacted

If your FTP program needs additional information, refer to the support documentation listed under "Getting Help" below. (FrontPage userswill receive additional information in a forthcoming e-mail message.)

However both this, and the other information I had been able to find, did not overcome my ignorance sufficiently for me to actually DO anything!  So I wrote to Earthlink, and asked:

"The registered domain name has been transferred.  Now I need to knowhow to load information into the site I am paying to have you host. I found the brief description of the process quoted below but it is uselessdue to the lack of detail.  Please provide me with the detailed procedures I should use."

"Uploading To A Web Server:
In order for this HTML page we've made to be visible to people's Web browsers, we need to upload it to a Web server.
1. First, using an FTP client (in this example, we'll be using Fetch), connect to the Web server.
2. If your HTML needs to be in a particular directory, create that directory and double-click on it to open it. 3. Ask yourISP for specific directions.
4. In Fetch, you can drag your documents and images into the fetch window,and they'll be uploaded into the current directory.

Now that we've uploaded the files onto the Web server, everyone can see the page. "

(LOL, if only it were that easy!  I think the author either ran out of space or nerve, decided to give it a lick and a promise and skip out.)

And Earthlink wrote back:

Subject:           Re: - Using your NEW StarterSite!
    Date:           Mon, 07 May 2001 01:08:28 -0700
    From:           "" <>
      To:           Unknown User <>

Dear Customer,

The following is general information which will allow you to connect to your domain via FTP.

 FTP Server name:
 User name: (i.e.
 Password: sent on the welcome letter
 Folder on remote server: leave blank (unless you wish to specify a destination directory)

 You can find information on obtaining an FTP program at :

Electronic Support
EarthLink, Inc.
The #1 Provider of the Real Internet
CSR ID#: 53

Email Case ID: 1998211

The Netscape "File|Publish" Option

More of that strange "ftp" stuff, about which I know nothing and proposed to continue in blissful ignorance.  I wanted to avoid that, and in the back of my head I had a memory of long ago having read that I could publish directly from Netscape Composer.  Maybe I sould give that a try, I thought.  Besides, the Earthlink "getting help" web page had instructions for publishing with Netscape Composer, albeit version 4.0!

I began by attempting to use the Netscape 4.76 composer|File|Publish function to publish an .html file "jimsbook.htm" to my site (

I used two methods, with different, but similarily unsuccessful outcomes.

The First Method:  ELN provides, at ( its domain hosting support site, instructions for publishing with HTML editors, including Netscape.  The instructions for Netscape Composer 4.0 rely on the use of an ftp host.  Following these instructions I first use Netscape Composer's "Edit|Preferences|Composer|Publishing function to establish a default "publish to" location.

1. In the "Enter an HTTP or FTP site address to publish to:" block I enter "" (note this is the same as given me in the ELN email, augmented by the leading "ftp://")

2. In the "If publishing to a FTP site, enter the HTTP address to browse to:" block I enter ""

I then use Composer's File|Publish function, and when the "Publish" window opens:

Page Title: = Jim's Book         <-----Comes up automatically
HTML Filename: = jimsbook.htm    <-----Comes up automatically
HTTP or FTP location to publish to: =      <----Posts when I click on "Use default location" button
User name: =     <---- Entered by hand, per instruction from ELN
Password: = ** (the password given me by  ELN)

I then click on OK.  After attempting to upload the page, Netscape returns the error message:

"Netscape is unable to locate the server (no name specified).
Please check the server name and try again."

This was less satisfying than the next case, where at least the server is found and even responds.  Although it appeared to me that despite my having entered "" in the "...browse to:" block, it was not being identified or used in the upload process, and was likely a Netscape issue, it now seems that it was the "ftp" publish location that was the problem.

The Second Method attempted to aviod the use of the ftp server.  Again using Composer's File|Publish function, when the "Publish" window opens, I manually enter the information:

Page Title: = Jim's Book          <-----Comes up automatically
HTML Filename: = jimsbook.htm     <-----Comes up automatically
HTTP or FTP location to publish to: =
User name: =
Password: = ** (the password given me by

And click on OK.  After attempting to upload the page, Netscape returns the error message:

403 Forbidden - Netscape
Error uploading files
The server responded:
You don't have permission to access /jimsbook.htm on this server.

It seemed likely that this problem was a USER (that would be who?  ME?  No kidding!) or ELN/Sprint hosting issue, not a Netscape Composer issue.  My best guess was that there was something about the server environment that is not accounted for by this pocedure.  For instance, ELN may have to give me "permission" to do the upload ..but I could not imagine why that would be, or why my password would not be sufficient.

It was also possible that I was not interacting correctly with the existing structure of directories and permissions.  I might have needed information from ELN/Sprint about how to interact with the server on which they provide webspace for the site.  Things like how I should specify a directory to which I did have permission to add HTTP directories and pages when trying to upload.

Since I was only trying to establish and upload to a normal directory and file structure to the site, including files like:,, etc.

It should not be that difficult, and I didn't feel I should be getting "Forbidden - You don't have permission to access" messages.

The Server Side Tools Option

But!  In the meantime, I had discovered that the "Server Side" tools Earthlink provides are fun, and simple to use.  I used a tool called "Click-n-Build"  ( which, Inc. (ELN) provides as a tool for its users.   I have dubbed it the "Complete Idiot's Toolbox" (CIT) and refer to it, affectionately, by those initials.  Using my input, The CIT permitted me to generate a rudimentary homepage to replace the generic "under construction" sign that had been covering the webspace.

In addition, the "Site Maintenance" function permitted me to upload two .html files from my computer, using CIT's native upload facility.  Although learning to use the tool was a dicey process (I felt like I was hacking my own web site) I was able to get the Netscape generated pages posted, and verify that links to them from the site's homepage worked.

(One little glitch here!  When you access a page, then update it by uploading a new version, then access it again, in a short period of time.... you may not see your update, but the old page instead!  Why?  To make local access faster, and keep traffic on the net down, your computer will use a page in cache, and routers can "cache" or store pages near you, on the off chance you will want it again.  So when you try to look at your update, you get the cached page instead.  If you don't remember what is really happening, you think your updates are getting lost as I did.  Maddening.  Using "Reload" seems to get the updated page if you are in Netscape.)

Using the CIT let me get the site up and running, and it is a nice tool.  After the initial confusion about the updates, I used the "Site Maintenance" tool to detect the fact that "Publishing" the CIT generated home page created a new "index.html" file which my browser found and opened.  It seems that a server managing a webspace is configured to look for a default homepage file, in the case of ELN/Sprint "index.html" or "index.htm", and to open that file when a site is accessed with no other file name specified.

But, in a sense, CIT should be irrelevant.  Why use the CIT at all?  I don't mind using the CIT Site Maintenance tool, understand.  In fact it is a real convenience.  But the CIT was interposed between me and my webspace and site in a way that interfered with my learning, and could have inhibited my doing what I want with the site.

The CIT only provides for three (3)! links on the home page (/index.html)that it generates.  That is a limit of three web pages linked from the home page, boys and girls!  A mite ridiculous, isn't it?  And there is very little in the way of formatting options for the textual information I want to include on the page.  (I am not much for "Glossy Brochure" pages.)  It was very clear that I would have to replace the CIT generated "home" page with one of my own design.

Revisiting Netscape "File|Publish"

It is also logical to be able to upload my own content directly to my site, is it not?  So why could I not upload to the hosted webspace for MY domain from MY computer, with MY ELN provided password, using Netscape?  Had the server's settings blocked that capability, or was I just knocking on the wrong door?  So, I wrote to ELN, once again, including most of the above, and they wrote back, twice!

    Date:           Mon, 14 May 2001 15:42:52 -0700
    From:          "" <>
    To:             Unknown User <>

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your reply.

The file you were trying to replace on the server did not have an owner.  This has been fixed now so that
you are the owner of all your files.  You should be able to publish with Netscape at this time.

Please let us know if we may be of further assistance.

Casey D.
Electronic Support
EarthLink, Inc.
The #1 Provider of the Real Internet
CSR ID#: 53

Email Case ID: 2092123

Then I received a second response from Earthlink:

Subject:           Re: - Using your NEW StarterSite!
    Date:           Fri, 18 May 2001 19:24:53 -0700
    From:           "" <>
      To:           Unknown User <>

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us.

The full release of Netscape Communicator included Netscape Composer, a program that you can use to
create and upload your web pages to your Domain Web Site.

The following is a detailed description of how to configure and use Netscape Composer to connect to your

The first thing you will need to do is open up Composer. You can do this in a number of ways.

1. In the bottom right hand corner of the Netscape main window you will see a small icon of a pen on top
of a ream of paper. Click on this to open Composer.
2. Or, click on Communicator from the menu bar. Click on Composer.
3. Or, From the Communicator window press the ctrl and the number 4 (the one at the top of the
keyboard) key at the same time.
4. Or, Click on File from the Communicator menu bar. Click on Edit Page.

Any of these will open Netscape's Composer. Once that is achieved you can use the following procedure to
configure it to login to your site.

1. Click on Edit.
2. Click on Preferences.
3. Click on the (+) beside Composer.
4. Click on Publishing.
5. The box beside "Maintain links" should be checked.
6. The box beside "Keep images with page" should be checked.
7. In the field reading "Enter a FTP or HTTP site address to Publish to:" type:         <-- Note this additional qualifier, NOT included in the prior instructions from Earthlink.  I wonder if that was the source of my original problem, since everything else seems in order.  If the first  ELN solution is correct, it was the "ownerless" state of files on the site that caused the problem.  Or maybe there were two problems all along; the "ownerless" state of the site's files and the missing ftp site qualifier.

8. In the field reading "If publishing to a FTP site, enter the HTTP address to browse to:" type:
(replacing domain with your domain name and .com if applicable)
9.Click on OK.

Netscape will now be able to connect and upload your pages to the server.

Once you have completed creating your page (s) the following procedure will upload them to be viewed on
the web:

1. Click the Publish button on the Composition Toolbar.
2. In the field reading "Page Title" type in a name for the page (i.e. "My Home Page").
3. In the field reading "HTML Filename" type in the actual filename of your page (i.e. "index.html", if this is
the page you wish to have displayed first it must be named index.html all lowercase) Keep in mind that the
only characters that are allowed in filenames are numbers, letters and the underscore character _ , any
others may cause a problem, and a space is invalid.
4. In the field reading "User name:" type your
5. In the field reading "Password:" type your password (this was included in your welcome letter).
6. If you wish you may check the box reading "Save Password".
7. If there are any linked files to this page (i.e. images, sound files, etc.) insure that they are selected in the
field under "Other files to include"
8. Click on OK.

Netscape will now upload your page. After a few moments you will receive a confirmation window. Your
files have been uploaded.

You can see them uploaded (and do any troubleshooting) by accessing you page at:  (

You can find more information about Netscape at their support site:

We have additional online resources available at:
The Website Workshop:

The Web Support Main Menu:

Please let us know if we may be of further assistance.

Electronic Support
EarthLink, Inc.
The #1 Provider of the Real Internet
CSR ID#: 54

Email Case ID: 2088115

OK!  This is real meat and potatos stuff.  "Files did not have an owner!"   That seemed to mean it was NOT my issue, but the way permissions, etc. had been set up on the server.  If ELN was right, and the problem with using the Netscape Composer File|Publish feature had been solved, I could manage the webspace directly.

The Quality of Service Earthlink is known for has come through again.  This responsiveness to my query to them over the weekend is characteristic of ELN, and is why I am an enthusiatic ELN customer.  These two emails together are a comprehensive, clear, and responsive reply to my appeal for help, and I did write back to tell them so.

And Earthlink has confirmed that I can establish a new homepage simply by uploading one with the proper name - "index.html"

The Web Folders Option

Before I could attempt apply the Earthlink instructions, however, I ran into "web folders."  Web folders is a feature of Windows 98, which lets Windows Explorer become a server, and makes it possible to look at files on your web site as if it were an extension of your local machine!  Not present in all W98 installations, I had downloaded it from Microsoft's Windows Update site, so it was readily available to me.  I opened Web Folders icon in Windows Explorer, entered the user name and password Earthink had provided to me, and walla!, I could see my sites directory and file structure.  And, presumably, drag and drop files from my machine to my web site.  So I did.   ;)  Stunning!

The Web Folders facility is installed with Internet Explorer 5.5, but not IE 6.  This means that after installing a new Windows OS, it is important, if you want access to this facility, to install IE 5.5 and upgrade to IE 6, rather than installing IE 6 directly.

Additional Notes RE: DNS Services

I managed to get an outfit providing DNS services,, to give me the following information:

DNS services for you (are) being provided by earthlink, as shown by querying who the authoritative DNS servers are for your domain:

# host -t NS name server name server

Network solutions, on the other hand, is your registrar, as witnessed by a "whois" query:

# telnet 43
Connected to (
Escape character is '^]'.

Whois Server Version 1.3

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered with many different competing registrars. Go to for detailed information.

   Domain Name: JIMPIVONKA.COM
   Whois Server:
   Referral URL:
   Name Server: DNS3.EARTHLINK.NET
   Name Server: DNS2.EARTHLINK.NET
   Status: ACTIVE
   Updated Date: 25-jun-2003
   Creation Date: 28-jun-2000
   Expiration Date: 28-jun-2004

What this all means is that you need to deal with Network Solutions if you wish to change your DNS servers to use our services. If you continue to use Earthlink, you need to deal with them to change EXISTING DNS records for your domain.
SecuritySpace Support wrote:
I should know more about this than I do, and regret having to ask for your assistance with elementary issues.

My registrar for is NSI.

My webspace provider, hosting my website, is Earthlink, under a marketing agreement with Sprint hosting services.

Where do DNS services fit in here?  I am tempted to assume that NSI is providing DNS services, but maybe it is Earthlink.

I handled the handoff from NSI's Domanin Name "parking" service to Earthlink's hosting service myself, and assume the DNS service issue came up in that process, but it has been a couple of years and I have forgotten the details.

Sorry for the foolish question, but your assistance will be appreciated.

May, 2001.  Revised February, 2004.