Polaris: How do I create a website?

To create your webpages, it is recommended that you use Web Authoring Software such as Dreamweaver, MS Frontpage, Netscape Composer, Nvu (KompoZer), or SeaMonkey - several of which are free and very powerful. Be sure the editor you choose offers FTP Upload

Configure your web authoring software
Regardless of which software you choose, it must be configured to publish to your website. Each program is different, but common locations for the Publishing Site Settings are in the Edit menu or the Site menu. These are the settings that you will need to provide (use your username in place of jsmith9:

Site Name: My Polaris Website
HTTP (or IP) address of Web site: http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jsmith9
Publishing server (or FTP address): ftp://polaris.umuc.edu/~jsmith9/www
Username and password: Enter your Polaris username and password

Configure your UNIX account
Before you can publish your webpages to the Polaris server, you must first log into Polaris and configure your web folders. You will be creating a subfolder called www in your account on Polaris. Only files within this www folder will be visible to Web browsers. Therefore, all of your .html and graphic files (.jpg, .gif, .jpg, etc.) will go into this folder. To prepare your UNIX account to host your webpage, follow these steps:

Step 1

Log into your account through a terminal connection.

Step 2

Grant world search access on your home directory. This is needed to allow people to read your web files. Make sure that you type the periods (.) as shown in the examples. Press enter at the end of each command:

Polaris> cd (UNIX does not respond to every command. The silence means it worked.)

Polaris> chmod 711 .  (Don't forget the period!)

Step 3

Create a directory named www under your home directory. This is where all files for your webpage will go. You will need to grant world search access to this directory as well:

Polaris> mkdir www
Polaris> chmod 711 www
Polaris> exit

Your Polaris account is now set up to host your webpage(s).

Design and publish the page
While designing your page, remember to save often. If you save your webpage as a file called index.html, it can serve as your default home page. When you are ready to publish the webpage to the Internet, find the Publish or Put function of your web authoring software to move the webpages to the Polaris server. Be sure to check the box for Include images and other files. If publishing results in an error, double check your site settings (the first step in this section). If you have unknown errors, you may have exceeded your Polaris account quota.


Create your webpage manually without web authoring software
As an alternative to creating your text files on your computer and transferring them to Polaris, you may be asked to use a text editor on Polaris to create your .html files. You would still need to transfer image files to your www directory from your computer. Using one of the editors on Polaris (such as vi, jed, pico or emacs), creates a document in your www directory named index.html. Here is a very basic html file:

<html>
<body>
The content of the webpage goes here.
Thanks for visiting my site!
</body>
</html>

Save the file to your www folder as index.html. Now set the permissions. All of the files in the www directory must have world read privileges so they can be read by anyone and displayed in a browser:

Polaris> cd www
Polaris> chmod 644 *.*

Important: Don't forget to use chmod 644 *.* as shown above any time you create a new document in the www directory that is part of your Web page!

Accessing the Webpage from the Internet

You can access your webpage by using the URL: http://polaris.umuc.edu/~userid (where userid is your userid). For example, if Jane Smith had an account named jsmith9 on Polaris and she just finished setting the permissions on her webpage, she would advertise her URL as: http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jsmith9

A link would be coded like this:

<A HREF="http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jsmith9">Here's my site!</A>

The above link would appear in a browser as: Here's my site!

Because you are storing files on a Unix-based server, the spelling of all your files names is case sensitive. This means that capital and lower-case letters are different. For example, index.html is a different file from Index.html ! In addition, please avoid using filenames that contain spaces.

If you elected not to name your first page index.html, you will need to specify a file name after your userid and a slash (/) like this:
http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jsmith9/filename.html