I don't know where to begin!


#1

I am new to dreamhost and website editing in general.

Recently I was entrusted with the task of editing and updating an already existing website that has been hosted by dreamhost for some time. Unfortunately I was not given any instructions beyond the username and password for the dreamhost account (others who have edited the site in the past are inaccessible).

I’ve been exploring the dreamhost site for about an hour trying to figure out where to go to edit my website, but without success. So I have a couple of questions:

  1. What area do you go to to edit your website?
  2. If that area is protected with an additional password, how do you reset those passwords so that you can access that area?

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!

casag


#2

first off if its some sort of business website you should tell the client that you are completely inexperienced and give them a chance to hire someone who knows what they are doing vs risking you killing their website.

if they still want you to figure it out you should start by learning the language (html, php, mysql and in that order you cannot go wrong). learn how to use a ftp program (filezilla is good and free. i use fireftp from my browser on occasion - i use firefox - and i’m also a fan of smartftp and flashfxp).

taking up management of an existing website can be tricky. you need to know (or be able to recognize) how the website was made. is it a website with static pages? did they make it with dreamweaver or some other gui type editor? did they simply whip it up in a text editor? is it a more dynamic site using a content management system (cms) like drupal or joomla? did they customize blogging software like wordpress? there are just too many variables for me to give you an adequate answer but those questions are definitely something you need to find out or discern for yourself.

also as far as a password protected directory it depends on what software they are using for the website and just how its protected (via .htaccess maybe or something controlled by the cms?). if you have credentials to log into the account via FTP or SSH you don’t even really need to know it though. is there some reason the client didn’t tell you the password for that part of the site? you might not want to reset it if it is widely used by the company, might just ask the client what it was.

now you can log into the dh panel and use the webftp (go to manage domains and you would see the link under the domain name) and download any files for editing. i would recommend that you get your own ftp program and learn how to use it. for code editing notepad would do the job if you had nothing else but I use Editpad for my text editing needs. the lite version is free but the pro version has more bells and whistles that appeal to me. i hear notepad++ is great too though and completely free.

i know my post is a bit long winded but i cannot stress enough how important it is for you to learn the lingo. you should have a good understanding of html at least. i am sure you can get books on it at your local library if you don’t want to purchase any. also there are tons of online resources if you look for tutorials. i learned everything i know about web development online without paying a cent. you do not necessarily need to have any php or mysql skills if you are using a cms but it would help greatly in case you have a need for some advanced troubleshooting if the website does use something like that. start learning how to make pages and what not first before you go mucking about on a website you didn’t make, especially if it is already ‘live’. ignorance is not bliss when it comes to this sort of thing.


#3

I feel for you. You may be an unwilling participant in this editing business but have to carry on. I know very little about this website stuff myself but here’s how I think of it: Dreamhost is a library. Each website hosted by DH is a book. Each book is written in a language (like HTML or Flash). You need access to your book, not the library. But you have to be able to read your book. Some books come with a translator built in (like Word Press) so you don’t have to know the language. You can start editing if you can access the “dashboard” or content management system. Get to that and you’re golden. Hope this helps!

I am new to dreamhost and website editing in general.

Recently I was entrusted with the task of editing and updating an already existing website that has been hosted by dreamhost for some time. Unfortunately I was not given any instructions beyond the username and password for the dreamhost account (others who have edited the site in the past are inaccessible).

I’ve been exploring the dreamhost site for about an hour trying to figure out where to go to edit my website, but without success. So I have a couple of questions:

  1. What area do you go to to edit your website?
  2. If that area is protected with an additional password, how do you reset those passwords so that you can access that area?

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!

casag
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#4

Casag, does the advice so far help you begin to figure this out? We might be able to guide you a bit more if you can figure out how the site they want you to manage was created.

If they used a CMS or Blog application to build it with, you should have been given that log-in Admin info also. You would log-in to a dashboard or admin menu and control the front end from that.

If it is static pages, you would correct them offline with a text editor or an HTML/WYSIWYG editor or program (such as Dreamweaver) and then upload them to the webserver via FTP, writing over the old pages.

If it is built with a CMS and you have no log-in info but do have complete DH panel access you could probably figure it out by looking through the information there. It would take some knowledge of how dynamic websites are structured and databases, though.

What is the domain? Can you share it here?


#5

Thank you for all your suggestions. It seems like I need to explain a little more about the situation.

First, the website belongs to a small nonprofit I’m associated with. It hasn’t been updated in two years, so the director of the organization asked if I could look into editing it, but I’m only taking on the task of editing it as a volunteer, maybe working on it several hours a week. Unfortunately, those who had previously created and updated the website are no longer associated with the nonprofit (they had only been volunteers themselves). The director does not know anything about the web design and has never worked on the website (apart from providing information to put on it). She only knows the username and password for the dreamhost account that hosts the website, which she already passed along to me.

The website itself is no more than about a dozen static webpages with text and pictures. It’s an html website. My task isn’t really to change anything about the design of the website but simply to update the text and pictures. I have some resources on how to edit html and I’m sure I can find more much on the internet, but before I can do that the first problem I have to tackle is accessing the website’s data.

From what I can understand (which could be totally off), the way to access my website’s data through dreamhost is by following the webFTP and/or FTP link under the domain name on the manage domains page. The problem is that when I click the link I’m asked to provide a password that neither I nor the director knows. Is there a way to reset this password? Is there another way to access my website’s data? Ryo-ohki mentioned downloading an FTP program, is that what I need or is that for something else?

casag


#6

It would be beneficial for you if you got your own ftp program (like filezilla since its free). With the ftp program (tho the webftp can do it too) you download a copy of the file to your local hard drive. Then you edit it in whatever text editor you have (as I said before notepad will do if there is nothing else).

Now as far as the ftp password there are some things you can do. When you log into the DH control panel go to Mange Domains. It should show your domain name and also what user it is under. If it is not under your main user (that you have used to log in) simply click on edit and under Users, Files, and Paths put the drop down box on the user you have the password for. If you don’t want to do that go to Manage Users and beside the user you want click edit and change the password there. You could also get into the whole unix groups thing but I think that’s more overboard for your purposes :slight_smile:


#7

Problem solved! I got a new FTP password and can access what I need to. Thanks Ryo-ohki.

Now it’s time to download filezilla and work on the files.