Most basic beginning question

This will seem incredibly stupid, but no one has been able to answer this for me because everyone assumes I have a certain level of knowledge. All I know is that I have a hosted domain name and some space through Dreamhost, and the teensiest of html experience (i.e. I can italicize).

Very simply, I want to create a file that I can upload as a page on my website. My cousin threw an “under construction” page up there on my site six years ago, but I have no idea what he did or where the code is.

So what I’ve done is created a test page in Word that I want to be the html code for a web page on At that point, I’m stuck. I realize I need to get it in some form somewhere and then FTP it somewhere, but every bit of that is foreign to me. What’s so frustrating is that every tutorial I find somehow assumes that I already know how to do this!

I need a baby step set of instructions on how to do this. And just because I used the acronym FTP, please don’t assume I have any clue about it. Right now, I’ve got text with html code in a Word document. That’s as much as I know.

Thank you for your patience. Todd

First of all, you are better off not using Word or any advanced word-processing application like that for HTML. That is because they insert many many hidden formating characters that will foul up the HTML coding. You are much better suited to use a simple text editor like Notepad.

So here are the BIG steps of what you need to do.

  1. Create the HTML file and save it as the name “index.html” (without the quotes)

  2. FTP this file to your DreamHost server in your ‘’ folder. (not really “”, but whatever your domain is called.

OKAY, here’s the baby steps.

(I am going to pretend that your DreamHost domain is called “”, your username is “todd” and your password is “toDD2005” but you have to replace that with whatever it really is.)

1.a) Create your HTML file in Notepad (i am going assume that your code works)
1.b) Save this file into a folder on your C: drive called "myhtml"
1.c) Close Notepad

Now you should have a file at the location "C:\myhtml\index.html"
The files icon should look like a web icon, not a Notepad icon or a Word icon.

2.a) Open a command line interface in windows. Click on Start > Run > Command
You should now be in a command shell.
2.b)Change to your new directory. Type “cd c:\myhtml” (without the quotes) and press enter.
You should now be in your new directory.
2.c) confirm you can see your html file. Type “dir” (without the quotes).
You should see “index.html” listed
2.d) Connect to your web server with FTP. Type “ftp” (without the quotes) and press enter.
You should get something like the following:

User (

2.e) Type the username - example: “todd” (withouth the quotes)
2.f) At the “Password:” prompt enter the password - example “toDD2005” (without the quotes)
2.g) Change to your web directoty. Type “cd” (without the quotes) and press enter
2.h) Copy your file to your web page. Type “put index.html” (without the quotes) and press enter.
You should get a message similar to "Transfer complete"
2.i) Close FTP, Type “bye” (without the quotes) and press enter.
2.j) Close the command console, Type “exit” (without the quotes) and press enter.

Try to connect to your web page with a browser with the address of your domain - like

I hope this helps.

There are also GUI FTP programs. I use SmartFTP ( its free. But for this one file it is easier to use the command line.


Up until 2(g) i was with you!

I’m at the "ftp> " prompt, and you ask me to change directories: cd

It says no such file or directory, which I believe, since I’ve never made one. Are you talking about “todd” as my domain name or “todd” as my username? You use “todd” for both.

When I do the former, I see: “No such file or directory”

When I do the latter, I see: Connection closed by remote host

Thanks, and I hope you read this.

the “cd” is the change directory command. The directory you are changing to is that of your web site. I used “” as an example.

Before 2.g) run the command “ls” (without the quotes, of course) to list the content of your present working directory.
Result: You shout see one of the items listed that looks like the domain name that you registered with DreamHost. (I am assuming that you registered a domain name, like “” or “” etc)
Once you identify the name of that directory, use that as the target of your “cd” command in step 2.g.

By the way…
The reseaon why you should save your HTML file as “index.html” as opposed to “whatever.html” is because “index.html” is the default file that a browser looks for when it gets to a directory.

In other words…
If you name your file “index.html” and put in the “” directory, then you can access the page from your browser with the URL address “”.
If you name your file “whatever.html”, it will still work, but you will need to enter the full address in your browser, like “”.
Think of “index.html” as the doorway to your web site.


Ok, thanks. When I was at the ftp prompt and entered “ls” i got back folders Maildir, Logs, Mail, and Public_html.

I entered
ftp> cd public_html
ftp> put c:\myhtml\index

and it worked. Maybe you can explain the reason why your directions and what I did are different. That would help my understanding. But thank you so much.

Separate from using the command line prompts, I found Microsoft Publisher and was able to get my index file up that way last night. You can see it at

(actually, the one I just did your way was a simple thing I ended up calling page4)

In my index file, though, I have a graphic up top and a photo to the side. Neither show…they do when I preview it, but not out on the web. Do you know why this might be?

Thanks so much for your help.


It is because your html source has the following to locate those files, and they have not been put in that location:


See here:

You could either upload those images with FTP or change those lines in the source to point to wherever the image files actually are (if they are already uploaded somewhere).

If only this made sense to me (see my first post). I appreciate the effort, and I’m glad to learn there’s a reason, but what you told me to do wasn’t basic enough. I learned a little from Greg’s help, so I’m not quite as bad off as yesterday, but still way below being able to know what to do from your post.

Thanks, though!

One other problem I can’t seem to solve. I can’t figure out how to get the title or subject at the very top of the Internet Explorer bar. Mine has an apparent default of “Page Title” and even though I haven’t had too many html problems thus far, I’m guessing this must be just that.

I can only guess as to why your putting it in Public_html was successful. My guess would be that you and I likely have different DreamHost plans.

On the pictures…
You will need to FTP the all of the picture files as well.

But it may not be that simple, depending on the way the HTML is pointing to the picture.

If the HTML simply has the file name (i.e. “picture.jpg”) for a path, then all you have to do is FTP the picture files to the same directory as the HTML file.

But some times the HTML is point to an absolute (or full) path. If the absolute path is to your hard drive (i.e. “C:\My pictures\vacation\picture.jpg”) then it will never work from the web for anyone but yourself. So you will want to edit the HTML so that the path contains only the file name.

If you want to get more advanced…

You can point the HTML path to a different location on the web (usually within your website.)

For example, you could create a subdirectory inside your “Public_html” directory called “images”. Then in your HTML the path to the picture would be, “./images/picture.html.” (Without the you-know-whats)

What does the path mean?
the leading “.” means the present working directory (a.k.a. pwd). So the HTML say, 'from this directory find the “images” directory, inside “images” open the “pictures” file.

Leading with the “.” in known as the relative path. What is nice about using that in your site is that it makes your site portable. All you have to do is move/copy the parent directory to anywhere, and it will still work.

You can also lead with “…/” which means to go back one directory. But thats another story.

YOU HAVE BOTH a simple file name and a relative path.

The first one is:

This means that you have to have a directory inside “Public_html” called “index_files”. And insided “index_files” you need to put your “image001.jpg” file.
(personally I would also put a “./” before the “index_files”, but that’s just me.)

The second one is:
“drivers license.jpg”

The code is not what I am used to, but I do notice that there is a space. The internet does not like spaces in file names (neither do I). You can usually get around that by enclosing the file name in quotes. Or, you can rename the file to “drivers_license.jpg” and then change the HTML. But the path is in the same location. So you should only have to FTP the “drivers license.jpg” file to the “Public_html” directory.


The “title” is defined in the “header” of the HTML doc.

Look at the top of the HTML. You will see (probably) a TON of crap. But if you examine the top area you will find this basic stuff…

whatever you want the title to be.

Now, most HTML editors (like FrontPage) put so much crap in there that this title may be way down. SO… do this…

  1. open the HTML file in Notepad
  2. Click Edit > Find, and type “page title” (without the …), and click the “Find Next” button.

This should bring you to the title area.
Just change “Page Title” (without …) to what ever you want the title to be.


This reply is a little off-topic, but here it is:
If ever there was a forum user who be nominated for a great big THANK YOU and some DreamHost swag, it should be Greg “baltags1” for his absolutely finegrained help in this thread! Wow.

Try out DreamHost with a free WebIDPrices, options

Thank you, sir. g.