thanks scott. go easy on the sarcasm, ok? this is a beginner's forum.
i understand where the 'right' place for the index file to be is, but i am not the kludge who designed the site in the first place, and i am not a php developer so i'm trying to keep the what little integrity there is to the files so the site won't break as i transfer it over to my hosting.
each time i moved the index file, or all the files, out of the home subfolder and into the straight up 'domain.com' folder, i would get fatal error messages saying the require files were not found, even though the rel paths were correct.
i ended up using your html redirect tip, thank you for that. i would still like to understand why just putting all the files and subfolders directly into the domain.com folder yielded errors, though, to expand my knowledge.