How to set up your own Home Page

Here are the rules:

Here's how to do it:

  1. Learning HTML.
  2. Creating your own Home Page.
  3. Upload it to the Mid North Coast Internet system.
  4. Adding a Page Counter to your Home Page

Go to "Users' Home Pages"

Return to the Mid North Coast Internet Home Page

Learning HTML

HTML is the language used to create the Web Pages. It consists of various codes embedded in your document to identify the format of your Page. For example, if you want a Heading in larger font, you enter appropriate Header codes surrounding that text. It is not difficult, and we are confident you will master the basic essentials quickly and easily.

Learning the language is perhaps the main activity for you in preparing your Home Page. We will not go into detail here about the HTML language itself as this subject is already well covered elsewhere, and you can use the links in the HTML Reference to get that information. I tried to include as many links as possible in that "HTML Reference" to help you find whatever you might want to know about creating your Web Page.

You can use an ordinary text editor to prepare the file. Word processors are not suitable unless you can save the file as a plain ASCII file or unless they have special support for HTML . We need to finish up with a file containing HTML codes and text and it must be in plain ASCII format.

If you are serious about creating Web Pages, you should have a look at some special HTML tools such as HotDog, a low cost Shareware program. See HotDog Web Editor for more information on HotDog.

There are lots of other HTML editors available too in our TUCOWS library. Things are developing quickly in this field so have another look from time to time to see what new software is available.

We suggest you start with a simple text page including just a few headings and perhaps some highlighting using bold characters, and that sort of thing. Don't try to use up your 5Mbyte limit just yet - just a few KB for now will do to get you on the Web and let people know you are here. You can have a look into the options for graphics and HyperText links as you build up your Page later. You might include in your Page a request for help if you feel you need assistance from other users.

Simple Starter Page
To give you an idea, and to help get you started, we have created a simple Starter Page.

Click Starter Page to see what this simple example looks like on the screen.

Note, many Web Browsers allow you to display the source code for any Page you have on your screen. For example in Netscape you can select "View/Source" to see the actual HTML code used for that Page. This is a great way to learn and to develop techniques because you can see how other people do it. Try it now, although this particular document is a relatively long one and may seem a little daunting at first. But try it while you have the Starter Page on the screen. You will see what the HTML file looks like for that simple Starter Page.

Your Web Browser program should also provide a facility to Save the current Page as a file. So, to get a copy of that Sample HTML file on to your system, call it up and select the "File/Save" or "File/Save As" option (or similar option in your Browser). Now you will have a copy of the file on your system to play with. You can use your favourite text editor to adjust the text to insert your own information, perhaps even experimenting with the layout and format of the Page.

There is a copy of the STARTER.HTML file in the www Directory of our FTP library on this system so if you have an FTP program available, you can get a copy that way if you prefer. There should be some other Web-related stuff in there too, so check it out. Note, that you might experience difficulty downloading a copy of the sample Starter Page from the FTP library if you do it from here with your Web Browser. This is because the Browser will recognise that file as a valid HTML document and will quite likely decide to display it on your screen instead of saving it to disk! This is one case where an FTP program is better than your all-purpose Browser. But, by all means have a look at the www Directory and see what else is available there.

By the way, you will sometimes notice the HTML file has a three character extension (eg STARTER.HTM) and sometimes we see a four character extension (eg: STARTER.HTML). Some computer operating systems can handle only three characters for the file extension but in UNIX, which is the system that carries most of the Internet services, there is no such limitation and the full extension of HTML is generally used. We would like to stay in the mainstream and stick with the more common four character extension on this system. After you have uploaded your Home Page to this system (refer Upload it to the Mid North Coast Internet system) it will be automatically renamed from ".htm" to the full html extension (".html"). So, if you are writing more than one HTML page with links from one to the other, please keep in mind your files will be stored on the Web Server with the full 4 character extension. Eg: /users/myname/page2.html not /users/myname/page2.htm

In recent times we have seen a number of enhancements to the original HTML standards and one of the more popular enhancements is the introduction of "frames". Frames are used to divide a Web Page into two or more smaller sections of the display, where each frame or section can be used to display separate, individually scrollable "pages" of information. This is a more advanced technique and we suggest you stick with the simpler methods to start with. But when you are ready for it, have a look at Dane Clarke's Tutorials to get some detailed information on the use of frames.

What have we achieved so far? You have access to a sample HTML file to help get you going. You can display that one on your screen and you can have a look at the source code to get an idea of the style of the language and some of the more common codes it uses. That should be enough for most people to make up a simple Page of their own. Or at least modify that sample Page to include some information of their own and get it on the Internet for all the world to see.

And you have access to lots of reference material if you want to get more deeply involved in the HTML language to get a bit more fancy with your Page.


Now that you understand something about the format of an HTML file and some of the basic codes used, move on to the next section on Creating your own Home Page for information on how to do it. There, we will show you how to make your changes to your Page and display the results.

Or return to the "How To" list.

Creating your own Home Page

We will assume at this stage that you have covered the points mentioned in the first section on Learning HTML. Of course, we do not expect you to have mastered the language just yet but that you have at least some understanding of the format and the style of HTML coding. And we will assume you have a copy of the Starter Page document, either from downloading it or from retyping your own copy.

In this section we will be using that document as a basis for making some changes so you can see what is involved in setting up your own Page. The exercise here is mainly in getting some changes into the document and then displaying the results so you can see what the procedures are. The actual content of your Page is up to you and your own creativity. We do not intend to tell you what it should look like.

After you get something online, you will probably find you are starting to take more notice of others peoples' Pages and will start to get some more ideas of your own. And, by looking at their HTML code you will learn more and develop better techniques for your Page. If you want, that is. Many people are simply happy to have their name in print - the style and presentation is not so important to them. That's OK too.

Loading your Browser
Before we get into the changes, we need to find out how to display your file so you can actually observe the results of any changes you make. We cannot cover all Browsers here but those we have seen seem to work in much the same way, so let's assume they ALL work the same way. (Let's know if yours doesn't work this way please).

Start your Web Browser program.

In many cases this will automatically activate your modem and commence dialling to establish a connection with the Internet. We do not need to be connected to work on this local development so check your dialler software options.

For example if you are using Trumpet Winsock, there are some options in the Dialler/Options to specify automatic dialling. For this exercise, switch that off so there is no automatic login. And make sure you have Online Status Detection set to "None" in the Setup. There should be similar options in other diallers so have a look to see if you can achieve the same result with your dialler program. I suggest you make a note of all the settings BEFORE making any changes so at least you can get back to where you started.

You might need also need to adjust the Preferences in your Browser to start with a Blank Page instead of the usual Home Page on startup.

Oh, one more might have to have your modem powered on, even though we are not intending to dial up in this case. Sometimes the software wants to check the modem anyway!

A little experimentation here should allow you to start your Browser without having to go online to the Internet.

OK, you have your Browser loaded. Instead of selecting some particular Home Page to display, select the File/Open option from the Menu. That allows us to load in a local HTML file from our Hard Disk instead of loading it the usual way over the Internet. When it asks for the file name, specify the name (and directory) of your STARTER document. Hey, it comes up on the screen all nicely formatted according to the HTML codes in the document. If your Browser has a Bookmark feature, you might find it convenient to add this one to the Bookmarks to make it easier to come back to it next time.

Changing your HTML file
Now, all you have to do is to go edit your document with a text editor and select Reload on your Browser to see the changed version. Don't forget the Reload because in many cases the Browser keeps some things in memory and when you go back to the Browser, it might not get the updated copy and you will be wondering why your changes are not appearing on the screen.

Most systems, nowadays, allow you to multitask - that is, to run more than one program at a time and this is an ideal application for multitasking. Leave the Browser running while you switch over to your text editor to make some changes; then save the file without shutting down the editor and switch back to the Browser. It sounds complicated to explain in writing but if you are new to all of this, just ask someone and you will find it falls into place quickly.

OK. It's all over bar the shouting now!

With the Starter file loaded into your text editor, let's make a couple of changes and see the effect of those changes. Firstly, look for the document TITLE and change the text between the <TITLE> codes to read something more relevant to your own Home Page, perhaps using your name. Eg: Frederick Nurk's Home Page. This text is usually shown in the Window Heading of your Browser so have a look for the new text next time you reload this file into the Browser.

Next, come down to the main Heading on the document. That is the one where we have the <H1> codes indicating Heading Level 1. Change that text (but leave the Heading codes there) to show just your name. Eg. Fred Nurk.

That will do. Save the file and switch over to your Browser. Reload the document and have a look at your new Home Page!
Taaa daaaaaaa - you have a customised Home Page of your own now! Well, maybe there is a bit more to do yet to finish it off, but with this, you have the knowledge and the facilities to create the Page of your dreams.

Using the references you looked at (and maybe printed) from the earlier section, try a few things such as making some things bold for emphasis or highlighting. Experiment with different levels of Heading such as <H3> or <H4> but dont forget to put the matching code such as </H3> (etc) after your heading text! Add some separator lines (with the <HR> code) if you think that improves the appearance. But every time you make some changes to the file, check the new results with your Browser to ensure you have not wrecked the file with some obscure mistakes in your coding.

What to put in there?
Now that you have the mechanism working, you can focus your mind on the creative bit. What are you going to put in your Home Page? We believe this will evolve as others make up some interesting Pages and we will all get some better ideas by learning from each other. But to start with why not include the basic information about yourself such as your name, your username and email address on this system, personal interests and hobbies, any special topics you would like to discuss with others, your favourite football team, your views on the French Nuclear Tests - anything at all. You are welcome to include your telephone number and private address if you wish.

Additional files
If you wish to include a Mug Shot or other graphics, that is fine provided the total text and graphics is under the 5Mbytes limit.

We will create a subdirectory here for you and will place all your Web files into that subdirectory. (The subdirectory will have the same name as your username). So, if you are a little ambitious and are including some additional graphics or HTML files, they will all go into that directory and you need not be concerned about path details in your HTML code. Just refer to the filename itself and the system should work just fine.

Let's say my username is "freddy" and I have submitted a GIF file (for example "myhouse.gif"). In my HTML code I will need to place a reference to the GIF file, and the syntax for that would be:

    <IMG SRC="myhouse.gif">

This is all that is required because the "myhouse.gif" file will be stored in the same directory as your HTML file. You should not specify any path or directory names.

For example, DON'T code it with any additional path details such as:
<IMG SRC="/users/freddy/myhouse.gif">
Just code the filename WITHOUT a path and the system will be happy!

Need more than one page?
If you want more than the 5Mbytes free allowance, for example if you have a business and would like to have several Pages advertising your business, that is OK too. Talk to your local Internet Provider and they will advise you. You can have as many Pages as you want but there is a nominal fee for the additional pages.

Updating your Home Page
Feel free to change your Page as often as you like - after your first page is on the system you will be added to our list of Home Page authors and any updates will be automatically transferred to your Web Page directory. We can't guarantee to have the new version up and on the air immediately but will endeavour to have it up within a couple of hours. But we remind you - your Home Page is being carried on this system for FREE so it is YOUR responsibility to maintain it. If it has errors or incorrect information, it is YOUR responsibility to fix it and upload a corrected version. If you want your local Internet Provider to fix it or maintain it for you, the usual commercial charges will apply. that you have your new Home Page ready, move on to the next section to see how to Upload it to the Mid North Coast Internet system. Once that is done it is just a matter of sitting back and waiting for the inevitable accolades you will get from all over the world for the great work you have done on your Home Page!

Or, if you prefer, return to the "How To" list.

Upload it to the Mid North Coast Internet system

Well, you have a Home Page that you are happy with (for now anyway). How do you get it on the air? (I thought you would never ask!)

You will need an FTP program to upload the new Home Page to the Mid North Coast Internet system. There is a special incoming/webpages directory provided to receive your new Home Page. So fire up your FTP program and connect to:

Select the incoming directory and then select the webpages directory. Please create a new directory there using your "username" as the name of the new directory. (In most FTP programs there is a button or command for "MKDIR" to make the new directory.) So, if your username is freddy then create a directory called freddy in that incoming/webpages directory and then upload your file(s) into that new incoming/webpages/freddy directory. Don't forget, use YOUR username, not freddy!

Note, you should NOT try to upload into the www directory - that is intended only for HTML Utilities and other information for you to download!

Advise Your Local Internet Provider of your uploaded file(s)
The last step is to let your Local Internet Provider know about the new Page. If you don't send an email message to them they might not happen to see the new file there for some time. So, let them know in a simple email message.

They will arrange a link to your entry in the User Directory to point to your new Home Page.

The email message might be something simple like:

I have uploaded a new Home Page.
The following files are included:
index.html and myhouse.gif

That is all that is necessary. No special requests please.

You are now a World Wide Web Programmer with a Home Page on the Internet for all the World to see.

Go to the Mid North Coast Internet USERS Page

Return to the Mid North Coast Internet Home Page

HTML Reference

A Beginner's Guide to HTML
HTML Quick Reference Guide
Welcome to the World Wide Web

General Comprehensive Listings
Yahoo's Big List of Web Stuff
The Web Developer's Virtual Library

Web Page Design and Style
WWW Design Issues
Tim Berner-Lee's Style Guide
Entering the World Wide Web - a Guide to CyberSpace
Composing Good HTML

HTML Specification and References
Original HTML Specification
BASIC HTTP (HTTP 1.0 Specification)
Draft HTML 2.0 and 3.0 Specifications
Netscape Extensions
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions; RFC1341 )
URL Specifications

HTML Editors and editing tools
HotDog Web Editor - Web Page
BBEdit Extensions (macros for Macintosh BBEdit)
HTMLEd (non-WYSIWYG editor for MS-Windows)
HoTMeTaL (WYSIWYG editor for X Windows, Macintosh and MS-Windows)
Various HTML editors and filters for MS-Windows)
HTML Editor (WYSIWYG editor for Macintosh)
Arachnid (WYSIWYG editor for Macintosh)

HTML Syntax Checkers

Lists of HTML Translators
Master List of HTML Translators

CU_HTML.DOT (Microsoft Word for Windows)
Wp2x (Word Perfect for DOS)
WPMacros (Word Perfect for DOS)
Qt2www (Macintosh Quark XPress)
Dave (Macintosh Pagemaker)
Txt2html (Plain text)

Updated October 01, 1997
by Chuff Lloyd