The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Web sites are not always created by large corporations. Millions of individuals have reasons for publishing their own web sites. Perhaps you wish to post your own genealogy information or your local society's monthly newsletter. Another common use is to post family photographs, such as pictures of your grandchildren or perhaps family photos of your great-grandparents, taken a century ago. Others post pictures for their eBay listings or the standings in a local bowling league or a cooperative study project for yourself and fellow students in a college class or perhaps a web site for the local Cub Scout troop. Indeed, there are probably as many reasons for creating a web site as there are people.
There must be dozens of ways of creating web sites. You can create and upload web pages to any of a number of web sharing services. You can even purchase your own web server and install it in your home or in a data center. It is more common, however, to rent space on someone else's web server. Many people have free web space included when they sign up for service from a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Creating web sites on many of these commercial web services does have drawbacks, however. Some of them will display advertising on your pages, which may or may not be acceptable. For instance, your church group might not be pleased when the hosting service displays ads for beer at the top of the web pages. I have also seen web pages for conservative political groups that occasionally display ads for liberal political ideas and vice versa. In short, there are dozens of reasons for not having advertisements displayed on web pages you create, unless you control the ads.
Another problem that creates difficulty for many novices is the process of creating web pages and then copying (uploading) those pages to a web server. The easiest method for most novices is to use some sort of web creation tool to first create the pages on your local Windows or Macintosh computer, then to later use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or some other software to copy those pages to the web server. The process is simple for experienced web users, but newcomers may become confused by the mumbo-jumbo of all the terminology involved.
I recently found a method of creating and displaying web pages that is so simple that I am surprised it is not advertised widely. This works for any files, but I like it best for HTML files. That is, files created in the standard Web format used on most web servers. In effect, this is a zero-cost method to have your own simple web server. Best of all, there are no advertisements on the pages unless you place them in your own pages. If you want to get fancy and use your own personal domain name, you might end up paying as much as £5 (about $8.00 U.S.) per month although I suspect that most people only use the totally free service.
With this free or low-cost method, the creation of web pages is about the same as any of the other low-cost solutions. However, the process of copying the files to the web server has been simplified to the point of becoming almost invisible to the person creating the web sites. The process works well for individuals as well as for genealogy societies, scout troops, or anyone else who wishes to post information on the World Wide Web.
I will describe two different but closely related methods of publishing your pages on the Web without paying any money. A third method requires payment of £5 (about $8.00 U.S.) a month.
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