Who says you need a web server
to have a home page?

So you're ready to build your home on the Internet, but you don't have a web (or WWW) server where you can place your files in. But, do you happened to have a FTP site that you can store your files at? Well then, you found your home!

It's simple -- just store your home page's HTML pages, images, etc., on the FTP server, and give out your FTP address just like an HTTP address.

(the conventions explained below usually apply to housing web pages on HTTP servers as well)

For example, if you stored your home page welcome page at the following path on your FTP server:

/users/bob/welcome.html

and if your FTP server's domain name is my_university.edu, your home page address would be:

ftp://my_university.edu/users/bob/welcome.html

With some ftp servers, the "tilde" character, or ~ is used preceeding a username to bypass the need to specify the full path to the user's directory. For example,

ftp://my_university.edu/users/bob/welcome.html

might also be reached by specifying:

ftp://my_university.edu/~bob/welcome.html

Use of the "tilde" is common among unix and unix-variant servers as a shortcut, i.e. a way of telling the server "find this user's home directory path for me, the take me there".

Of course, if you follow the fairly common website structure standard of naming the first page in any subsection "index.html", then users will not have to specify a pagename like "welcome.html", and will be able to omit the name of the page and the slash following your username to find your top page. Also, users would not be able to call up a listing of your directory just by omitting your "welcome.html" pagename and leaving the slash in the URL. For example;

ftp://my_university.edu/~bob/welcome.html

would send the browser to your welcome page as expected, but

ftp://my_university.edu/~bob/

would produce a listing of your top directory, possibly exposing filenames or images you wish to keep private for random surfers to view or download. Therefore, always making sure to include a top page in every directory in the structure of your webpage either titled "index.html" or "default.html" (depending on your web server's setup) will keep the other contents of your directories unviewable, and keep the browser browsing what you intend for them to browse! For example,

ftp://my_university.edu/~bob or ftp://my_university.edu/~bob/

would simply default the webserver to send to that browser the page entitled "index.html", just as if the browser had entered the following in their navigation bar:

ftp://my_university.edu/~bob/index.html

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