Basic HTML: Graduation

By Joe Burns

(with updates by editorial staff)

Well, Congratulations! You have beaten through six days of HTML and struggled with all those silly tags.

Here's your Diploma:

You Passed!
May all your
HTML dreams
come true.

--Joe Burns

So you know it all, huh? Well, not quite. It's literally impossible to know everything. I don't come close. HTML is a growing and ever-evolving art. You have the basics.

Now go on and tackle the HTML Goodies tutorials. The HTML Goodies Master List will allow you to browse the topics. You'll understand them now. Six days ago, any one of them would have made you quit.

Now What?

Now you need to find a place to post the page you wrote for the World Wide Web. But where? You can choose any one of a million places. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are popping up everywhere. Just graze through your Sunday paper. You should be able to choose from a bunch.

How Much Should I Pay?

Depending on what you want, you could pay a great deal or a little bit. I own an entire domain, htmlgoodies.com, that services over 3.5 million visits a month so I pay a good bit. You shouldn't pay more than between $20 and $30 a month. Some say you should pay nothing, but I'm not overly sold on free page sites. I think you're better off paying a little so you can do more. I'll talk about free sites in a moment. First off, here are a few things you should get for your money if you decide to buy some space from an ISP:

  1. You should pay a flat monthly fee for your time on the Net. Do not pay for every second you're using your computer.
  2. You should be able to dial a local number to connect.
  3. You should get free connection software.
  4. The connection should be a SLIP, PPP, or another IP/TCP connect allowing you to use a browser on your computer.
  5. You should get at least a Megabyte of space on which to place your own HTML documents.
  6. You should get e-mail, Telnet, FTP, and Newsgroup access.
  7. Finally, you should have access to Help where you can actually talk to a person, not just via e-mail or a help line answering machine.

What About AOL?

It's a great service. And they do allow you to post Web pages. It may be for you. I like going with local ISPs more myself because I can talk to the tech there at the server site if there's a problem. AOL is huge and might not have time to help you specifically. But if that's not a concern of yours, then AOL may be the way to go.

What About Free Sites?

Well, first off, you don't have to shell out any cash. You get a meg or two of space with which to put up a page. Many offer e-mail, too. The two most popular free home page sites are Geocities.com and Angelfire.com.
     But if you take a free page with either service, you will play by their rules and you'll have to show their banner ads. You will have limited abilities to do anything other than post pages and images. It's their server, you're a guest. And since what you are getting is free, you don't have much of a leg to stand on to complain.
     Plus, as I noted above, they are not completely free. Geocities and others make their money by selling ad banners. Every time someone pops into your page, an ad banner pops up. Now, I don't mind ad banners, I love that they keep my site free for you to use, but if ad banners bug you, then free sites are not for you.
     Where to post your pages is a tough choice. Weigh all your options before jumping on a service provider. Don't make cost your only factor. I cannot recommend or downplay any provider. I think getting a connection to the Net should be a personal choice. Just make a point of getting what is above as you can get it all fairly easily.

How Do I Get My Pages On The WWW?

You need to use an FTP program. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It's a small program that allows you to place files from your computer to your service provider's computer. You should get an FTP program from your service provider along with directions on how to use it. If not, go to Yahoo's FTP program pages, and look at some that are available. Most are free.

WHAT?! There's free software for you over the World Wide Web? You have no idea. There is so much you'll simply go bonkers filling your hard drive. I did. Most is what's called shareware. That means you use it for a while and if you like it you send the author a couple of bucks. I have a few times. It's only fair.

Speaking of Software
What About Those HTML Assistants
You Mentioned In Primer #1?

I knew you'd ask me that. If you'd like to try a few HTML help programs, try The Yahoo HTML Editor page and look over a few. Each has its own merits.

What Do They Do?

They do a good bit, actually. The Help programs are usually set up like a word processor with a whole lot of little buttons to push. Those buttons give you the tags. For instance, you'd click on the B button and get the Begin and End tags to make something bold. They also save the files in the text format required. I use "HTML Assistant" and "HTMLPad." Both are PC programs that are only as involved as you allow them to be. You can use the buttons or not. I've also been told HoTMeTal is good, as is Hot Dog. You might use those names when you search through Yahoo.com.
     Assistants are helpful, but don't get too involved in using one. Remember, this is your page. You do the writing. What fun is using a program that does half the work for you?

Now What Do I Do?

My suggestion would be to start on the tutorials. There were over 100 when this section was written. However, some are far easier than others. Please allow me to make a few suggestions before you pick and choose. You may run into one that's a real killer and get bogged down all over again. Here are five great starter tutorials:

So, You Want A Background, Huh?
So, You Want To Align Text, Huh?
So, You Want A Table, Huh?
So, You Want To Set Up Your First Site, Huh?
So, You Want An HTML List, Huh?

I wouldn't tackle this one right off, but you should become familiar with HEAD commands fairly soon. Do that by reading:

So, You Want Head Commands, Huh?

Let me know if you run into trouble. I'll do my best to get you through it.

Now Go Get 'Em!

You're on your own! Use my other tutorials and make a link to my page. You'll find an icon to use and the link to the format to do it with on the HTML Goodies Home Page.

Good Luck, Net-Head!
(That's a compliment)

Write me by clicking here and let me know what you thought of this set of primers. I really enjoy feedback, good or bad.

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