Website Builders
July 13, 2004 2:21 PM   Subscribe

This is kind of an embarassing question. Is there any decent cheap or shareware software for building basic websites? I know how to edit HTML pretty well, and even tinker with CSS to get it to do what I want, but I don't know how page structure/architecture really works. I want to build a very basic website where I can have an inaccessible image/media folder (to serve to my Blogger-hosted blog, which I'll eventually migrate to a subdomain) and just a few pages of text. All I get from the controls where my domain name is hosted (GoDaddy) is an IP address and a login. After that it's up to me, evidently.
posted by _sirmissalot_ to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Well, you can start with looking in places like and There are ton of apps there that are exactly what you're looking for, although I can't personally vouch for any specific one. (I linked to the Windows HTML editors for those sites, but you can easily find Mac-based tools there if you need, obviously.)

Other hosts, like Verio, also offer much more powerful tools to roll simple sites as part of the hosting package.
posted by LairBob at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2004

What do you mean by "page structure/architecture"? It sounds like you could do what you want with an FTP program, unless I'm just missing something.
posted by reklaw at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2004

I guess I mean that I don't know how to create folders on my "Website". And I need an HTML editor. Yes, I know I'm quite ignorant. I have uploaded files and pages through an FTP program . . . wait a minute, can I create the folder just by using the FTP program? (and make it a directory that I can prevent access to)?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:35 PM on July 13, 2004

Yes, you can. "mkdir". If preventing access to the directory listing (rather than the files in it) is what you mean, just put an "index.html" in there, either empty or with a redirect.

Unless you link to files in that directory from elsewhere, or tell people what they are, then they'll be inaccessible.
posted by sfenders at 3:40 PM on July 13, 2004

brilliant. thanks!

off to see what kind of crazy free html editor i can find at . . .
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:44 PM on July 13, 2004

I can't recommend HTML-kit highly enough. It's free, it's got an inline FTP client (live editing files on your FTP space is the only way to go), color codes HTML, HTML tag/attribute pop-ups, built in code validator, color coded PHP, tons of free plugins -- and so on.

Admittedly, the FTP client is somewhat limited, so to that end I'd also strongly recommend SmartFTP (also free) as a back up -- it's the hands-down best FTP client I've ever used.
posted by rafter at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2004

Most hosting companies use cPanel or something similar these days, which allows you to easily manage your domain without being an uber-geek. Other than that, all you really need to create a web site is an FTP program (SmartFTP is good and free), or you can use Windows Explorer by adding a "network place", but this is very insecure and something to edit HTML. You can use Notepad or any other text editor for this, but I use Cute HTML Pro, which provides some tools to make wrting HTML easier for novices. It costs USD49.99, but I have found it well worth the asking price and there is a less powerful version that is USD19.99.

You can create folders via an FTP program and use CHMOD to allow or deny access, but I don't think you can stop people listing the contents of the directory via this method. An easy workaround to this would be to create an index.html file and place it in the folder (it could be blank, the content doesn't matter, it just needs to be there).
posted by dg at 3:52 PM on July 13, 2004

Arachnophilia is a nice HTML editor; I found it very user-friendly when I was a beginner. I have to admit I never got round to upgrading my version to their Java update; I am still using their old windows-based one.
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:57 PM on July 13, 2004

I use 1st Page, which is free and easy to use, for an HTML editor. For ftp purposes I use FileZilla, also free and easy.
posted by tdismukes at 4:02 PM on July 13, 2004

so much freeness and easiness! thanks people, this is great. there's so much out there, it's good to have a recommendation (and to know you're not downloading some spyware-bloated trojan horse).
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:21 PM on July 13, 2004

CityDesk offers a starter edition which makes building basic websites quite painless. Although setting up a good looking site can initially be a pain, making edits, and adding new pages is a breeze.
posted by seanyboy at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2004

Oh yeah--I used FirstPage too a while ago, and it was definitely pretty good for a free product. Definitely check it out.
posted by LairBob at 5:42 PM on July 13, 2004

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