Creating your own website can be a great deal of fun and a good way to share pictures, text and ideas with the whole world. All NCF accounts include web space from the time the account is created.
Publishing a web page is easy, just put a file into your personal web space provided by NCF and that is it, the file will then be visible to everyone on the internet. Creating a website is just a matter of creating a series of web pages and then linking them together.
Location of your web pages (URL)
Your web space is at http://web.ncf.ca/youraccountID, where youraccountID is replaced by your NCF accountID. If you have an email alias, you can use that too. For example, if your accountID is ab123 and your email alias is 'fred', then your web space would be at:
and also at:
Uploading web files
The process of transferring a file from your computer to your web space (on NCF's computer) is called uploading.
A file is a web page if it contains text formated in Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML), which can be displayed by a web browser. HTML is just plain text, with formatting that conforms to the rules of HTML. HTML files are given the extension of .html or .htm so that browsers know they contain HTML.
Default HTML page
URLs specify directories and, optionally, file names. For example, if a file abc.html were in the web space of ab123, the URL would be:
If a file is not specified, eg.,
by default, the web server will render a file named index.html (or index.htm). If that file does not exist, the web server will display a list of the files in the directory. Typically website designers create a file named index.html to be their website's home page.
How to upload files
There are many ways to upload files, including:
- NCF's Web File Manager - We suggest using NCF's "Web File Manager" (because it requires no set-up) to upload your files. Go to the StartPage and click on 'Web File Manager' under 'Tools' in the right column. It is kind of basic, but you'll see simple tools for uploading files. There's an FAQ link on its page that explains how it works. Note: The Web File Manager cannot transfer files larger than 2MB. For large files, use FTP.
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - If you are using an FTP program, use the following settings:
- Host Name/Address: ftp.ncf.ca (IP 188.8.131.52)
- User ID: accountID-1 (that's your NCF account ID followed by 'dash one'), e.g. ab123-1
- If a selection is available then choose "passive mode".
Some FTP clients that have been tested and work well with NCF web hosting are:
- Free software
- WS_FTP LE for Windows
- Linux users should download these from their distribution repositories.
- gFTP users should set FTP→ Preferences→ Preserve File Permissions→ uncheck this box, or else the uploaded files will not be able to be viewed.
The NCF FTP server now supports TLS explicit mode. If you previously used NCF ftp to upload to your web space, you may wish to enable TLS in your client, if it is supported.
If you are using FileZilla, this is as simple as changing the encryption type from "Use Plain FTP" to "Require explicit FTP over TLS".
If you use the FileZilla Quickconnect bar, just specify "ftpes://ftp.ncf.ca" for the Host: field:
Note: If you are using an older FTP client that only supports legacy SSL on port 990, that will not work. You must use a client that understands how to use "Explict TLS" on port 21.
Creating HTML files
There are basically two ways to write HTML files - by hand coding them or with a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) HTML page creator.
- Hand coding HTML
There are many guides available on the internet, in bookstores and libraries to help you learn HTML. A simple way to get started is to use NCF's Web File Manager to create a HTML template file. Do this:
- Start NCF's Web File Manager
- Create a new file called anything.html
- Click the 'edit' link for that file
Because the file is named with an extension of '.html' and is empty, Web File Manager will open with template text of a basic HTML file, which you can modify (or discard).
HTML is just text, so any plain text editor can be used to write HTML by hand, although the best ones are those that offer syntax highlighting to show mistakes quickly. Hand coding HTML requires some skill and practice to learn, but can be quick and rewarding to do, once you have learned how.
- WYSIWYG HTML page creators
There are also many software applications to automate the task of making HTML pages which allow beginers to make beautiful web pages without learning to hand code HTML. If you are designing a complex web site with many components or want to save the time learning hand coding HTML, these tools can be helpful. Commercial web page creation software applications are often very expensive to buy, but there is an easy-to-use free software application that creates good, standards compliant webpages. It is called KompoZer and can be downloaded for free for Windows and Mac OS X. KompoZer is also available in the repositories of most Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Debian.
Many office applications can produce documents in HTML format that will produce web pages that appear identical or similar to their native output formats. Thus an easy way to prepare web pages is to simply 'save as HTML' in office applications that support that.
Organizational Accounts at NCF
To transfer files to your organization web space, use the following settings on your FTP program:
- Host Name/Address: ftp.ncf.ca
- User ID: accountID-n ('n' is a letter code assigned to the organization, usually the first letter of the directory name)
Your web site will be found at:
Tools for web page authors
NCF's "comment-taker" utility provides a way for readers of your web page to send you email without you having to expose your email address to spammers. Have a look at the Comment-Taker FAQ for more information.
How much space do I get?
There is no limit on the size of your web space as long as there is enough space for everybody. If space becomes an issue, we will contact the people who use the most space.
- A Nonprofit's Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites
- Websites That Suck - a guide a what to avoid in website design