Today’s post is intended towards people that do not have much knowledge about web design but own a website and are looking for a quick way to edit a web page or multiple pages on the website.
Download and Install a FTP Client:
So the first most important thing you need to know is that there is no way you can go on the website and start editing pages unless your website has some sort of CMS incorporated into it. e.g wordpress, joomla, drupal, dotnetnuke etc. In that case you will go on your website and use the login that should have been provided to you by your web designer or web design company. Once you have logged in you will edit individual pages, ofcourse each CMS system will have a different layout and accessibility features, which you can google and learn about each CMS.
I would cover the case where your website did not have a CMS and you were provided an FTP login to connect to your website. So first thing you need to do is get an FTP client. This is basically a program you can download and install on your machine. Couple of the widely used FTP clients are Core FTP and Filezilla. So go to these links and download the free version of the system for your operating system.
Once you have downloaded and installed the software, open the program. In case you have downloaded Filezilla, you click on the file menu on top and then the site manager, a dialog box will open up, here you will find a button for “New Site”, you enter the name for the website and then on the right side you will see input fields for host,user and pasword. Core FTP or any other client will show these fields also. Host is your website url e.g. yourwebsite.com. There might be some extra fields logon type, that should be pretty easy to select e.g it should be account or normal. If there is an encryption type select Plain FTP.
So now that you have entered all the info select “Connect”, if all the info is correct you should see some files and folders on the right side. This is your server where the website is hosted. In most of the cases you will see a www folder and then inside you should see a folder for your website. This can all vary, If you have a problem finding the right folder I would say call the customer support for the hosting company and they should be able to help you.
Download a Copy of the Website to Your Computer:
On the left side you should see the folder structure of your computer, create a folder for your website where ever you like. If you cannot find an option to create one from within the FTP, minimize the FTP program and browser to your drive and create one. Once you restore the window for the FTP you might not see the newly created folder so you should click on the files on the left, right click and see if there is an option to refresh. So now that you have created a folder I suggest you select on all files on the server and download them to your newly created folder. If you have a website with a lot of files, especially images and videos, this can take a while.
Now that you have a copy of the website on your computer, find the file you wanted to edit, I would suggest you keep a backup of the file before you edit the file. So make a copy of the file and save it with the current date. Now right click on the original file you want to edit. You can either do this from within the FTP client or minimize the client and open files with file explorer on your system. I use windows so I would explain the steps as you were using windows. So when you right click you should see an option “Open with”, this is where you choose a program to open the file. You should use a text editor like note page to open the file. Once the file opens you should see a bunch of code. Now hit ctrl + A to select the whole code.
Go to http://www.quackit.com/html/online-html-editor/ . There might be more online editors available, just make sure that it contains a button to switch the view to SOURCE or HTML as this one does. once you have switched the mode to source or html paste the code you copied earlier. Now switch back to design view (This is where you should see the copy from your page). You might see some missing images, this is because those images are present on your server. Make the necessary changes to the text and format it how however you want. Once done switch back to the SOURCE or HTML view and copy the whole code. Now open the file on your machine, paste the code and save it. So now you have an updated file on your machine. But still we nee to put this file on the server, otherwise the world cannot see your changes. So click on the file in the FTP and upload it. You should get a message that a file with that name already exists on the server. You will select to overwrite the file. Now you need to check your changes in your browser, so open the browser of your choice Chrome, Fire Fox, Internet explorer etc. and visit the page. In case you don’t see the changes close the browser and open a fresh browser window. Your changes should be there. In case you get some sort of error, you can rename the backup you saved on your computer to the original filename and upload it.
That’s it for now, hopefully this post will help some people.