Developing Your Presence on the Web

If you spend much time on the Internet, you probably will want to develop your own presence there. With Mac OS X, some additional tools, and a bit of creativity, you can develop your own Web pages and serve them to the world.

Understanding Web Sites

Two fundamental "parts" are required to provide Web pages to the Internet or an intranet. First is the content and format of the information that is presented. As you probably know, Web pages are a collection of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Java Server Pages (JSP), and other files (JPGs, GIFs, and so on). In turn, a Web site is a collection of Web pages organized in some fashion (sometimes, this organization appears to be quite random!). Typically, a site's home page (often called the index of the site) provides the top-level structure for the site and includes the links that connect the home page to other pages.

The second part of the system needed to get Web pages "out there" is the Web server application that actually hosts the pages on the Internet (or on an intranet). The Web server is responsible for ensuring that the files on the site can be accessed properly. A Web server also provides the tools to monitor and manage the Web site.


A Web server usually runs concurrently with servers providing other services, such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and email.

Creating Your Web Site

Many tools are available that you can use to create a Web site. These range from using text editors to hand-code the HTML on each page to using "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) Web page editors, which automate the coding process and enable you to see what you are creating as you create it. WYSIWYG tools can also enable you to develop, organize, and manage an entire Web site. For example, you can visually map the entire site so you can see where each link takes you.

Explaining how to create a Web site is beyond the scope of this book. However, you can use many easily accessible resources to help you decide how you want to create your site and to explain the details of doing so. For example, for an explanation of HTML codes, visit In addition, numerous books are available that describe how Web sites can be created and managed, such as the following:

  • Special Edition Using HTML and XHTML

  • The Art and Science of Web Design

  • Easy Web Pages, Second Edition

Serving a Web Site

After a Web site has been created, it must be served by a Web server application; this process is also known as Web hosting. There are two ways that a site can be hosted. One is to use a hosting service, and the other is to host the site yourself from your own Mac.

Using a Hosting Service

A Web hosting service takes content you provide (your Web site) and serves it to the Internet. At their most basic level, Web hosting services simply offer you space on the server on which you can store your site; you are usually assigned a specific address based on the account you have on that service. Some Web hosting services go beyond these basic services, though. Many hosting services also provide domain name registration for you so you can choose the URL for your site. Other hosting services provide tools you can use to create the site as well. These tools can be standalone tools you use, or the service might provide preformatted pages you complete by adding your own content. Many hosting services charge a fee for their services, but many serve your pages free (usually with limitations on the size of your site or the amount of data that can be served from it; many also require that they be able to place ads on your site).

With Mac OS 9, Apple introduced its own Web hosting service as part of the iTools service. For Mac OS X, version 10.2, iTools became .Mac and continued to be integrated into the OS so that it is a natural extension of your system. Mac OS X version 10.3 continues this trend; for example, a local copy of your iDisk can now be created and synchronized from your desktop automatically. Using .Mac, you can quickly create your own Web site?you get a email address and have access to other services, such as the use of storage space on the .Mac servers (iDisk). When you use .Mac to host a Web site, you upload the files for your site to your iDisk. Then, the .Mac server handles serving your site to the Internet. This approach is beneficial because you don't use your Mac's resources or your Internet connection to host the site.

To learn how to create a Web site with .Mac, see "Using a .Mac iDisk and HomePage to Create and Serve Your Web Pages," p. 426.

Using Mac OS X to Host a Site from Your Mac

You can also use Mac OS X to host a Web site for the Internet or for a local intranet because the Web server software you need is already built in to Mac OS X. Serving a Web site to the Internet is a fairly complex task, and there are many nuances you need to consider. However, serving a Web site to a local network is fairly straightforward. In either case, you can use Mac OS X to get your site online.

To learn how to host a Web site on your Mac, see "Using a .Mac iDisk and HomePage to Create and Serve Your Web Pages," p. 426.

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Life