FTP Interface and Website Files

Posted on 2009-04-30
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I am very new at this, so please remember that when answering!!  As I do the marketing for the company I work for, I have access to our website's content/files via Ipswitch WS_FTP.  The only thing I knew previously was how to drag files onto the desktop, edit VERY basic things (like a line of text) in Dreamweaver, and then reload it on the ___ (server? what do I call this?).

Now I am trying to learn more about Metatags, SEO, etc.  I am using Goggle Webmaster tools to try to gain information on how our site is doing in the search engine rankings.  However, when I began to examine all the files in the "folder" of our website (I have attached a screenshot), I realized that there are several index files (i.e. index2, index-2, index-dummy, etc.) and they all open in the browser.  Is this how it is supposed to be?  My questions are:
1.) If I can type the URL and then something like index-dummy into my browser and it loads, can others accidentally stumble across this too?
2.) Does the folder need to be "cleaned out"?
3.) Is the right side of the screenshot (where the website files show) considered to be the "Root"?  If not, where is the root?
4.) Where do I find the 'directory structure'?  (I read about this in an article).
5.) Our site is hosted by another company, so why do I have access to change the files?
Note: it's a very small website...less than 25 pages.  The screenshot shows the site and IP address, can someone also advise if I shouldn't have this information posted??  I cover more parts up in that case.
Thank you in advance for any help, I am so frustrated trying to figure this all out and don't want to make the website crash!
Question by:SaraLynnn1
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    You should be ftp-ing to the URL instead of the IP address, since the service provider could change the IP address, but won't change your domain name.

    The /stats might be the subdirectory assigned to host the web files. HTTP servers can serve up multiple websites, and use directories to separate them.

    Below the main directory of your website can be many subdirectories. When you create a website with an editor on your local machine, it may contain subdirectories for things like forms, jpg files, etc and most references in HTML code are "relative" to the root directory (the main directory of your website). So if it works on your local machine, and you copy the main directory to your server, with subdirectories, it will run on the webserver as long as the relative locations of the files is the same.

    People do use multiple index files to direct users to different parts of your website, such as  where support.htm is in the main directory

    You can also use the default htm or html file called "index.htm" and put it into a subdirectory with it's own sub-sub-directory structure and direct the user to

    In the second case, the "support" is referencing a subdirectory named "support" that exists off the root directory at

    As to multiple index-1, index-2 etc, yes, if they are not useful, delete them.

    So in summary, refer to your website location using the URL, not the IP address.
    Have one index.htm or index.html file
    Use subdirectories for things like support files (images, mp3 files, etc) and for sections of your site, like a "contact" or "support" or "download" subdirectories and have an index file in each of these subdirectories that is served up when someone access your site as or /support or /contact

    Hope this helps.


    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you very much--I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions (plural!) in such a thorough manner.  As you can see, I still have a lot to learn!  Thanks again.

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