If you have decided to use Sparkle for your website design, you know how much time you have put into making it work for different devices. Now it’s time to get it on to the internet.
Some website builders allow you real-time edits so that you don’t need to re-upload your website files to your server. That’s a nice feature, and easy enough to accomplish after your site is up and running. Initially, though, it’s good to test all the files locally to make sure they work and then upload them.
If you have no experience publishing websites, keep reading. We’ll give you all the information you need to not only publish your SparkleApp site but to publish any others you create, with any software.
How Does Publishing Websites Work?
In simple terms, publishing a website is putting a set of files on a server. That’s it. It does get more complicated than that, however, once you start uncovering the details. Here is where to begin:
Choose and Buy a Domain Name
Websites don’t work without a domain name so that the internet knows where to find it. Begin by finding a domain hosting service such as MacHighway.
Domain hosting sites let you enter your domain name and check its availability. If your chosen name isn’t available, they will offer some alternatives for you to select. They’ll also give you pricing right then, so you can choose what you need within your budget.
Choose a Web Hosting Service
This company can be your domain host, but you can choose another company to host your site. You may like their prices better, or they may offer some add-ons like SSL certificates or more uptime for free.
Create a Website
You’re using Sparkle, so have at it. It should be noted that the free version of Sparkle lets you create one site that is limited to three pages branded with “Made with Sparkle.”
Sparkle One is a paid version that removes the branding and page limit but holds the user to a single site.
The fully paid version of Sparkle, Sparkle Pro, removes all limits and branding. This version is also the only one that will export files to your computer. We are going to assume that this is the version you are using, for simplicity’s sake.
The Publishing Process
Once you have bought your domain, chosen your hosting service, and created your website, it’s time to get that site online.
Within Sparkle, there is an FTP client that allows you to upload your files to your host server. The first time you publish, the initial screen will ask you whether you want to publish to the web or export it to disk. Your choice is to send your site files directly to your hosting server or to package the files and save them on your local computer.
The Export to Disk Option
Choosing this option allows you to pick a folder to contain your site files, choose a text encoding method, and specify a code generation type. The ASCII default for text encoding provides the widest server compatibility, meaning that all your characters will display correctly.
If you save your site files as the default “high performance” in the code generation drop-down, you won’t see your page accurately if you load it into your local browser. For local testing, you must choose the “Offline compatible” option.
We’ll explain how to upload these files manually a little later in the article.
The Publish to the Web Option
If you choose to send your files directly to the host server, the first thing you need to do is tell Sparkle where to send them. Your hosting service should have given you these credentials either in their customer portal or via email to you.
These credentials include the following:
• Web address – including the subfolder path
• FTP server name
• Your username
• Your password
• Number of server connections
• Protocol – these include FTP, SFTP, and others. The default is to auto-detect, but you may choose other options in case of connection trouble.
If both Sparkle and your web server are speaking to each other, you will see a new screen populated with your web address and subfolder that you specified. You have two choices for upload: fast and safe.
Fast upload denotes that Sparkle is only sending files that have changed. That means it makes a quick comparison of file sizes and modification dates and times and sends only those that are different than the existing files.
Safe upload uploads all the site files every time. It also has an option to save a backup of your old site in case you made extensive changes.
After You Export to Disk
If you choose to save your site files locally, you’ll need a way to copy them to your host server. This is done via an FTP client that gives you several options similar to what you say in your Sparkle FTP setup screen.
Some FTP clients for OS X are Fetch, FileZilla, and Transmit. All of these programs work well and can be automated to send files straight to the server after edits.
Each of these apps will ask you for your destination server address, your username and password, and your connection protocol. They will also provide a user interface similar to the Finder so you can drag and drop files and folders. The files will be copied to the server, preserving your local originals.
Go Forth and Publish
This information should be everything you need to get that website out of Sparkle and onto the internet. FTP clients are easy to use, and once you get everything set up, you won’t have to think about it: just edit and go.
Remember, there are some issues you may have while using a Mac-only platform, so search our library to find answers specific to your OSX questions.
Also, check out our knowledge base, which includes a scientific method to make sure you have followed the initial steps correctly. The steps can be confusing at first, but once you understand how it works, you’ll have a great time designing and publishing websites.