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Managing a Website on a remote server

Discussion in 'Computer Related Help & Discussion' started by TonyKillay, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. TonyKillay

    TonyKillay Well-Known Member

    A small charity I do some volunteer work for, currently has their website on a laptop that gets published up to a server when changes are made. They would like to change the website so there are several 'editors' that could post newsy items themselves onto the website. This would mean putting the web on a remote host. Many web hosting companies to choose from - but how does one organise the permissions for the 'editors', so each can only update his/her page.
    Can anyone recommend a good book or article on the subject

  2. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Fairly sure of this.

    But you said the current website is backed up on a laptop.

    I suspect the website is in just one big directory on the laptop like c:\the_website.

    If so then it might need to be restructured.

    What you will need is I believe is


    You then have similar directories on the remote server.

    But for the website to work you have to make sure the link with the website structure reference the extra directory path of jane, john, mary and fred.

    Here some old example html

    "<TD><a href="jane/jane_pic00.jpg"><img src="jane/jane_pic00_thumbnail.jpg" width="100" height="75" border="0"></a></TD>"

    You can see that there is directory reference to jane/
    because all of jane stuff is in there. Then the permissions are setup so that you the administrator can change stuff in jane directory and that jane user can change files in jane directory but john can see the jane directory and use stuff but not change it. Hope that makes sense.

    I think that is how it suppose to work.

    So if your existing website has links like

    "<TD><a href="jane_pic00.jpg"><img src="jane_pic00_thumbnail.jpg" width="100" height="75" border="0"></a></TD>"

    You might need to get your website editing software to change the links.

    At the end of the day a website is just a group of files in a directory on a very big hard drive.

    When I used to do it you had to use command lines to setup the directories etc. I suspect now there should be some kind of browser click system for building the directories and permissions. Just like you do in windows XP for users on a shared machine.
  3. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    I haven't got any links to articles on this, but the simplest way is this.

    Set up different FTP accounts for each person. Lock these account so they only access the areas of the website that you want them to. You should be able to limit it to one directory where their files are.

    They will of course need website editing software on there computers and software for uploading the files to the website.

    The main problem with this is that there is no way to make sure that the changes they make are correctly spelt or put on the pages that follow the design for the rest of the website.

    You also have to make sure that any changes 'you' make to the website are on the most up-to-date files. So before you make any changes/updates you will have to download their sections of the website first. Just in case anything you need to change will effect their sections.

    I've set up two websites like this in the past and from personal experience I would fight like hell never to set one up again. It just doesn't work and you end up constantly having to correct or change files that have been uploaded by them to either change them to the same style/theme of the website or correct bad spellings/grammar.

    The best thing is to appoint an editor for the website and get people to email their updates to that person. Then you have one point of contact for the website.
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Probably the simplest way for the users is to switch the site to a content management system such as Joomla. Makes management of permissions a doddle.
  5. TonyKillay

    TonyKillay Well-Known Member

    I'd sort of gathered I had to do this ... but didn't understand the role of FTP!

    Ah, that's why! I was kinda hoping they could use the web building software on the host site. Just edit a fixed template with their New Newsy info

    I did suggest this, and there has to be a main editor cos the majority of the site contains basic info, contacts, forms, committee members etc, etc. But news gets old very fast (so I'm told!)

    I've already said I'll set it up ... but won't play any further role I'm not a web builder sort of person

    Fen, thanks for your time and valuable advice

  6. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    FTP stands for 'File Transfer Protocol'. I would advise doing a google on that as it's too much to explain here :)

    Just a second, let me work this work... The 'host' offers a template based system for people to create/edit the website? If that is the case you probably won't need FTP.

    You'll need to check at the 'host' if there is a way of creating accounts for different people and a way to only allow them access to certain areas. I doubt the last bit will be doable, so it will be a case of having to trust the people to only make changes to their own pages... Another reason why no one except the 'site manager/editor' should be allowed access.
  7. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    As Nick says (above) the best way to provide this functionality is with a Content Management System (CMS). Some are free and the best (most popular) are Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. They require that the CMS system is installed on your web server. Many web space providers offer one or more of them as an option. You usually need a database management system too, often MySQL (also free), because the pages are generated from templates held in the database. Pages can be created/updated from any browser on the web and need no special software installed on the client PC.

    Managing different FTP accounts with differing levels/areas of security is not something easily managed so unless you can trust your contributors to not mess around with areas outside of their remit I would avoid that way of doing it.
  8. TonyKillay

    TonyKillay Well-Known Member

    I knew I was out of my depth ... didn't realise by how far!

    My simplistic plan was to put the web site on the host and give different logons and permissions for each page (file), with one person being administrator. The host provides a web builder program as part of the package. Talking to the provider (which is UK2 at the moment) at 50p a min isn't an option when I don't have a proper understanding of how to achieve what is wanted. I hoped to buy a book, but there doesn't seem to be anything modern. I (still) feel what I need is relatively straight forward ... but is it actually available.

    Thanks to every one who is helping out ... I've looked at Joomla and it could be a solution if I had to go for ftp, but I would rather I didn't have to.

  9. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    There are lots of FTP packages out there, but all they are for is uploading the files to the website. That's what I use to upload my stuff.

    I don't use a hosts own online package so have no idea if you'd be able to customise to your designs/layouts or even if you could set different logins for different people.

    50p a min!!! Go to http://www.saynoto0870.com/ and type in their phone number, you may find a direct line at normal cost.

    Just been looking through UK2s sitebuilder stuff. You can build a site with them, but I think it only has one login for the site editor.

    So your options are:
    1 - Get an editor to do all the updates
    2 - Give the login/password to all who want to add stuff to the website

    Option 1 gives the person in charge full control and responsibility for the website. Only they can make the changes and you know what is happening with the website at all times. This is the sensible option.

    With Option 2 everyone involved has access to the whole website and can make changes wherever they want. You have to trust each person 100% not to edit other sections of mess things up. This option can easily lead to chaos.
  10. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    That's the whole point of CMS and Joomla, you don't use FTP to transfer documents to the web server, everything is created/edited and published from within the Joomla application running on the web server. All you need is a browser to access the Joomla application.
  11. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    I've just checked your supplier http://www.uk2.net/web-hosting/ and it seems that they do offer the 3 CMS systems I mentioned above. They also support MySQL databases, as long as you're not on the basic package.
  12. MarchHare

    MarchHare Well-Known Member

    I am still learning. I have spent this evening juggling around with a Blog, I have my own but I wanted to transfer the text and photo's to our club website blog. I ran the website for 8 years but handed over to a colleague (who works for Oracle as a programmer) about 2008. We were on the phone together this evening for a considerable time. He was getting me to prepare the text and photo's on a dummy site blog and when I had got it right, he then told me how to transfer it to the main club website blog. This is done with Google Blogs. It seems that this would be an easy way to do what you want (once you have mastered it). The other contributors would be added as "authors" with the ability to edit and delete their own contributions but not anyone else's. Make enquiries about Google blogs.

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