Julia Evans

How to put an HTML page on the internet

One thing I love about the internet is that it’s SO EASY to put static HTML websites on the internet. Someone asked me today how to do it, so I thought I’d write down how really quickly!

just an HTML page

All of my sites are just static HTML and CSS. My web design skills are relatively minimal (https://wizardzines.com is the most complicated site I’ve developed on my own), so keeping all my internet sites relatively simple means that I have some hope of being able to make changes / fix things without spending a billion hours on it.

So we’re going to take as minimal of an approach as possible in this blog post – just one HTML page.

the HTML page

The website we’re going to put on the internet is just one file, called index.html. You can find it at https://github.com/jvns/website-example, which is a Github repository with exactly one file in it.

The HTML file has some CSS in it to make it look a little less boring, which is partly copied from https://example.com.

how to put the HTML page on the internet

Here are the steps:

  1. sign up for a Neocities account
  2. copy the index.html into the index.html in your neocities site
  3. done

The index.html page above is on the internet at julia-example-website.neocities.com, if you view source you’ll see that it’s the same HTML as in the github repo.

I think this is probably the simplest way to put an HTML page on the internet (and it’s a throwback to Geocities, which is how I made my first website in 2003) :). I also like that Neocities (like glitch, which I also love) is about experimentation and learning and having fun..

other options

This is definitely not the only easy way – Github pages and Gitlab pages and Netlify will all automatically publish a site when you push to a Git repository, and they’re all very easy to use (just connect them to your github repository and you’re done). I personally use the Git repository approach because not having things in Git makes me nervous – I like to know what changes to my website I’m actually pushing. But I think if you just want to put an HTML site on the internet for the first time and play around with HTML/CSS, Neocities is a really nice way to do it.

If you want to actually use your website for a Real Thing and not just to play around you probably want to buy a domain and link it to your website so that you can change hosting providers in the future, but that is a bit less simple.

this is a good possible jumping off point for learning HTML

If you are a person who is comfortable editing files in a Git repository but wants to practice HTML/CSS, I think this is a fun way to put a website on the internet and play around! I really like the simplicity of it – there’s literally just one file, so there’s no fancy extra magic to get in the way of understanding what’s going on.

There are also a bunch of ways to complicate/extend this, like this blog is actually generated with Hugo which generates a bunch of HTML files which then go on the internet, but it’s always nice to start with the basics.