Having your own domain gives you more than one web site you can put there, think of it as a plot of land with many different structures or a house with many different rooms.

It’s very useful to have an entrance gate, landing page, or a simple “calling card” for the main URL of your domain (e.g. mydomain.stateu.org) rather than putting a specific purpose blog at that location. The idea is to have a simple inviting welcome  site that you can use to share about your work, interests, contact information. The other kinds of sites you might build in your domain- a portfolio, a site for a course (or more) you teach, a photo gallery, an online poetry book, a wiki, will all be added as separate sites inside your domain.

In this kit you create a simple placeholder site for that purpose.

Your  cpanel includes an easy to use tool that will let you create your first web site just by filling out a few items in a form. The templates are very simple and most likely unsatisfactory for the kind of site you want to have. This is more a way to practice using cpanel to create something quickly to live at the main entrance to your domain. Other kits on this site offer ways for you to create something more suited for your site.

For this kit, in a few minutes you can create something with information you choose to replace the temporary screen the new domain at StateU provided you when you set up your account. Consider it as a placeholder for a fancier front entrance to come.

The instructions below are specific to a domain that has yet to publish any content. If you have something already published at your main domain URL, scroll down for a way you can try out the Site Publisher tool.

Using the Site Publisher

Start by accessing your cpanel; at StateU look for the Dashboard link. Look for (and click) the Site Publisher icon listed under the Domains section.

Under Select a Domain your domain will already be selected, since it’s the only thing currently available in your account to publish a new site with this tool. Open the Select a Template section to see what is available.

The choices are somewhat limited. A few of them require more information to be entered, and any images added need to be referenced via a web address. The most simple one is Under Construction; try that one first.

Under the next option, Customize and Publish, you can enter only three pieces of information-  a title, description, and an email address. Note that we entered a “fake” one for now, as we do not recommend putting your real email address on a public web page (if left blank, the field will not be displayed).

You should feel rather limited; you cannot even change the background image (yet)! The warning indicates that there are some other files already in your main domain website (these are the files that created your welcome page). It is okay to overwrite them, click Publish.

Under the Congratulations  tab that appears you can try the link to see this new welcome page.

Oh no, you may not see any new change! There is a good reason why you do not see the new page; kit building often means having to adjust a few previous steps.

Return to the Site Publisher and look below the Congratulations tab for the link to Manage my website’s files. You will now see the raw material of your website (and the files for your entire domain), in the cpanel File Manager. This is a bit like the desktop folder/file metaphor of your computer. Look for a file in your site called default.html

Click once to select this file, then click the Delete button at the top. This file is interfering with index.html, the one that was created by Site Publisher, that contains the content for your site.

Return to the Site Publisher to find the link to your domain, and try loading it again. You should now see the Under Construction version site created by this tool.

Again, you will most certainly not keep this as your domain’s welcome page, but you have a place to replace the content with something much better.

See the Using File Manager for Image Changes kit to learn how to change the background image of this template.

The Under Construction site with a custom background image.

If you already have something published at the front entrance of your domain…

Maybe you have a blog or another site already installed on your domain. If so, you will most certainly find the Site Publisher too limited, but maybe an Under Construction template might work as a placeholder for a new project?

You can use this tool to publish also to a subdomain (this is another kit you will try soon) or a separate web site at about.extendlabs.ca.

If your own domain already has existing content at the main entrance (perhaps a blog), e.g. mysnazzydomain.org you can still create a landing site with Site Publisher at an address such as me.mysnazzydomain.org or who.mysnazzydomain.org

Example for "Build a Front Entrance for Your Domain with Site Publisher":

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This work by Alan Levine as part of the EduHack project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.