About Publishing Directories

When you set up your Web site, you specify which directories contain the documents that you want to publish. The Web server cannot publish documents that are not within the directories you specify. To plan your Web site, you first determine how you want your files organized in the publishing directories. This topic defines publishing directory terms and explains how the publishing wizard uses Webpub, a special publishing directory. The following sections are included:

  • Home Directories
  • Virtual Directories
  • The Webpub Directory

Home Directories

Each Web site must have one home directory. The home directory is the starting point for your site visitors and the top of your Web publishing tree. It contains a home page or index file that welcomes visitors and contains links to other pages in your Web site. The home directory is mapped to your site’s domain name. For example, if a site’s Internet domain name is www.microsoft.com and the home directory is C:\Website\Microsoft, then client browsers use the URL http://www.microsoft.com/ to access files in the C:\Website\Microsoft directory.

If you are creating new HTML files for your Web site, you may want to use the default home directory installed during setup, C:\Inetpub\Wwwroot. Place your files in the home directory, or organize them in subdirectories of the home directory. You can use the home page wizard to add links to them on your home page. See Adding Links to the Home Page for more information. All files in the home directory and its subdirectories are automatically available to visitors to your site. If a visitor knows the correct path and file name needed to reach a file, the visitor can view the file even if you do not have links to it on your home page. For this reason, keep only files you want visitors to view in your home directory, or its subdirectories.

If you plan on publishing files that will continue to be edited in their native formats, or the files are scattered over many directories on one or more hard disks, you can use the PWS publishing wizard to place copies of the files in the C:\Inetpub\Webpub directory. For more information about how the publishing wizard uses this directory, see The Webpub Directory later in this topic.

If all the files you want to publish already reside in one directory, you can change the default home directory to the directory where the files are currently located, rather than move the files. See Changing Your Home Directory for instructions on how to do this.

Virtual Directories

To publish from any directory not contained within your home directory, you create a virtual directory. A virtual directory is a directory that is not physically contained in the home directory, but appears to client browsers as though it were.

A virtual directory has an alias, a name that client browsers use to access that directory. Because an alias is usually shorter than the path name of the directory, it is more convenient for users to type. An alias is more secure; users do not know where your files are physically located on the server and cannot use that information to modify your files. Aliases make it easier for you to move directories in your site. Instead of changing the URL for the page, you change the mapping between the alias and the physical location of the page.

For example, suppose you are setting up a Web site on your company’s intranet to show the company’s products. Your Web site is called Products. The following table shows the mapping between the physical location of the files and the URL that accesses the files.

Alias URL
C:\Inetpub\Wwwroot (Home Directory) http://products/
C:\Inetpub\Wwwroot\Scripts Scripts http://products/scripts/
D:\Catalog1 Clothes http://products/clothes/

For instructions on how to create and map virtual directories, see Adding Virtual Directories.

The Webpub Directory

The C:\Inetpub\Webpub directory is created during setup for use by the publishing wizard. When you use the wizard to publish a file located in another directory, the wizard makes a copy of the file and places it in the Webpub folder. The Webpub folder is a read-only folder, so the files in the folder cannot be modified. The wizard also saves a mapping of where the original file resides. If you make changes to the original file, you have the option of refreshing the copy in the Webpub directory. If you decide to stop publishing a file, the copy of the file in Webpub is deleted, but the original file remains intact.

Once the wizard copies a file to the Webpub folder, it also adds a link to the home page. You have the option of adding descriptive text to help users navigate your Web site. If you add a file to the Webpub folder by using the Windows Explorer, a new link still appears on your home page. You can use the publishing wizard to edit the description for the link. Because the wizard has no location mapping information to the original file, the wizard cannot refresh the file.

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