How to Set Up a New or Existing Site in Dreamweaver - dummies

How to Set Up a New or Existing Site in Dreamweaver

By Janine Warner

To set up a site in Dreamweaver, you need to store all your site’s resources in one main folder or directory on your hard drive. Dreamweaver calls this folder the local site folder, and when you set up a new site, you essentially just identify that folder in Dreamweaver.

The site setup process is a crucial first step because all the elements of your site must remain in the same relative location on your web server as they are on your hard drive for your links, images, and other elements to work properly.

Identifying the local site folder on your computer and keeping all images, text, and other files in your website in that one main folder help Dreamweaver set all your links properly and ensure that they still work when you publish your site to a web server.

In earlier versions of Dreamweaver, the local site folder was called the local root folder and the site setup process was called the site definition process.

The Site Setup dialog box also contains a category called Servers (accessible by a link on the left side) where you can set up your site to use Dreamweaver’s file transfer features, including its FTP (File Transfer Protocol) capabilities to transfer files from your computer to a web server (and vice versa).

FTP is a common method of copying files to and from computers connected across a network, such as the Internet, and one of the most popular options for publishing a website online. To keep things simple for now, you can skip all the categories except the Site category.

If the site setup process seems a little confusing at first, don’t worry. Site setup is a quick, relatively painless process that you must do only once for each site. After you’ve set up a site in Dreamweaver, the site is stored in the Files panel, where you can easily load the site into Dreamweaver whenever you want to work on it.

Whether you’re creating a site or working on an existing site for the first time, the following steps walk you through the process of defining the local site folder, a folder where you store all the images, text, and other files in your site:

  1. Choose Site→New Site.

    The Site Setup dialog box appears.

  2. On the left side of the dialog box, click the Site category.

    When you open the Site Setup dialog box, the Site category should be selected by default. This dialog box contains three other categories, where you can manage server connections and other options, but you don’t need to open these categories to complete the basic site setup process.


  3. In the Site Name text box, type a name for your site.

    You can call your site whatever you like; this name is used only to help you keep track of your sites in Dreamweaver. Many people work on more than one website. The name you enter here is listed in the Files panel, where you select which site you want to work on in Dreamweaver.

  4. Click the Browse (file folder) icon, which is next to the Local Site Folder text box, and browse your hard drive to locate the folder you want to serve as the main folder for all the files in your website.

    If you’re working on an existing site, select the folder that already contains the files for that site. If you’re creating a site, you can create a new folder as follows:

    • In Windows: Click the Create New Folder icon at the top of the Choose Root Folder dialog box.

    • In Mac OS X: Click the New Folder icon at the bottom of the Choose Root Folder dialog box.

    The goal is to simply select the folder so that Dreamweaver can identify where all the files and folders for your site will be stored. When you’ve completed this step, the name of the folder and the path to that folder’s location on your hard drive appear in the Local Site Folder field.

  5. Click Save to close the Site Setup dialog box and save your settings.

    If the folder you selected as your local site folder already contains files or folders, all the files and folders in your site are displayed in the Files panel. If you were creating a new site with a new empty folder, the Files panel would contain only the main site folder.