How to Use Dropbox to Host a Simple HTML Website.
To host even the most basic websites, you need to know a lot about things like domain names, web hosting space, servers, CMS, etc. This is especially troubling for you if you are new to this kind of thing. That being said, if you want to host complex websites like RTT, you have no choice but to go through what I said earlier. However, if all you need is a simple website with several pages, such as a portfolio site or a small business site, then the process shouldn’t be that hard.
Most of us use Dropbox to store and share files. Not only for storage and sharing, but you can also use Dropbox for many other things. One of them is free hosting of your own website with Dropbox. So, if you want a simple website, here’s how to use Dropbox to host websites in just a few clicks.
Here’s a demo website we hosted on Dropbox.
Well, when you decide to host your website with Dropbox, there are some limitations to keep in mind. This is because Dropbox is cloud storage and is not intended to host websites. Below are some things to keep in mind.
- Only 2 GB of free space. You can increase it with referrals.
- You can only host static HTML sites. You cannot host dynamic websites using PHP, Java, etc.
- Bandwidth is limited and if your website is getting high traffic it might not work for most of them.
- You do not have access to the server or advanced settings that you get when hosting your site on a dedicated web host.
- Since you won’t have a visual editor to create HTML files, you need to know a little about HTML, CSS, and a few things about editing Markdown.
- To host your own domain, you will have to opt for the premium version.
Use Dropbox to host a website
There are several free services that let you host websites with Dropbox. For this particular tutorial, I am using DropPages. With a free account, you can use the DropPages subdomain with 50MB of storage. If you want to use your own domain name with a lot of storage, you need to subscribe to their premium plan.
To get started, go to DropPages and click the “Login” button that will appear on the main page.
The above action will take you to the Dropbox authentication screen. Here, click the Allow button to grant permissions to DropPages. Don’t worry, DropPages will only have access to its own folder. They won’t be able to access other folders or files in your Dropbox account.
After granting the required permissions, you will be redirected back to DropPages. Here click on the button “Create a new site”.
You will be taken to the domain selection page. Here enter the new domain name example.droppages.com and click the “Create” button. Remember to replace “example” with your own name. Since you have a free plan, you cannot add your own domain.
That’s all there is to it. You have successfully created a website using Dropbox and DropPages. By going to the domain you created, you will be able to access your new site. Of course, nothing will happen until you add content to it.
All files created by DropPages will be stored in your Dropbox account. If you open your Dropbox account and go to /Apps/My.DropPages/, you will see a new folder with your domain name.
Inside this folder, you will see three more subfolders. Here’s what they are and what they do.
Content: The content folder is used to download text files written in the Markdown language. These text files are then rendered in HTML format using the templates folder. You don’t need to specifically use text files with Markdown to create content for your site, but it will make your life much easier.
Public: This folder contains all public files such as CSS, JS, images, as well as downloadable content such as PDFs, ZIP files, etc.
Templates: You can use this folder to host all your HTML files. This folder is also responsible for rendering HTML files with text files in the Content folder.
To add content to your new site, upload your HTML files to the Templates folder and other files such as images, CSS, and JS to the Public folder. If everything goes right, your new website will be up and running in no time.
Now if you go to your domain name, you can see that the layout is pretty simple, just two lines of text. No images or CSS.
You can upload your own HTML and CSS files to the content folder and to the public folder.
Or DropPages also offers 3 free themes. Download any of them, extract the content, and you’ll find three folders – Content, Public and Templates. Just upload the contents of these folders to the appropriate directory on your Dropbox and you have a website like this. (see screenshot above).
To change how text and images are entered on the website, update the Content and Public folders.
There are several free HTML themes to help you create the website you want. Here’s a good site for you to get started with good HTML themes. If you don’t know how to write HTML, you can use this free HTML content creation tool.
Also, be sure to read the DropPages documentation to get the most out of it.
That being said, if you are serious about your site, I recommend that you host it on the correct web host with the correct domain name. The following video will help you create a professional website with WordPress in less than 10 minutes.
Hope it helps and leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences on using the above method for using Dropbox to host a website.