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Phalanx's Simple Barebones Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Keenspace Site Online for Complete Beginners

Whew! Talk about a long title!

So hey-ho, you got a comic and you want to put it online for the world to see. You've applied for a Keenspace Account and wow! you've got your username and password, and your account is ready and waiting for you. Congratulations! You've accomplished a lot more than most people have.

First things first: Your Keenspace account is a precious thing and there are loads of people out there who have been waiting patiently for one and have not gotten it yet. I for one, waited from September 2002 before I got mine in June 2003, and there are others who have waited longer, so don't misuse it, don't abandon it and make sure you make good use of it! If you decide you don't want it, have the decency to let Keen know so your poor webcomic doesn't languish in Keenspace limbo, and dies a nice, quick, merciful death instead. Even better, give it away to someone who is waiting for an account (just ask in the forums). Trust me, it's good karma.

Whoops, got carried away there... Anyway, here are the list of basic basic steps you have to do to get your comic online:

Also, by popular request, anyone planning to start a webcomic is recommended to have a look at this site first:

How Not To Run A Comic

STEP 1: Find Plans (Apologies for the DOTT reference.) Get the comics you want to put up, and get them into digital format (Scan 'em whatever). This may sound banal, but it's amazing how some people never think how they're going to transfer those lovely drawings of theirs to the computer and subsequently the Internet. Of course, I'm sure you know this and I don't have to tell you this, right?

Also, OPTIMIZE your comics. Don't have them wider than 700 pixels if you can help it, and keep the filesizes below 150 K. Anything other than that is an annoyance to all but broadband users. Personally, I think that people who post static, normal looking comics which are somehow 1 MB in size should be shot!... Erm.. of course, that's my own private opinion.

STEP 2: Name your creations I'm assuming you already have a working name for your comic, else you wouldn't have gotten the Keenspace account. What I mean by naming your creations is naming the image files that will be the actual pages of your comic. You'll want to have them in a common image format (.gif, .jpg .tiff .png whatever you make the call).

However, to be able to use the automatic update feature that comes with Keenspace, you need to update your comics in date format. For example, if today's date is the 9th of June, 2003. And Page 1 of your comic will be posted today, then name your comic page 20030609.jpg (or whatever file format you chose). Remember it's four digits for the year, two digits for the month, and two digits for the day. So, YYYYMMDD.jpg.

Name all your files this way, but with the dates you want them up. It can be a future date if you like.

STEP 3: Get Thee a FTP Program (Skip this if you have one and know how to use it)

If you don't know what FTP is, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In non tech jargon, A FTP client is a program that brings the files from your computer to Keenspace's computer. There are plenty of free ones out there, so do a search on Google. Or if you know of a good free one, post here and let me know so I can link it up. Edit: LennyZ posted a thread that listed a few good sites which I will include here. Thanks Lenny! SmartFTP - Popular favourite, seems to used by the majority of people I know. FileZilla - Never tried it, but I've been told it's good for beginners WS_FTP - Heard that it's simple (and therefore also good for beginners) LeechFTP - Been told it can handle multiple transfers at once. RBrowserLite - A pretty good Mac OS X ftp client for beginners. Nothing fancy, but it just works. ;) Also, WEbmonkey have FTP tutorials which should help. Internet Explorer can also be used as an FTP Client, as Boxjam explains here. (Thanks to Psychotik for the link)

STEP 4: It's Movin Time! You'll need to know what your Host URL is first. Usually, its your That means if my comic is called Phalanx, and my login name is phalanx, then the URL I should FTP to is Got that? Great!
Start up your FTP program and enter the following information into the these fields. I'll use my name for these examples:

The other fields you can pretty much ignore. (Note: If your FTP program has an annonymous setting, uncheck/turn it off). Now try to connect. If you can't, there might be a problem with your account. You can try connect using . If you still can't, either Keen is having trouble with the server or your account isn't ready. Check the Keenspace Live Journal (Link somewhere in this post) for updates or just wait a day or two. Draw some comics in the meantime ;). What's that? You can connect!? Hurrah! On to the next step!

STEP 5: Welcome to Your Account! Your FTP program should show you that there are two folders in your account. One will be called public_html and the other will be called workspace. Ignore public_html for now, workspace is where you need to go.

STEP 6: Just in case you screw up... Make a copy of all the files in /workspace and save them in your hardrive. They'll come in handy if you mess up later. Not that I'm saying you will, but just in case. Remember, backup = safety net.

STEP 7: View your workspace Open the workspace folder. There should be 5 items in it: 3 folders and 2 html files. The folders are: comics, images and webpages. The html files are indextemplate.html and dailytemplate.html.

STEP 8: Upload the comics into the comics folder Upload all your comic images (they are in date format, right?) to the comics folder. Use your FTP program to do so.

STEP 9: The two .html files Go back to /workspace and download a copy of indextemplate.html and dailytemplate.html. Open them with your text editor.

STEP 10: Fix the name

This step does NOT have to be done anymore. Keen has fixed this problem already. I'm just keeping this here for contingency purposes

Keen has thoughtfully created a basic template for your comic already. You don't have to change anything, unless you want to change your background colour, page layout etc. (You need knowledge of HTML to do this, BTW)

STEP 11: Upload the files! Upload the version of indextemplate.html and dailytemplate.html to your workspace folder. Overwrite the originals if you have to. Don't worry, you have a backup version, remember?

STEP 12: Log in to Keenspace SiteAdmin The main login site at Keenspace isn't working, so us new account people should use this one:

Remember that username/passwords are case sensitive!

STEP 13: Update your information Select the Edit your comic option, (Usually it's Edit 'Name of comic'). There are loads of details, but for time being, just update your main information with details such as the date of your first comic and other information you might consider important. If you're not sure what something does, DON'T CHANGE IT! Submit the changes and go back to the main menu.

STEP 14: Request an update! Select the option that says: 'manual update'. You'll be given three options: Regular, Index only and Full. Pick Full. Notice the number of people in the queue before you select the option.

STEP 15: Queue up! If the last step has been done right, the number of people in the queue should increase by 1. Your comic update is now in the queue and all you have to do is wait.

STEP 16: It's the final countdown! The numbers shown on the queue are actually how many people there are in the queue, and not how many people before its your turn. Please do NOT refresh your browser to check the numbers, as in some browsers, the update information will be resent, which means you are requesting two updates and clogging the server.

You can check the progress of your site by checking the (Replace 'sitename' with your site name). The last line should tell you when your site last updated, down to the second.

Go to your site and check it out. A basic basic version of your site should have appeared, with a title, author name, one page of comic, and links to other pages if you uploaded more than one page! Congratulations! Your Keenspace site is now functional. Now all you have to do is pretty up the site using html and images, and maybe add some features, but I'll leave that up to you.

I hope this guide helps. Check out the FAQ above for more info. Good Luck, and Happy Comicking!

Also, for information about sprucing up your page, check out the Workshop link below.

Back to : <Workshop | Jade's Office >

The Jaded is hosted on Keenspace, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics.

"The Jaded", all its characters, webpage and images are the creations of Ping and are protected under copyright law. Please do not reproduce without permission.