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Host a Website on Google Drive

Google-DriveLast month, Mark showed us how to use Google Drive to host a continuously-updating archive of a Twitter account. Doing so means taking advantage of a new Google Drive feature, “site publishing.”

Now, maybe I just hadn’t had enough coffee when I was working on implementing “site publishing,” but it seems to me that the instructions provided by Google are not as helpful as they could be. It’s actually pretty easy, so I put together what may be an excessively detailed, step-by-step guide for under-caffeinated people like me. (This guide assumes you already have some HTML content you’d like to publish. And, as always, be mindful of the stability and security–or lack thereof–in the cloud. )

1. Log in to your Google Drive account

2. Select "Create > Folder"

3. Name the new folder whatever you like

4. Select the checkbox next to the new folder

5. Click the "Sharing settings" icon

6. Click "Change"

7. Make your folder "Public on the web"

8. Click on your new folder’s title

9. Your new, public folder is empty

10. Click the upload "Files" icon

11. Select an index.html file from your hard drive and click "Upload and share"

Two important things to take note of:

  • If you do not start with an index.html file, then visitors to your site will see a directory listing of all of the files in that particular folder, rather than your beautifully designed home page.
  • Do not let Google Drive convert your HTML files into native GoogleDocs files. Adjust your settings appropriately.

12. Your new folder now has a home page

You still need to figure out what the web address for your new site is. The next two steps involve a simple bit of copying and pasting.

  • As the owner of the account, you can access (and edit) your files via http://drive.google.com
  • The visitors to your site, however, will use a different domain: http://googledrive.com

13. Copy the string of characters after "#folders"

14. Paste that string into the address bar after "http://googledrive.com/host/"

Ta-dah! Now you have the beginnings of a web site hosted on Google Drive. What’s been your experience using this feature? Please share in the comments.

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