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Sync iWeb with a Third Party Host


Sync iWebFor some reason, you’ve decided not to go with .Mac. Murphy made the same decision. But it’s not an easy call to make.

.Mac makes a lot of things really easy. Like Photocasting and publishing iWeb sites. You get a backup tool and other stuff that’s tightly intergrated with OS X.

But Murphy couldn’t ignore the math. Apple’s .Mac give you a single gig of storage and ten gigs of transfer for about $100 per year. Other hosts charge about the same, but might offer two HUNDRED storage gigs and THOUSANDS of gigs in transfer. The difference in cost per gig is enormous. With that kind of storage space you could keep a copy of all your valuable photos and music online.

Whatever the reason, we’ll assume you’ve decided to publish your iWeb sites outside of .Mac and its fabulous toys. Now you have to get your web site from a folder on your disk to a web server on the Internet. No big deal if you do it every once in a while, just use a web-based upload tool.
But if you blog, you might be updating every day. You don’t want to endure a tedious process every time you write seven paragraphs about your cat. You only want the changes copied, with minimal effort.

That’s where rsync comes in. You’ll need a host that provides shell access. Not all of them do. Google for web hosting and ssh to find some suitable hosts.
Shell access means the host lets you use your Mac Terminal to manage your site. Tools like scp and ssh that facilitate command-line remote control of a server. It’s a security risk for the provider, so they might not allow it. They get peace of mind by limiting you to web-based tools they provide.

If you’re updating sites frequently, take a look at this screencast. It might be worth it for you to switch providers.

Never used Terminal before? In the wrong hands it can be a bad thing! Watch the warning before proceeding.

Update: See Murphy’s post about using SSH without a password. It let’s you use rsync securely without a password too.

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49 comments to “Sync iWeb with a Third Party Host”

  1. I recently created a website using iweb and I also wanted to transfer it to another host, however, I also wanted to use another url that I own. Problem is, I am no html expert and I am pretty sure that i have to change the source code in all the html files so that the site is directed to the new url and not the current .mac one. Does anyone have any idea how I can do this considering how sloppy iweb’s source code is? I can’t find the code I need to change.

  2. That shouldn’t be a problem. iWeb is good about using relative links. This is evidenced by how you can browse your site when you publish to a folder on your computer. At that point the html doesn’t know what site it will be hosted on, and it STILL works after you upload it – without you changing the code.  That means the relative output of iWeb is site/domain independent.  

    In other words, iWeb didn’t know your domain name when you published the site, it doesn’t need to know it after, or  when you move it either.  That’s good news for you.

    What will break is rss. If you have a blog you probably re-publish your site all the time anyway. When you publish to a folder you need to tell iWeb your domain name to make the feed work right.  There’s a file in an iWeb blog that uses an absolute url, which means it needs to know the domain name – the full url.  See this post for more details:

  3. Murphy, I’m not sure you can be of help or not, but I figure it’s worth a shot. I stumbled upon your site the other day looking for a solution to the tedious process of uploading iWeb’s published folders to my webhost. I agree with the whole .Mac thing costing way too much.

    Okay, so here’s the issue. Whenever I type the syntax as you have shown in your screen cast, rsync just hangs. Nothing transfers (at least that I can tell). I can connect to my web server just fine through SSH, and rsync works fine working just locally. However, when I attempt to sync local and SSH, it doesn’t work. Here’s what I’ve been entering.

    ‘rsync -avz /iWeb/test [username]’
    I have tried using just -v as well. I’m using rsync version 2.6.9.

    Any help you could give me would be awesome, as this is driving me crazy.

  4. When you put that leading slash in front of iWeb you’re saying the iWeb folder is right in the root of your drive. Is that where it is? Or is it in your home folder somewhere? That could be the problem right there.

    Are you getting an error message?

  5. Awesome lil blurb Murphy… Question however, aside from the obvious web-bits like Blogging, RSS..etc, are there any limitations to iWeb’s core features when hosting iWeb pages on third-party web hosting providers.

    I really like what iWeb can do, but I just want to make sure I can do the same on 3rd party webhost providers.

  6. Rami –

    There are definitely things in the first version of iWeb that need .Mac. I haven’t done anything with the new iWeb yet. Not enough to make ME pay for .Mac – but that doesn’t mean .Mac isn’t right for other people.

    Do you have anything specific in mind?

  7. Sorry for the late response…

    That leading slash was a typo, but that was only mistyped in this forum. When I actually type the command, I don’t use the slash as iweb is in my home directory. No, I don’t get any error messages. It just hangs until I force quit using ^C.

    Out of curiosity, what webhosting service do you use? There’s a slight chance that netfirms doesn’t allow the use of rsync (at least that’s what I was told. I’m in the middle of clarifying that right now), so I may be looking for an alternative. Thanks!

  8. I use Bluehost. It’s been reliable for the most part. Every now and then – like every two months – there’s a brief outage. But I think it’s decent value for the money.

  9. Alright, I’m going to look into that. It may be worth it if you have no trouble using rsync

  10. I have a friend who put tons of music on the server and bluehost told them to remove it. I don’t understand why it would be a problem if it wasn’t in the web root though.

    You could always encrypt what you’re uploading if you wanted to use it for online backup.

  11. I am new to the Iweb software (and macs in general). I already have a subscription to and I do not believe they allow SSH. So.. I am looking for the answer to two questions.

    1. Does anyone know if Globat will allow rsync or SSH at somepoint in the near future?
    2. Since they allow 1000gbs of space and 1000gb’s of xfer, should I go with .mac for my main pages and maybe put up my music, photos and videos on globat with links from my site on .mac? In other words, should I use both?

    Any recommendation would be appreciated since I am very new to iWeb and Mac in general.

  12. Hey Murphy, quick question. I am creating a website on iWeb 2.0.2 on my HOME computer, but I’d like to also modify my site on my WORK computer — allowing me to update my blog on the fly, as opposed to waiting to get home. Thing is, my boss also has an iWeb site on my work computer (that he wrote on iWeb 1.0). However, he doesn’t use .Mac to host it. So my question is — can I make changes to MY website (i.e. update my blog), then publish ONLY my changes on MY website to .Mac, or will this somehow screw up HIS website. Remember, HE doesn’t have a .Mac account. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  13. I think Murph is taking a bit of a break, even though he answered on the 26th, lets keep in mind it is the holidays :)

    But if not Murphy (or when he gets back) does anyone know the answer/s to Aarons or my question/s?

    Oh, and Happy Holidays all – I just got a new .5 TB drive for my mini !!

  14. Mr. Mojo –

    I would only go with .mac if I had needs that only they can fill. Like if I NEEDED to use the one click publishing from iWeb or to have bookmarks sync from Safari or use photocasting.
    I haven’t spent any time with the new iWeb yet, so I can’t say much about that. I don’t use .mac mostly because of the space limitation. But here’s another reason I don’t use it: I can use Terminal to manage the files on my Bluehost account. By creating a few shell scripts you can get things to where it’s quite automated.
    I have posts on my site about interacive shell scripts. That can help a lot. Read up on ssh too. And scp. I have posts on all those things. If you’re not familiar with Terminal or command line environments be careful. You can wipe out files very easily. Search my site for noclobber mode too!

    As far as what Globat might do – I have no idea. I’ve never heard of them. I’m sure some ISPs are wary of letting customers have shell access to their servers.
    Using both would work fine. I’m just not sure it’s a prudent use of money.

  15. Aaron –

    Iweb stores your entire site, and then uploads the changes to .Mac. If I understand what you’re asking you’d always have to update both your home machine and the work machine so they’d have the same version of the site. While that could be done it would take a little work to automate the process and make it convenient.

    I’m saying that without checking to see if iWeb 2 has changed the way it stores your work. Look at my post on backing up iWeb, it will give you a little insight on how iWeb stores the information.

  16. Hey Murphy,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I really appreciate it. One more quick question. My company wants me to build them a website. They want a lot of youtube embedded video, lots of pictures, a running blog, etc… While I know iWeb can handle all of that, my main concern is bandwith. We expect a high volume of hits per day. I want to use .Mac because I know the software and it’s so easy to do one-click publishing when you make a change to your website (which I will be doing frequently), but am I a fool to use .Mac because I might exceed bandwith very quickly?

    What would you do?

    A) Build the site in iWeb (which I know how to use) and upload to .Mac

    B) Build the site in iWeb and try using an outside webhost (i.e. Start Logic) to host the site, even though this could result in the headaches I read about from other uses (i.e. can’t see navigation bars, pictures not loading right, blog won’t work, and then having to do all kinds of stressful coding tweeks, which unfortunately I really don’t have time for (3 kids).

    C) Build the site in RAPIDWEAVER, a software I’ve heard good things about and upload to a webhost such as Start Logic?

    Also, does RAPIDWEAVER sync well and easily with Start Logic, or any trusted webhost. And can you embed YouTube videos with RapidWeaver?

    Sorry for all the questions, I’ve been scouring the Internet trying to find the answers with Google, but nothing specific is coming up. I just thought I’d ask an expert straight up. Thanks.

  17. Murphy,

    Thanks so much – I will be considering my options for publishing, but I too, will probably steer away from .mac – simply because of cost (space and features)

    Thanks again, and you have a loyalist mac follower now (I’ve learned to hate windows:)

    Thanks again

  18. Murphy,

    Great site – thanks for the info. I’m hoping you can assist me as well. We currently have a .Mac site that we use and are satisfied with. However, we are on a school network that refuses to find our iDisk (I can’t count the hours spent trying to fix the problem), so I can’t publish our site at home. To do so, I have to drag my laptop into town, find a free Wi-Fi and sit until it’s finished uploading. NOT ideal.

    So, is there a way for me to publish to a folder and sync only changed files to my .Mac account in a somewhat modified form of this method? At present, if I publish to a folder, I have to access my iDisk online, then upload file by file until it’s all there – it’s getting ridiculous.

  19. aaron –

    If you’re expecting a high amount of hits I’d take a hard look at other solutions. iWeb has been criticized for bloated pages. I don’t know much about how .mac performs speed-wise.

    For a critical site that I had to manage I’d want ssh access to the server. Anything else would be frustrating.

    Also – if you build up a lot of content and decide to use a different tool later it could be harder to move from iweb than it would be with other applications.

  20. Great and useful site :) thanks for yor screencasts and bye from Italy

  21. I am eager to create my first website. Please excuse me if I sound quite elementary. I am a teacher and have been using a mac for a while. I am planning to purchase the new ilife software because my computer does not have iweb. I was wondering which host you suggest. I can see that many steer away from .mac for several reasons. I feel quite overwhelmed with all the options and steps needed to create a website, but I am more that eager to learn. Any guidance and steps I need to take (as I have not yet done anything but get confused in all the research) would be greatly appreciated! I am hoping on making a site for my class as well as another for my family. Thank you, again!

  22. Thanks, Murphy. I think my final solution is to build the website in RAPID WEAVER, and then publish to Start Logic. That should make it easy to frequently change the site with one-click publishing.

  23. Helo Murphy

    I’m creating a website. For a project in iweb 08, but I want one of my sites password protected and then publish it outside .Mac because I can’t effort that cost. However I searched for a free host, and certainly I don’t know about this host things or anything so I wanted to know how to upload my website with the password protected site on it. Would you tell me if there’s a way?

    Thank you.

    I am using an app called Easy iWeb Publisher to upload my website to hostsnake

  24. Roble – Most hosts have a mechanism in their interface to let you password protect a folder. So you would upload the published iweb content to your host, then use the interface they provide to password protect the folder you uploaded to. When someone tries to access a site inside that folder they will be prompted for a password.

  25. Thank you! I’ll try what you say

  26. Hey Murphy,

    Great site, by the way! I have one issue that’s driving me nuts, and you may be able to help out. I have a client who’s using iWeb to publish the site, but they want me to do a couple things on my side (and I am not using iWeb). However, every change I make doesn’t show up, and looking around, for the life of me I can’t figure this out. Does iWeb have some file that it references that needs to be updated for any pages to update? I hope that makes sense and is something fixable. Thanks so much!

  27. Morgan –

    You should be able to edit the html once it’s on your server. iWeb uses CSS, but the html that iWeb generates is far from conventional. It’s kind of messy and bloated.

    Could it be that they are republishing after you make changes?

  28. Murphy, I need a host to put my iWeb files onto. Do u know a good website thats free? ANd also i need a step by step process how to upload them. Thanks

  29. Here’s a site that offers free hosting, but I haven’t tried it.

    Read my iweb posts to get some more information. The host probably provides uploading tools, or you can search for details on FTP client for Mac.

  30. Murphy –
    Just tried this with iWeb files published to a folder and then to a dreamhost account using Rsync. But it appears that Terminal simply copied the entire site again. I made one text change as a test so I would assume only one page and maybe some background graphic (?) would need to be uploaded. But there goes Terminal uploading every one of the 200 photos again. Shouldn’t it bit AVC instead of AVZ? That’s what is says here:

    what do you think went wrong?

    Great tip by the way and the screencast really helped me wade through the mess of navigating terminal and ssh to dreamhost! thanks!


  31. ooops i meant this:


  32. I know this is kind of an old post, but I had a question regarding iWeb and WordPress. I currently have a WordPress blog and have all my posts there. It’s not a free WordPress blog, but one that I have linked to my domain name. I like the interface that WordPress uses for posting, but I want the actual look of my blog to be one that I created in iWeb.

    Is there any way I can publish my iWeb blog to my domain and then use WordPress when I want to write actual blog posts and have it update the posts in my iweb blog? If anyone can help me out, I’d appreciate it!


  33. I think your blog looks really nice!

    You can use the iweb blog and publish it to your domain, but you can’t update it with WordPress. WordPress is very tightly integrated within itself, as is iWeb’s blog stuff.

    The best you could do would be to make a WordPress theme that looks like whatever you did in iWeb. Then have your iWeb site include your WordPress blog as part of its content.

    I’d tell you more but I’m running out to catch a flight!

  34. I’m stumped. I’ve created a site with iweb and for now (until I figure this out) it hides one directory down from my main site on an AT&T Small Business website. I want to embed video from google videos or youtube and have them appear on a variety of pages on my site including the home page. I used the HTML snippet and all looks fine and the video shows up…until I upload my page to the server. That’s when I get “NOT FOUND. The requested URL http:// was not found on this server.”

    So far I’ve checked my service to make sure they allow you to have embedded videos (they do), I tried a number of different video services besides youtube. I just can’t figure it out. I could put the videos directly on the AT&T server, but they would take forever and a day to load (and yes, they show up). I’m sure I’m doing something dumb, but I haven’t figured it out yet. Anyone have advice?

  35. Murphy,

    Hopefully you’re still answering questions… I’ve built my site through iWeb ’08… you can view it at
    I have my own domain for my business… that is hosted through Yahoo. Although I do have a .mac account, I need to host this on Yahoo where my biz email is etc. My problem is when I use Fetch to FTP, the site doesn’t appear correctly as you can see. Are there any tips you can immediately think of that I’m missing? What other information do you need to help me??


  36. Is there any way to manage this trick using FTP login through the terminal instead? AFAIK the ssh route is blocked by my host, but they do give me ftp access to all my files. I’ve used CyberDuck in the past, but it doesn’t have true sync capabilities (just copies in, doesn’t remove old files). Fetch can manage it, but it both costs a large chunk of change and takes quite a while to do the update, even with just a simple blog entry. I think it compares each file, one at a time, with it’s server-side counterpart to see if it’s been updated… ought to be a faster way than that…

    Anyway, got any ideas for us cheapskates?

  37. HI Murphy! I need your help. I created a webpage using iweb but now i want to transfer that webpage to a different host (webstrike). I was able to upload it up but some link images are not appearing. Do you have any idea why? I think it has to do with the .rss coding not finding the images correctly but I’m not sure. Has anyone else asked you this problem?

    The original working website is

    The new site is

    The photo/fabric selection page is not working.

    Please Help!
    Thank you Murphy.

  38. Hey Genius
    question…I created a site in iweb and uploaded it to dreamhost but it’s not working.
    I just get an index or an error message…what am I doing wrong?
    can you help?

  39. Hi Murphy,
    Well you seem to be the man in the know and I need to know.

    I’ve bookmarked most of the other web hosts in lieu of mac (must change must change must change) that’s been suggested on this site and I do have a lot to
    breakdown to find the best one / most affordable or free…for my website.

    I am confused about what ssh is though ~ I’m not a techy so basic english works best for me.

    I’ve had my website with mac for 3 years but can no longer have diff / independent websites since they went mobileme and having them link is just too unprofessional. Each website subject/product matter has nothing to do with the other.
    I currently have my domain name through godaddy and it’s not recognizing my other website I have with mac…I do NOT want it to be part of my other site.

    Plus I can’t access mobile me from explorer anymore when I’m at work or the library…so mac is history. I want to keep my layout / background design / photos / video and want to add a blog and youtube vid at some point.

    In other words I’m looking for a host that’s either free or cheaper than Mac ($$$) and godaddy and is extremely simple to upload my mac sites to. Any suggestions I’m open.

    Thanks ~ you are a source of 411!

  40. Murphy i wanted to export my iweb site to globat but i cannot find how to. I don’t like the whole CNAME Alias thing, I just want the whole site to be on globat. Can you tell me what are where that files are that i need to copy, and how. And where do i need to copy them to on globat’s website. Your help will be much appreciated.

  41. I’m 16 and am a Macbook owner. My art teacher had my class make a website using iWeb, I liked my website so much that I decided I wanted to put on the internet.
    so there my dilemma, I don’t have a moblieme account and I could probably get my grandmother to help pay for it, but I’d rather find a cheaper provider with more space and one I could afford to pay for myself. What would you suggest?

  42. Perhaps you can help?
    I created a site in iweb but I expect to push a lot of traffic and I did not want to limit to mobileme limitations, so I set up a host account at go daddy, where I registered the URL (easiest).

    The site uploaded fine BUT the nav bar is missing and thus the other pages are missing. Go daddy first told us it was the free hosting we were using and the ads they ran might be getting in the way (scam) so we upgraded. That did not work either. Now they say its a mac problem and they don’t know how to solve it.

    So I either have to figure out a work around to make it work on godaddy or I have to host elsewhere. No time to move the url so I’ll do a redirect.

    Is there a place you recommend for hosting things created in iweb?

  43. Well, I’ve put up plenty of web sites on my bluehost host and never had a problem like that, I don’t know what GoDaddy is talking about. And lots of people have signed up for bluehost through Murphy Mac and nobody has every told me they had an issue with the host that turned out to be a “Mac problem”

    My guess would their ads are still cached somewhere and in the way. But without more information that’s just a guess. If all your stuff uploaded it should have just worked.

  44. Hello Murphy,

    I have created a site on iWeb 09 and I would like to know what are some iWeb compatible web servers other than .mac/mobileme that I can use to publish my site to?

  45. Hello Mr. Thompson. The only one I can recommend is Bluehost, because I use it to host this site. I get paid when people sign up for Bluehost through the site- just so you know. It’s worked out pretty well for me. But it’s not as straightforward with iWeb as Mobile Me.
    Click the Bluehost link above for more info. Or click here:

  46. Great post! I have been reading your website for awhile now and wanted to stop by to say hi. You have some pretty good info here! A friend of mine recently started a forum/social network that you should come chat at – – it would be great to have you there. Keep it up!

  47. I have the same issue as Eric Rhoads. My site is hosted by HostMonster, a sister company to When upgrading to a SSL and static IP address, suddenly the navbar on all of my iWeb websites stopped working. HostMonster doesn’t know what’s wrong. Do you have any ideas Murphy?


  48. Is it the site you linked to here James? I see a Nav bar at the top, not sure if it’s the same one you’re talking about.

  49. Thanks on your marvelous pisnotg! I truly enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will often come back down the road. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

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