Many modern website content management systems are database driven where pages are rendered dynamically ‘on the fly’ whenever people visit your website, instead of being self-hosted HTML files.
Modern database driven website systems do not typically reside in an old-school directory structure with a ‘root folder’. Website platforms like Squarespace, Wix and Sporty have become popular because they:
- make it easy for non-technical people to update website content without developer cost
- include website hosting and avoid the need to ftp upload files to a web server
- future-proof your organisation, since platform providers continuously extend their platforms (whereas the components of a self-hosted site such as Wordpress remain unchanged unless a web developer is engaged to update them).
Occasionally you may encounter third-party services that expect your website to be self-hosted and have an old-school directory structure or a ‘root folder’. For example, Google introduced a requirement to upload an ads.txt file to the website root folder to verify Adsense publisher IDs. This impacted websites on dynamic platforms, with Wix posting this message in June 2019:
Normally the third party service (Google in this example) would support an alternative method, such as adding a TXT record to your DNS settings. However, if no other option is provided, the only workaround is for the website platform to develop some other place to store the ads.txt file, and then programmatically handle requests for it in a way that creates the illusion of a root folder. This sort of development can be expensive and platform providers are unlikely to absorb the cost unless there is demand from a sufficient number of people to justify the expense.
If you wish to use third-party services with your website, please ensure they provide a fully hosted solution. If the third-party service requires you to upload files to your own self-hosted web server, you can still achieve this by using a web hosting service such as www.1stdomains.co.nz/hosting for a modest cost. If you need help doing this, the Sporty team may be able to assist you for a fee that covers the cost of this work.