Importing a Website in Microsoft Expression® Web

Posted by: Minal Agarwal , on 6/12/2007, in Category Expression Web
Views: 46367
Abstract: Expression® Web lets you import a website and work on it. Now there could be many reasons why you would like to import a website in Expression® Web so lets look at some of these reasons and the method of importing a website.

There are different reasons why you may want to import a website. It could be that you have already started constructing a website using another program like the earlier Microsoft program for website creation; Microsoft FrontPage. And now you would like to open this website with Microsoft® Expression® Web and continue working on it, then Expression Web doesn’t force you to start from scratch. Instead you can import the complete website either from your local drive or from a remote location.  

Other reasons could be if you want to move the website from one location to another may be for maintenance or to revamp it.  

So Expression® Web Import Wizard is a handy method to import the website.

Import Website Wizard

For importing a website using the Import Website Wizard follow the steps given below:

1.    Go to the File menu > Choose New > Web Site.

2.    In the New dialog box, choose the General category in the left pane(selected by default) and then select Import Web Site Wizard in the middle pane.

Expression Web New dialog box 

3.    As you click on OK the Import Web Site Wizard – Welcome screen appears. The wizard asks you to choose the method for importing the website.

Expression Web Import Web Site Wizard Welcome dialog

a.    FrontPage Server Extensions:

If your remote website is running on FrontPage Server, you could choose this option. Click on the radio button to choose this method and then type the URL of the remote website that you would use to view the website in the browser, in the Web Site Location textbox. 

Expression Web FrontPage Server Extensions 


You can also choose to include the subsites by checking the Include subsites checkbox. You can also import the website using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) by checking the Use Encrypted Connection (SSL) checkbox.

Click on the Next button to continue with the wizard. If the FrontPage Server Extensions are not installed on your remote website then a warning will be flashed, that you cannot import the website, as shown in the figure below. 

Expression Web Warning

In such a situation you should first verify if the FrontPage Server Extensions are installed on the remote site. If you find that they are installed and still you are prompted with the warning then you must verify with your host.

If the FrontPage Server Extensions are sited then you would be prompted for the login details. The username and password that you enter here would be assigned to you by the administrator of the Website or the hosting company.

b.    WebDAV

You can choose this method if your remote Web Server supports Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning aka WebDAV. Enter the URL in the Web Site Location just as you did in FrontPage Server Extensions. Using WebDAV you cannot include subsites while importing but you can import using SSL by checking the Use Encrypted Connection (SSL) checkbox.

In the next step you need to enter the login credentials when importing the website using WebDAV.

c.    FTP

To import a website using FTP select this radio button. Enter the FTP address of the website in the Web Site Location textbox. You may also require to enter the root directory a root directory in the Root Directory textbox depending upon the configuration of the website.  Expression Web Import Web Site Wizard FTP

Click on Next to continue with the wizard. You will be prompted for login credentials to proceed.

d.    File System

This method is most suitable when you want to import a website from local file system. Nevertheless you can also use this to import a website from any location to which you have access via file system. In other words you can use the UNC path (Universal Naming Convention path) or a mapped drive to import. The UNC path consists of the server name followed by the share name in the following format: \\server_name\share_name

For example: \\test_server1\All_websites where, test_server1 is the server and All_websites is the share or shared folder on the network. 

The File System method is commonly used in an office network where there are many servers available.

Enter the Web Site Location and you can also opt to include subsites by checking on the Include Subsites checkbox.

e.    HTTP

You can use the HTTP (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol) method to import a website that you cannot with any of the above methods. This is the only method that doesn’t require authentication to complete the import process.

There is a difference between HTTP and the other methods. You can import any website that is accessible over the Internet. In the HTTP import method, the Import Web Site wizard has a new step of Set Import Limits. This is logically the third step in the process so when you click on Next you move to the second step that is Choose your destination web location. This step is common to all the methods irrespective of which you choose; hence it is explained later in the article. I will explain step 3 over here since it is specific to HTTP method of importing websites. 

Expression Web Set Import limits


The step lets you specify how the Import Web Site wizard decides what to import using the following checkboxes:-

1)    Import the home page plus linked pages # levels deep – Expression Web will follow hyperlinks to the depth you specify here, while importing the website. For instance if you specify 2 levels the home page will be imported  along with all the pages linked to home page(1st level) and all pages linked to these pages(2nd level). 

2)    Import a maximum of # KB – choose this option when you want to limit the amount of content that is imported. This could be helpful if you have a low bandwidth or slow internet connection. So when this option is selected, Expression Web will import the home page of the website and then will continue to follow links and import files until the maximum value is reached.  

3)    Import only HTML and image files – Expression Web only imports images and HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) files. Files like CSS files and other script files will not be imported.

NOTE: If none of these options are selected, by default Import Web Site wizard will import all files accessible from home page and all the child pages.

4.    The next step is to specify the destination location for website. When you click on the Next button on the Welcome screen Choose your destination web location dialog box appears as shown in the figure below.

Expression Web Change destination


Fill in the Local copy location where you want the website to be imported. This location can be a UNC path, a location on your disk or an HTTP site. You can add the imported website to the current website if any site is open, by checking Add to current Web Site checkbox.  

TIP: While specifying an HTTP site in location, the website must have FrontPage Server Extensions installed. 


NOTE: It may happen sometimes that Set Import Limits step is skipped in the import process even if you are using the HTTP method. This could be possible when the website you are trying to import is configured with FrontPage Server Extensions and when Expression® Web detects that FrontPage Server Extensions are installed on the remote website; then it automatically uses the FrontPage Server Extensions to import the website. In such a situation you will get the option of choosing what to import with the Copy Web Site view at the end of the importing process. 

5.    Once you have specified all the details required, click on the Finish button to complete the importing process.

Expression Web Import Wizard finish dialog


NOTE: When HTTP method is chosen, the process of importing website begins immediately after you click on Finish in the last step of the wizard. In the other methods you will be prompted with the Copy Web Site view to copy the files and folders to complete the import process. Copy Web Site will be explored in a later article.  



I hope this article has been educative for you. With this you should be able to import any of your websites into Expression Web and work with them. I thank you for reading this article.

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Minal Agarwal, Expression Web MVP, MCDST, works as a freelance web designer (SaffronStroke) working on Expression Web, Photoshop and other Graphical tools. As a hobby, she also runs a famous Food site called Follow her on twitter @ saffronstroke

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