Clueless newbie question about how Netlify works

I am a totally clueless newbie who can write a bit of code, but I don’t have any training in contemporary web page management. In the past I have created static html web pages running on a now-obliterated Apache server. I am trying to create a similar educational website to be used by people who don’t even know what code is. I’ve look at various Netlify documents, which are way above my head because I don’t know the terminology and I don’t know about various tools (what they do, how to make them do things). My question is whether you can give me a really elementary hook into getting a page up and running, or can you at least tell me “No you can’t do that with Netlify / Netlify is not appropriate for this”?

The web page that I want to set up exists (will exist) as a directory on my computer (Windows); it uses subdirectories and index.html, and there might be 4 or 5 levels of subdirectories. All of the html is contained in each directory’s index.html file, and there will also be some number of mp3 files (this is an audio book of sorts), which are played by the html file (which presents original-language text, English translation, and a reading in the original language). There are maybe 200 files, and the total size of the webpage is about 2GB (the largest single file is probably under 10MB). Once it’s set up, users will navigate to the root directory, select a chapter then a subchapter, and play and read an individual text (this is a literacy project, with no tech support).

My difficulty is figuring out how to get this file structure onto Netlify, though a first reality check would be appreciated (“Sub-subdirectory? No, you can only have one level of subdirectory”). I guess the relevant term for uploading the files is “deploy”, so how do I get the files onto Netlify? I know one answer is to first install it on Github and then copy from Github to Netlify (did that, got, but given the total size of the page (because of the audio files), I can’t upload everything to Github. The Github browser interface allows me to navigate to a subdirectory and then drag-and-drop selected files within the file hierarchy, but all I have found for Netlify is a generic box that doesn’t control where the files end up. I tried the CLI, but alas I can’t understand the instructions. I think I managed to install the CLI and gave permission to access Netlify (I got the email), but I don’t know how to “list the files that are on Netlify”, or “upload from PC / download to PC”. It seems that there is more to creating a webpage than just copying files to a server, there is also a “build” step, which in the case of cloning a Github repository is automatic, but I think that’s not an option given the Github size limit. So, what are the basic steps and concepts for uploading and “installing” a web page using the CLI (and is there a better way that I don’t know about)?

Hey @LanguageDescriptions

There is no such “list files on Netlify” functionality in the CLI, or other deploy method. Netlify doesn’t work like FTP. Deploys are immutable meaning you can’t modify a deploy, you have to make a new deploy.

To deploy via Netlify CLI (once you have run netlify login and possibly netlify link if you have a site already) you then run netlify deploy. See: Get started with Netlify CLI | Netlify Docs. This will push the files to Netlify as they exist within the project.

The (generally) available methods of deployment are listed in the following documentation

I suggest Drag and Drop is not appropriate given the size of the site. As mentioned, the site is also too large for GitHub, so the best method is probably the CLI.

If you have any further questions or issues, don’t hesitate to reply.

So basically, any change requires a complete re-transfer and re-compilation of the entire set of files? Well, thanks.

Not exactly. Netlify CLI hashes the files and only transfers those that are new of modified rather than every single file.