Learn how to set up a local version of your web site as a Dreamweaver site and use the Manage Sites dialog box to set up multiple sites and manage them.

Although you can work in Dreamweaver without creating a local site root folder, it is a good idea to define a Dreamweaver local site folder for each new website you create.

Creating a local site folder enables Dreamweaver to know where your site files are to create all the internal links correctly, and to update them when you move files to a different location within your site.

For more information on why it is beneficial to create local sites, see Benefits of a Dreamweaver site.

To set up a local version of your site, you must specify the local folder where you plan to store all of your site files.

The local folder can be on your local computer or on a network server. You can use the Site > New Site or Site > Manage Sites dialog boxes in Dreamweaver to set up multiple sites and manage them.

Before you start

Identify or create the folder on your computer where you want to store the local version of your site files. The folder can be anywhere on your computer. You then specify this folder as your local site in Dreamweaver.

For a video tutorial on setting up a new Dreamweaver site, Define a site in Dreamweaver.

Best practices for naming files and folders

Follow these general guidelines for naming files and folders:

  • File and folder names in websites should never contain spaces or any of the following characters: /\?%*:|"<>.
  • Although other special characters are permitted, it is better to confine yourself to alphanumeric characters, hyphens, and underscores.
  • Most file and folder names end up as part of a web page's URL, so keep them short, but meaningful. Long URLs are difficult for users to remember and type into browsers on a mobile device.
  • Stick to lowercase letters for file and folder names to avoid file not found issues. Most  web servers are Linux –based, which are case-sensitive.

The Site Setup dialog

The Manage Sites dialog box is your gateway into various Dreamweaver site functions. From this dialog box, you can initiate the process for creating a new site, editing an existing site, duplicating a site, removing a site, or importing or exporting a site’s settings.

To set up and manage a site, use the Site > New Site, or Site > Manage Sites dialogs.

The Site setup dialog
The Site setup dialog

New Site

Click the New Site button to create a new Dreamweaver site. Then specify the name and location for your new site in the Site Setup dialog box.

Import Site

Click the Import Site button to import a site. For more information, see Import and export site settings.


The import site feature only imports site settings that have previously been exported from Dreamweaver. It does not import site files to create a new Dreamweaver site.

For existing sites, the following options are also available:


 Deletes the selected site and all of its setup information from your list of Dreamweaver sites; it does not delete the actual site files. (If you want to remove the site files from your computer, you need to do that manually.) To delete a site from Dreamweaver, select the site in the site list and then click the Delete button. You cannot undo this action.


 Enables you to edit information such as username, password, and server information for an existing Dreamweaver site. Select the existing site in the site list and click the Edit button to edit the existing site. (The Site Setup dialog box opens once you click the Edit button for a selected site.) For more information on editing existing site options, click the Help button in the various screens of the Site Setup dialog box.


 Creates a copy of an existing site. To duplicate a site, select the site in the site list and click the Duplicate button. The duplicated site appears in the site list with the word “copy” appended to the name of the site. To change the name of the duplicated site, leave the site selected and click the Edit button.


 Enables you to export the selected site’s settings as an XML file (*.ste). For more information, see Import and export site settings.

Setting up a local version of your site

  1. In Dreamweaver, choose Site > New Site.

  2. In the Site Setup dialog box, make sure the Site category is selected.

  3. In the Site Name text box, enter a name for your site. This name appears in the Files panel and in the Manage Sites dialog box; it does not appear in the browser.

  4. In the Local Site Folder text box, specify the folder you identified earlier—the folder on your computer where you want to store the local version of your site files. Click the folder icon to the right of the text box to browse to the folder.

    Setting up a local site folder
    Setting up a local site folder

  5. Click Save to close the Site Setup dialog box. You can now begin working on your local site files in Dreamweaver.

This folder location is where you keep the working copies of web pages on your local computer.

Later, if you want to publish your pages and make them publicly available, you have to define a remote folder (or a publishing server)—a place on a remote computer, running a web server that will hold published copies of your local files.

For information on defining and connecting to a remote server (or a publishing server), see Connect to a publishing server.

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