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You may have noticed when surfing online that often you're pointing directly to a page such as lynda.com/aboutus/mission.asp like we are here. Other times, you're simply pointing to a directory or a root directory such as lynda.com. So if we go back up and we browse to lynda.com we still get a page. Even though, we aren't pointing to a specific page at lynda.com. So how do the browser know where to go when you don't explicitly define the page as part of the path. Each directory including the root directory can have a default page that opens up simply by pointing the browser to that directory.
That page is often referred to as the index page. Since that is what is most commonly named. Each web server has preferences that can be set. When choosing the directory's default page name. Although, most web servers are set to either display index.htm or default.htm as the default page. Default.htm isn't that widely used anymore. So you're probably pretty safe in sticking with calling your default page index.htm. For our groundswell site, our index.htm page will be our site's home page. If you don't put an index file in a directory, some web servers will display a file listing of all the files in that directory. This can be a real security issue.
So placing an index page in each directory is not a bad practice. Although, these days most web servers have preferences that prevent directory listing from occurring. The best thing to do is check with your hosting company to see if you can set these preferences prior to building your site.
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