Some of you may have noticed that recently I redeveloped my website. What do you think? Pretty nice right. I think so too. What I particularly like is my appointment setting system because it makes it easier for all of you to make an appointment with me to fix your computer related issues. I am sure that if and when you need me to fix your smartphone or laptop, you’ll find this feature very helpful.
But in getting my website done, something came up that I want to share with you. It’s VERY important so please read this entire story.
While I was getting ready to redesign my web presence, I ran in to a little problem that I thought I would share with you in my very first blog post on my new website. The little problem I am talking about, and I am sure that it’s a common problem, is the one about controlling your own domain (the name after the www in the browser field) by making sure you have all the login credentials. In other words the login URL, the username and the password. The username and password should be something only you have. No one else ever needs this information.
I am not talking about the very basic password to login to my website. No, what I am talking about is the passwords for my domain registration account.
How many times do you really have to login to those accounts? If you were like me when it came time to put my business online you too probably used some web design company who took care of all of that stuff.
They would have registered the domain for me somewhere. Set up some hosting account somewhere. Sure they sent me the passwords, and user names for those accounts but those emails got lost over the years since then.
Remember that your domain name is key to your online presence and is a part of your overall brand. It should always be in your control.
What Do I do to get Control?
Not having this information handy forced me to contact the web design company to request that information once again. Naturally the request brought on a bunch of questions regarding my plans for the domain, website and hosting account.
Not that there were any questions regarding ownership because I know that my credit cards were charged for the domain and hosting. Seeing as I didn’t personally order these products, I didn’t have immediate access to the accounts without going through the web design company that built my site and configured my hosting account.
I am not suggesting that this company did anything wrong, nor did they stand in the way of my doing anything with my domain or hosting account. But had they wanted to they certainly could have made it difficult for me to gain access to the accounts. In fact I have had clients who shared their own horror shows with regards to possessive reluctant registrars who try to prevent you from moving your domain registration to a competitor. Same with hosting companies who try to make it difficult to move your domain to another hosting company.
This practice is nowhere near as bad as it once was but it can and does still happen.
Helping Clients get Control
As a matter of fact, I just had another client who has gone through this and I’ve had to help walk them through how to get control of their website. They now have control, but it takes time, energy and patience to get this done. And it can be stressful as well, especially if you don’t understand this process and expect that you have had control this whole time.
Should you find yourself in the position where you cannot access your domain registration account just remember this simple fact. If there is ever a question regarding ownership of a domain and you can’t get access to the registration account without the proper password and such, the finally deciding factor on ownership goes to the name and numbers on the credit card used to secure the domain.
With that you can always get ownership returned to you. Generally it is the same case regarding ownership of a hosting account. The credit card used to secure the account is the registered owner of hosting account regardless of who set it up.
How to Control your own Website
Now in total you should always make sure you have three sets of passwords for your website. The first is the domain registration login credentials. The second is the hosting account password/login creds and the third set of login credentials/passwords is for your website itself if you are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or some such, which gives you access to the account at an administration level. Or if you are not using a CMS then third set of login credentials/passwords could come in the form of an FTP account to directly manage your HTML pages and other content.
So first, you need to make sure that you pay for the domain yourself, using your personal or corporate credit card. This then makes sure that your account payment is linked to you. Then you need to make sure that you have the domain login credentials for that domain. If someone else registered it you just need to then change the password at a future date to ensure you have control.
Second will be the hosting. If someone else such as website design company sets up the hosting, make sure you have the login credentials for that as well (username and password).
Finally will be the login credentials for the website itself. Again make sure you have the administrator level login credentials for the website. This way you have full control and can lock anyone else out at any time, or just give them specific access if needed.
How Can I Find Info on My Existing Domain?
Now if you have an existing domain name, you can look up who the domain name is registered to by looking at the “Whois” information. The Whois directory lists the registrant for every domain name that has been purchased and you can look up your domains by going to http://whois.com.
This will bring up the name and contact information of the registrant, date the domain was registered, and more.
If you see someone else’s name there, then you need to contact them immediately and get the login information to your account so you can switch the account holder information.
So I hope this helps to answer some of your questions about your website. If you have any other questions, or want to talk to me about this issue in regards to your current website, get ahold of me at any time. Or book an appointment through my new appointment system!