Losing the keys to your house is annoying, but your spouse or neighbor has a spare. Losing the keys to your website can mean your business is locked out permanently: You can’t improve the site, replace it or move it to a new host.

This happens more often than you might think. New clients hire us for website work, and when we ask for the keys — the user names, passwords, host name and other access information we need — they are shocked to discover they don’t have the keys. Whoever set up their site for them “took care of all that” and now that person or company has disappeared or can’t remember the passwords.

Your company made a significant investment to develop a website. It’s vital that the owner and/or top company executive has a copy of the keys. If you’re not sure whether you have the keys or not, here are the steps to take to find out for sure.

First, make sure your company owns and controls your website.

  1. Make sure your URL is officially registered to your company and billed to your company, not to the contractor who may have purchased the URL and registered it for you. You can make a contractor the secondary contact so they get copied on notices about upcoming expirations dates, etc.
  2. Make sure your company, not a contractor, owns the account with the company that hosts your website and the host bills you directly. You need the host’s URL, your username and password to access this account if you ever want to change hosts.

Now that everything’s in your company’s name, get all the access information you need from the employee or contractor who has it. This includes all relevant URLs, usernames and passwords. Then file this information and save it along with other important company documents. Here’s what needs to be in the file:

  1. Access to your website’s content management system (CMS)
  2. FTP (file transfer protocol) access to make changes that can’t be made through the CMS
  3. Access to your account at the company where your URL (domain) is registered
  4. Access to your account at the company that hosts your website

We’ve made a handy checklist for you to download, fill out and put somewhere safe. Click here to get it.

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].




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