March 16, 2015
Many website owners face the similar challenges sooner or later. Where my website is hosted, who is my domain registrar, do I have any backups, etc. It’s very easy to forget logins, passwords, and all related information to your website mechanics (what’s under the hood).
The reason why this is happening is many people focus on their business only rather than website, very few have dedicated “website guy” who takes care of all the logistics. Most trying to do everything themselves (DIY style). In this article I want to outline the most important information you as website owner want to keep around. Because if your website goes down - the business goes down, your email goes down, and it’s not fun at all. It’s better to be prepared and be ready to recover fast.
Some of the reasons your website may go down or why you’ll need this information: you forgot to pay your web hosting bill you forgot to renew domain name web hosting server went down or company is out of business your web hosting upgraded hardware or software and it broke your website your website got hacked you did some changes and erased some files or database you’d like to transfer your website and have no idea where it’s hosted now you need to give/remove access to someone
domain name registrar Your domain name (www.example.com) is registered with one of many accredited companies. This system officially commenced service on November 30, 1999 under the supervision of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Some registrars are hover.com, godaddy.com, networksolutions.com, etc. The domain name is usually renewed once a year or once in a few years. It’s always recommended to keep your domain registrar and web hosting separate. Hover.com does the best job at this, they provide nothing but domain name registration. Which keeps this process very simple and straightforward. Here you can point your domain name to any server connected to the internet (even your local computer).
web hosting (cpanel) Web hosting is a service which hosts your website files and makes it available on the internet. You’re renting a server, which requires monthly payments, anywhere from $5 to $100/mo for average website. Usually web hosting provides database service as well.
backups As any computer, servers fail, for many reasons. Some web hosts provide automatic backups as part of the web hosting package, and sometime you as website owner responsible for that. It can be done manually or, in case if you have cms like WordPress, there is plugin for that https://ithemes.com/purchase/backupbuddy/.
admin access Admin access, meaning full access to your website. Admin has full rights to create, delete and update any content on a website. I recommend having admin access to web hosting, domain registrar, email server, database server, and CMS (or web application).
email hosting Email is a big part of any business, having firstname.lastname@example.org is way more professional than email@example.com. It’s important to know and understand where your email is hosted. It can be hosted with your web hosting, cPanel has it built in for example. And sometimes it’s totally separate service (recommended), like Google Apps or Zoho.
other (SSL) Few other moving parts may be involved in your website. SSL (secure socket layer) which encrypts connection between your server and a user is one of them. SSL has to be purchased ($50-$1000s annually) with web hosting provider or separately. If you are switching web hosting - you’ll need to re-install SSL, which means re-generating CSR and re-downloading new certificate to new server (.crt files).
By having everything organized, you save a lot of time and money in case you need to recover the website or transfer it. It’s not that hard, just write it down somewhere safe and keep it around.