Do you know who owns your website? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people that don’t know the login credentials for their domain or web hosting. Some of them don’t even own their domain or hosting account.
This morning, while I was browsing Facebook, I saw a conversation in one of the groups I’m in about a person that was locked out of her website. Turns out, she was not the owner of her website, her developer was! Unfortunately, this is very common.
You might not be very tech-savvy, or just don’t have time to set up your domain and hosting account, and you hire a designer or developer to do that for you. While I think you should ask a professional for advice, you should NEVER allow your designer to register your domain name or host your website.
If you allow someone other than yourself to register your domain and hosting account, you will hand over the website and your online business to them.
3 reasons why you should own your website
Your designer might go out of business
Most of the people that offer to set up your domain name just want to help you. They are not looking to scam you. Still, things can happen. Your designer might go out of business, take a long break without telling anyone, or might suffer a health scare. If you don’t own your domain and hosting, you risk losing everything.
Your designer might not let you work with someone else
No designer or developer wants to lose a client and some will go to great lengths to keep you from leaving them. Yes, this includes keeping your website hostage. If that happens, you’ll either have to build a new website or pay the designer to let you go.
Your designer might lock you out of your website
I heard many stories about designers that locked their clients out of their websites. Some designers don’t give administrative privileges to their clients out of fear that the client will break the site. Others don’t even let their clients add new posts or pages to the website. Some of them even delete the website because the clients want to cancel a service or work with someone else.Why you should never allow your designer to register your domain and host your websiteClick To Tweet
How to protect yourself
I know this sounds scary, but there are a few things you can do to prevent this.
Make sure that you own the website
The most important thing is to make sure you are the owner of the website. Some design agencies will state in the contract that they own the website just because they built it. When you sign a contract, make sure you are the owner of the website and content.
Buy your domain and hosting account
Buying a domain name and hosting is very easy. You don’t need to hire someone else to do this for you. I do think you should ask a designer for advice, but you should make the final decision and everything should be registered in your name or in your business’s name.
If you need help setting up your website or installing WordPress, most hosts will let you add users to your account. Although, sometimes you might need to give your developer your username and password. If that happens, set up a temporary password and change it when they finish the work.
Have access to your accounts
As a website owner, there are many accounts you need to keep track of.
Access to your domain name and hosting is crucial, but you might also need to access your site’s FTP account, control panel, and database. You will receive them from your host after you create an account, usually in the welcome email.
Another important thing is access to WordPress or your CMS. The WordPress dashboard is what you use to add posts and pages, but you need to be able to do more than that, so make sure you are the site’s administrator. If you can’t access the Plugins, Appearance, or Users menus in the dashboard, it means you are not the admin.
Google Analytics is a must and you might need your designer’s help to add Analytics to your website. Please remember that you can add users to your Analytics account. Never let your designer set it up using their email address.
If you have a virtual assistant, make sure you have access to your social media accounts and newsletter provider. If possible, set up a username for them, but make sure you are the administrator of the account and keep track of all your passwords.
Always have a backup of your site. Unless you hire someone to do this, it’s your job to keep recent backups of your site. If you’re on WordPress, you can use plugins to make backups that will be saved on your Dropbox or Google Drive account, but you should also make a manual backup every now and then.
If you developer is the one that backs up your site, have them send the backups to you. It’s important to have a copy of your site in case something happens to your developer or virtual assistant.
Never allow your designer to register your domain
If your domain or hosting is registered through your designer, you should ask about transferring the domain and maybe even think about moving hosts. And make sure you have a backup of your site in case your designer disappears.
Your website is the home of your business and it’s important to protect it. If you register your own domain, it doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your designer. It just means that you want to keep your website and business safe. And always keep a record of all your login credentials.