All too often we work with clients who don’t have control of their own business website.
Your site is the foundation of your business and it’s critical that you are in control of your own website at the host and registrar level.
What this means is, you may have access to your site’s administrative area (ie. adding a post), but you don’t have host level or FTP access. Or someone you worked with purchased the URL on their GoDaddy account rather than on your own account, in which case you wouldn’t technically own your own business URL. Not good!
Read on for steps to make sure you have control of your site and if you don’t, help you regain control of this crucial business asset.
A registrar is where you buy your URL / domain name. This is commonly GoDaddy, although there are others such as Namecheap (one of our faves). Domains can often be bought along with hosting packages on host sites as well.
As an example, if your URL was purchased on GoDaddy, you should have a GoDaddy account, that you have the login for, that accesses your business URL and relevant settings.
If someone bought your URL on your behalf and it is on their account, they technically own it. You should be in control of your own URL so if this has happened, you can request a transfer of the URL to your account. In the case of GoDaddy, you can do this using the steps in this article:
Aside from the main URL / domain for your business, the next most important piece is the hosting. This is where the website will “live.” Without hosting, you don’t have a live site, even if you purchased a URL. Your Registrar and Host may be one and the same. Or you may have purchased the URL on GoDaddy, but have hosting on Siteground or WP Engine, for example.
If your host is separate from your registrar, you should have a login for your hosting account, meaning that you can log in, view your hosting package and manage your site settings.
If someone has set up hosting for you and claims they can not give you host access (not ideal, but common), but they can give you FTP access (website file access using a third party program such as Filezilla), this may be sufficient based on your needs. However, if you have a provider that is unable or unwilling to give you host access or FTP access, you have a problem. This means that you don’t have access to the core files and database that make up your site.
In this case, it may be time to quietly find a different host (make sure you select a reputable one in the process as all hosts are NOT equal!), and enlist a professional to help you move your site to a safe environment that you have full control over.
Sites get hacked all the time and can get broken with plugin updates, an outdated theme, etc. Just like you have car insurance, one of the best policies you can have for your site is a reliable backup that is easy to get to and restore in an emergency.
If you have a reputable host and hosting package, you should have the ability to easily back up your site to a previous date (usually within 30 days). It’s a good idea to check with your host and know exactly what your hosting includes so you’re prepared.
As additional insurance, or if your current host doesn’t offer full backup capability, you should get BackupBuddy and store the backups to a cloud-based location such as Amazon S3 server or Dropbox. This takes a bit of setup, but will save you the huge headache of rebuilding your site from scratch if you ever encounter a problem and your site goes down.
Even big sites with high security can be compromised. It happens all the time. Just watch the news. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent all risk, a good host will provide some built in security precautions such as automatic updates to WordPress and will notify you of security issues.
In addition, you can install a security plugin that will help protect your site. Two of the most reputable security plugins are WordFence and iThemes Security. As with many plugins, these can take a bit of setup (WordFence is easier than iThemes), but you’ll have peace of mind that your site has an extra line of defense out there in cyber space.
Wrap Up –
Hopefully these pointers will give you the tools to make sure you have all necessary access to your website, as well as backups in case the worst happens. If you have questions, or need tips on getting any of these items in place, just drop us a note. We’re happy to help.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click and purchase. Please note that we only recommend reputable providers we’ve used first hand and trust.