Most businesses have a website. With that website comes a TON of associated accounts, usernames and passwords. Do you have a process for recording and organizing this information? If not, you could be lining yourself up for major headaches when you actually need access. I’m going to share some tips and best practices for recording and organizing passwords, accounts and who should hold ownership of these items.
Unless you moonlight as a web designer, chances are you had someone build your website for you. When they finished the project, did they supply you with login access? What level of access did they give you: administrator or simply user?
What happens if that company goes out of business? Now you have no way into your website, and no one is answering your phone calls or emails. This may force you to build a new website. But the next problem presents itself, did that bankrupt company provide you with your domain and hosting credentials?
Domain & Hosting Access
There are two services that websites require to operate: a domain and a hosting plan. The domain is the actual URL or Web Address of your website i.e. www.example.com. The hosting plan is the space on a server that your website needs in order to be on the World Wide Web. In some cases, both services are under the same provider, with one username/password. However usually they are between two, three, sometimes even four providers depending on how many domains you own.
I have one client who has 5 domains and has been in business for many years. During this time, she has used 3 different web service providers who all preferred to use different domain registrars. This has led to a hunt to track down all the credentials for each domain.
Avoid These Headaches – Ask for Your Passwords Up Front
Be up front in asking for your passwords. If the vendor doesn’t want to provide you with this information, what’s their reason for not sharing this with you? More often than not, it’s because they want to tie you to their services. Trying to take charge of something you’re unfamiliar with is a hassle; they know this and can try to capitalize on it.
Choose to Work with a Transparent Company
Ask questions before you sign a contract. I always prefer to register my clients’ hosting accounts in their own name billed directly to their own credit card. I will fully manage it for them, but this way there is never a struggle for ownership. That way they have full freedom and can never be “held ransom” by an organization.
Keep Your Own Master Credentials List
I always recommend either you keep a copy of your credentials, or your VA does and shares an updated version with you frequently. There are many ways to record your credentials, and the right one for you depends on your level of confidence and security with storing information online.
I personally believe in keeping records in multiple ways. I keep a version on a Secure physical backup drive, then on a secure cloud. And I actually keep some very critical information only written and in a secure location. It’s ultimately up to you, find what works best and stick to it! Out of date passwords are just as bad as no password at all!
If you have questions about your current configurations, access or ownership, please reach out. I love helping my clients find peace of mind.
Until next time,