Who should host my website?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received phone calls from people who had a website but could no longer access it because they could not get a response out of their web designer. The top three problems usually are:
- The web company registered the domain name using their account and the business owner’s name is no where on the domain registration. This is a real problem. Many web designers register a client’s domain name on the client’s behalf, but never put the client’s name anywhere on the registration. This means the client has absolutely no control over the domain name. You may wish to transfer the domain name to a more attentive web host but now you can’t because you can’t initiate a domain name transfer because your name is not on the ownership record.
- The web company failed to renew the domain name or the monthly hosting fees and now the website is down. Again, there’s not much you can do about this if you cannot reach your web company. One solution is to hope that the domain name comes back up for sale and you can purchase it again.
- The client can’t access the company website and the company needs access to the database or the files (and the web company is not responding). Once again, the web designer is the only one that has control over the actual physical content and website files in this situation.
How do you avoid these situations?
The only way to avoid getting yourself into one of the above mentioned sticky situations is to register your domain name yourself and pay for web hosting yourself. In the old days, most web companies hosted their clients’ websites on their own web servers. Nowadays, with the affordability of web hosts, (in most cases $5.95 a month) you don’t need to be at the mercy of the web company. Sure, many web development companies make a lot of their monthly income from hosting their clients’ websites themselves, and although many are professional and can be trusted, there are many who can’t be, and you’ll find yourself in one of those three situations as a result.
I recommend that my clients get their own web and email hosting and register their domain name themselves. This prevents your domain name from getting hijacked by an inattentive web company. It’s easier than you think. Go to a reputable host, such as Springs Hosting here in Colorado Springs and sign up. Purchase your domain name (usually $9.99-$12.99 a year on average) and sign up for a web hosting account (usually $5-$30 a month). This way your domain name and your web site will be under your control. You will need to provide your new web designer with access to that account, or at least name them technical contact on the domain name, but that does NOT give them control over your domain name. This is YOUR account and you have to approve any changes made to the domain name or hosting.
No matter who hosts your website, make sure your domain name has YOUR name and contact name on it so you don’t lose control. Most content management systems (such as WordPress) provide you the ability to backup your site’s database on a scheduled basis. For instance, you can schedule a backup file to be emailed to you or saved to your server. This covers your content only. If you want to backup the actual page files, you would simply need to download your files from the web server every so often so you know you have the most recent version. This can be done by logging into your web host’s account.
Here’s a sample of what your domain name record will look like:
As you can see, you will have four contact names on your domain name: Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing. Let’s break those down:
- Registrant – The domain name owner’s name.
- Administrative – Whoever will handle or authorize any changes to the account, such as when you want to transfer a domain name to or from this account.
- Technical – This is typically your IT person, web designer or server tech. This person will handle DNS configurations and other technical information. This can also be the owner’s name.
- Billing – This is who will be paying the bills. Perhaps your accounting department is at a different physical address than the Registrant, in which case the billing address would be different.
Please contact blue sky designs for more information if you need help on registering a domain name or setting up web hosting!
Who does blue sky designs recommend?
After trying out several web hosts in the past two years, I have decided to endorse Springs Hosting in Colorado Springs for your web hosting needs. They provide lightning fast load times, great customer service and competitive prices. For domain name registration, I recommend Godaddy.