Has Your “IT Guy” Disappeared? Don’t Let Your Website and Your Business Vanish with Him
Every month we get frantic phone calls from small business owners with the same problem: their web designer—the proverbial IT Guy—has disappeared, leaving them without access to their website and domain name.
Sometimes this happens after the domain name fails to be renewed and the website—to the horror of the business owner—is gone. In other cases, the website is functioning and visible, yet the owner has no means of making changes because only the IT Guy has the access credentials.
The outraged business owner decides to ditch the irresponsible IT Guy and goes on searching for a new person/company so they can take care of their website. What they don’t know is that even the most responsible and skilled web developer won’t be able to help, unless they have access to the domain name and hosting account.
Surprisingly, small mom-and-pop shops are not the only ones to find themselves in this predicament. Any organization without an IT department could find itself scrambling for the important access information once their outsourced IT Guy stops answering his phone.
In order to save yourself serious headaches and damage to your wallet, make sure you get familiar with a few simple terms and keep crucial information accessible to all key people in your company. In addition, take some precautions and do what’s best for you, not what’s most convenient for the IT Guy.
1. Know who your domain registrar is.
A domain name registrar is an organization that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. Examples of popular domain name registrars are: GoDaddy, Enom, Tucows, Moniker. Here’s a list of the top ten domain name registrars.
2. Make sure you are the owner of the domain name.
The company managing domain reservations is called a registrar, while a person registering the domain is called a registrant. If you hire a web developer—the IT Guy—to purchase a domain name for you, demand that they open a new account with the registrar and have you listed as the registrant. You can check who owns any domain here.
3. Keep your username and password safe.
Keep access information to your domain registration account safe. Share it with a partner or employee that you trust. Never allow the IT Guy to be the only person with the access information. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially if your web designers are located overseas.
4. Know the difference between domain registration and hosting.
A website is nothing else but a collection of files containing lines of code and images. All these files must be placed somewhere so they can be accessed by people browsing the Internet. Unless you have your own servers (trust us, you don’t need them in this day and age), you will have to rent a space for your website’s files in somebody else’s servers. Companies that rent a server space for profit are called web hosting companies, e.g.: Inmotion Hosting, Host Gator, iPage, Blue Host… Your domain registrar and your hosting company can, but don’t necessarily have to be, the same. For instance, if you purchased your domain name with GoDaddy and you’re hosting it with Inmotion Hosting, you must have usernames and passwords for each service. Make sure you keep your domain name registration current with your registrar and your hosting account active with your web host.
Follow these simple rules and your business won’t be taken hostage by an irresponsible IT Guy!