If you have a Web site, there can be several different products involved. Those products could all be managed in the same place or in different places. So let’s go over a few of the major items and talk about keeping them updated and accessible.
A web site with a custom URL will need a domain registered. For example, this blog uses the graphics-unleashed.com domain. Often when a new Web client comes to me, they aren’t sure which company registered their domain for them. Companies that do this are named the domain registrar. I typically use GoDaddy for this as they are based just down the road in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are certainly many other choices.
When you register a domain, you’ll setup an account at your domain registrar. So not only do you need to know who is your registrar, you need to know your login credentials. It is very common that I get a Web project and it is delayed for quite some time just waiting for this info. One way to find out the registrar and other info is to use the WhoIs search. It also tells you when a domain will expire. Don’t let them expire, read Renew Your Domains Before You Lose Your Identity.
The domain is just the name. If you want a Web site, it needs to be hosted and there are thousands of choices. It could be the same company who registered the domain, it could be someone different. Once again you need to know who is your host and how to access your account. If you don’t have that info, it is extremely difficult to make any changes to your Web site.
Some Web hosting plans also cover email addresses at a domain, but certainly not all of them. Do you know who is your email provider? Do you know how to access the control panel where you configure your email? This isn’t always crucial when a Web site is being changed, though it could come into play if you move your domain.
An SSL Certificate encrypts information passed to a Web site and is especially important for an e-commerce site. Read Securing E-Commerce Sites With SSL Certificates for more details. Once again this could be handled by yet another company with another account.
Of the items I’ve listed, I manage all but one of them via GoDaddy so it is very easy to take care of most of them within one account. If you are one of my clients, I can also link to your GoDaddy account without needing to have your personal account credentials. Of course you have to provide this permission to me. It makes managing your setup much easier for me and it allows me to purchase services for you using the discounts I receive from GoDaddy as a “Pro” customer.
For those who don’t already know which company provides each of these services for you, do some research now and get that information. When the time comes to make some changes, the project won’t be delayed trying to figure out which company does what.