If you own a business and have an advertising agency, IT company, or freelancer managing your website, it’s critical that you know where your domain was purchased, and what company you use for web hosting. If they’re separate (meaning your domain name is with a company like Network Solutions and your hosting is with a company like GoDaddy), it’s imperative that you have reliable access to both.
This includes knowing the following information:
- Account Number
- Call-In PIN (if applicable)
- Any security questions
If you don’t keep track of this information, there is a distinct possibility that you may one day lose access to your domain name and website completely. You won’t be able to log in to update your billing information, launch a new website or perform critical backend maintenance.
Here are 3 important tips to keep in mind when it comes to your domain and hosting accounts.
Only purchase domain names in your, the business owner’s name.
Just like any other kind of property, a website legally belongs to the person whose name is attached to the domain and hosting account—regardless of who financed it. For this reason, it’s imperative that if you hire someone to build a website for you, you set up the domain and hosting account yourself under your name, and give the details to your web developer. This guarantees that you will always be the registered owner of your site, as long as you continue to pay for the domain and hosting.
Keep track of who is managing your domain and hosting accounts.
Let’s assume you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to hire an agency or freelancer to redesign your existing website. The first thing they’ll ask when they’re ready to start work is, “What is your hosting account password? What is your domain account password?” If you don’t know the answer to these questions, there will be no way for them to begin working on your website. This is why having this information at the ready will be very important as you make the transition to a new company—and any time after that.
Use a password manager to keep track of your account passwords
At MDR, we recommend using a password manager like Dashlane or LastPass to keep track of all your important domain and hosting account passwords. These apps have two important advantages that make them extremely useful. First, they autofill your password fields for you so you won’t have to remember every password. Second, they allow you to use longer and more secure passwords than ever before, because of the autofill feature. Secure passwords are harder to crack and make it more difficult on cyber criminals who seek to do harm to you or your business, making these apps a win-win for your business.
If you don’t know who manages your domain and hosting accounts, skillfully using the Whois Look Up Tool can help you get back in the game.
If you’ve completely lost track of where you domain is located and what company it’s with, the Whois lookup tool can help. This tool takes your domain name, and checks the ICANN database to see what company has registered your domain name. From there, you have a starting point to track down your login information.
How to Use the Whois Database:
- Visit the Whois website. Head over to https://www.whois.com/whois/, and enter in your domain name on the main page and hit search.
- Review the results. Once the results load, scroll down the table that has your domain information and check out the field labeled “Registrar”. This is the company that has your domain. The “Registrant Contact” section below the top field is the name of the person or entity that owns your domain name.
- Contact the “Registrant Contact” or the company that built your website or manages your IT. If you’re looking for your domain login information, one of these two entities should have the access information.
If you need help navigating this process, you can reach out to the folks at MDR. We’ve helped countless clients track down lost or missing domain and hosting information, and we’d be happy to help you, too. Our seasoned web development team has years of experience building, launching and troubleshooting websites of all kinds. Contact us to get started today.