Do You Have Control of Your Domain & Hosting?

If you are a small business owner or even a casual blogger, do you have control of your domain name and hosting? Control means you have the ability to log in to your on-line properties. Many of the small business owners I work with really don’t know the difference between hosting and domains and usually have to do some searching to find their credentials.

dogi n front of computer

My experience was similar to those mentioned above, because when I started my own business 8 years ago, I knew nothing about websites, domains or hosting. I was told I needed these things and to get a professional to get it done for me, so that’s what I did. I really focused on my website content after I chose my domain name. I remember my webmaster talking to me about the difference between them and options I had. I decided to let him host and maintain my website.

A year or so down the road, I wanted to start blogging, so he helped me with that. That’s when I found out about WordPress. I really enjoyed the technical side of things and soon after, discovered our local Oklahoma City WordPress meetup group and started going. Eventually, I wanted to update my site and thought I could do it myself with WordPress.

That’s when I discovered I didn’t have my domain or hosting information and logins – so I made the same mistake that other new business owners make. I still remember how, well, dumb I felt not having the information. Luckily, it was easy to get – I just needed to send an email. Some folks aren’t as lucky as their webmaster moved on or is not to be found. Of course the worst scenario is to have your domain and hosting held hostage by a vengeful webmaster. There are ways to get them back, but it takes several phone calls and providing extensive documentation.

Domain Information To Have

You want to know:

  1. Where your domain is registered (the registrar). If you don’t know go to http://whois.com and type in your domain name and if it’s not private, you’ll be able to see.
    • you will need your domain login and password
    • make sure your name is on the account (see below)
  2. Where your hosting is. You can visit http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to find out.
    • you will need your hosting login and password
    • make sure your name and contact information is on the account

Be Authorized On Your Domain and Hosting Accounts

In addition to having your login information for your accounts, you’ll also want to be listed as a qualified and authorized person on the account in order to talk to customer service. With several services (like GoDaddy), they will also have you set up a 4-digit pin number

GoDaddy dashboard

This example is from GoDaddy. After logging in, look around for your account information. In this spot, when you click on ‘Contacts’, you’ll be taken to the screen below. Here you can have up to four people’s names, and contact information on file. These can be changed as people come and go in your organization or team. Make sure your name is in at least one of these sections.

contact informationon GoDaddy

Tour Your Domain and Hosting Dashboards

So you have your login information and you log in – what’s next? Each company is a bit different, but many of them have tours that you can take. If you don’t see any pop up or in the sidebar, go over to YouTube – you’ll certainly find one there. Try to find a recent video as sites change frequently.

I recently spent some time with a gentleman who wants a new website, but wasn’t sure of his domain and hosting and even what software his website used. Luckily, his webmaster did a good job in documenting everything and my client could find it in his email. Some of the passwords had been changed, but we were able to get them reset and we can go forward.

If you are a webmaster or help a friend navigate through the domain and hosting jungle, be sure to send them their login information and have them to keep it in a safe place.

Additional Information added May, 2017

More Resources – FirstSiteGuide

The folks at FirstSiteGuide reached out to me when they were reading my blog to let me know about a broken link I had. So I decided to go and check out their website.

This site is built especially for those of you who are new to WordPress, hosting, blogging and everything that goes with getting started.

The sections I wanted to highlight deal with their registrar and web hosting reviews. You can find the reviews here.

FirstSiteGuide website reviews

Favorite web hosts of mine are SiteGround and A2 Hosting.

Favorite domain registrars of mine is Hover and Name Cheap.

Check them out for helpful videos and articles on learning WordPress, blogging and more.

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