Renewals and hosting of websites. (in a simple version for non-teckys)
One of the things I have to explain quite often is the relationship and process of owning a domain, where it sits on the internet, emails and the admin of the domain.
I hope this helps!
If the website is yours, if you paid for it, or had the idea for the website you should be the owner. You have to be named, with an address (and phone number) to have a domain. It is wrong of the website developer to have their name on the registry as the owner. You can buy your own domain yourself and people flock to Go Daddy and 1&1. If you are getting yourself started, tell a website developer what www name you want, and they can buy it in your name on their account. This makes it much easier when we want to do work for you. But do make sure it’s in your name!
To check your UK website, click here and enter your website domain name and you need the “http://” bit at the start as well as the ‘www’ so best to copy and paste it from your browser. For non UK, please click this website tool.
If you are the owner, you can retrieve, grab, snatch your website domain off any developer – as long as you can prove to the registry that you are the owner. This never happens, but I wanted to give you the confidence to know it can be done. So make sure the domain is registered in your name to avoid any hassle later. If you are worried, contact your developer – nothing to hide, no embarrassment of course!
Where is my website?
Your domain is normally on someone’s hosting account. This might be your own account with Go Daddy , 1&1 or Heart Internet, or a company that a website developer uses. Some people have the website on the server (PC) in their office. On-line hosts normally have better protection and ‘up-time’ so don’t try and save money having it on your own computer. Your files sit on a server with a company or on your PC (rarely) and when someone goes to your website, the domain calls for the files, reads them, works out how you want your website displayed and shows it.
Sometimes, (like when you have an e-commerce shop), the website points away from your domain to the company providing your shop without the customer even knowing (and this is fine). Your www.name still looks the same, but they could be in a different place.
I so often see a van with www.andyscarwash.co.uk and then an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Why would anyone have a website domain and not have email@example.com as the printed email address? If you have a website and have business cards in this format – you need to sort it out! It is a simple action in the admin area discussed below and will make your business look much stronger. You don’t even ‘need’ to send as firstname.lastname@example.org, but at least have it on your printed media and sign writing.
Emails can be simply forwarding rules like I do with mine – email@example.com points to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can of course have a mailbox set up (sometimes extra monthly charges apply). You can also use Gmail to send as the proper email address and this can be done by most teckys. A simple forwarding rule is free and can be done in the admin area.
The hosting ‘place’ will have an access portal. This is password protected so that the website administration can be access day and night for backing up, tinkering with at file level, changing the emails set up and having the websites records changed for you. For your website to run, without needing any changes this is not accessed from day to day, or even week to week. With software like WordPress and Joomla, you don’t even need to enter the hosting place at all to change the website. With an e-commerce website, you can do all your changes on-line. Don’t worry if your website developer doesn’t give you access to the hosting space – you might break something! I would feel happier if they had given you some kind of access portal (Called Extend with my hosting)
You also need to be sure that when the domain expires each year, someone is renewing it for you!
- Do you own your website? If not, get it changed by the developer (and ask why!)
- Have you got the right looking email set up?
- Is your hosting secure – ask if it does a daily backup for just encase.
- Is it being renewed each year?
Are you happy and confident that everything is OK?