Website owner checklist

In this post I want to point out some critical information that each website owner needs to have handy.  I work with a lot of websites, and often times I get a frantic email, or call from someone saying “my website is down – what do I do?”.  Now I’m happy to help out in those situations, but the fact their their first email/call was to me, is troubling.


For one, I’m not the hosting company – so all I can really do is contact them.  Second, I’m not checking my email / voicemail 24/7, so your message may sit for hours – meanwhile, nobody is working to fix your site.

So the correct course of action is – contact your hosting company.  BUT – then I get the question – who’s my hosting company?  And that is the real point to this post.

Here’s a list of information you need to have at your disposal when you own a website:

  1. Domain Registrar – where is your domain registered  For example, is a huge registrar.  Many times your hosting provider is your registrar.  Make sure you have these items:

    -Website URL
    -Access information – username, password

  2. Hosting Provider – where is your website hosted?  How do you access your accounts?  Make sure you have these items:

    -Control Panel URL – with login and password
    -FTP information (server, login, password)
    -Support phone number, email, ticketing system, etc.  Understand how it works!

  3. Other account info – google login, facebook, etc.  Any logins that are essential for your business should be recorded somewhere together.  In the event that someone else needs to lookup this information, or in case you forget it.
  4. Backups – make sure you backup your website on a regular basis – depending how often your site updates.  E-commerce and heavily updated sites should be backed up weekly, other sites maybe once a month.  What’s that you say?  Oh, your hosting provider includes backups with your plan?  Really?  Well, that may be so, and they may actually have backups, but are you willing to risk your business on that?  In the event of a worst case scenario, you want to have a way to recover your site.  Most user control panels have a way to backup your site and databases (cpanel and plesk).
  5. Disaster recover plan – this goes hand in hand with the backups.  If your hosting provider shut down unexpectedly, what would you do?  Could you quickly get your site up and running somewhere else?  Having a plan and testing it is great for your peace of mind.  If you ever need to implement it, the time spent will be priceless.

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