If you're in business and you have a website, you simply must get control of all the accounts related to it.
This is not an option. It's a BIG deal.
I recently asked for some critical account info from a new client who was leaving her old webmaster. When he discovered she was taking her business elsewhere, he went silent.
He would not return her calls.
He would not answer her emails.
He would not provide the information we needed.
The client and I got through it, but the whole episode could have been avoided if she had just kept a list of these six critical usernames and passwords.
1. Registrar username and password
The registrar is where you registered your domain name. If you bought BobStore.com from GoDaddy, then GoDaddy is your registrar.
2. Hosting account username and password
The host is where your website files actually reside. This may be the same as your registrar. It may not. It's important to find out and act accordingly.
3. Website administrative username and password
The website admin username and password get you into the management area of your site – particularly if it's built in WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
4. CPanel username and password
Hosts like GoDaddy and HostGator will often provide a CPanel (control panel) interface to access many functions related to the site. Many times, but not always, this area will have a separate username and password.
5. FTP hostname, username, password
FTP stands for "file transfer protocol." It's a popular way to get photos, documents and other files from a webmaster's computer to the site. Many times, but not always, this function will have a separate username and password. You also need to know the hostname, which is often your domain name (ftp://BobStore.com). CPanel usually has this information.
6. phpMyAdmin username and password
phpMyAdmin is a program that webmasters use for database administration. It is often accessed through CPanel and many times has a separate username and password. It's very important that these be kept secure.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You don't have time for this. You delegated all this to the webmaster for a reason.
Well, as you can see, stuff happens. And when it happens, you don't want to be left scrambling for this information.
By the way, your webmaster may balk at giving it to you. He's concerned that you'll log in and mess things up. Or you'll lose it and create a security concern.
Set his mind at ease. You promise to take good care of this data, and the last thing you want is to log in and play in his sandbox.
Bottom line: The website belongs to you. Business continuity depends on you controlling these six accounts – just in case.
Web designer Robert Pitts of Lakeland, Florida, is the owner of Web Designs by Robert G. Pitts, which specializes in the WordPress content-management platform.