Who Holds the Keys to Your Business’ Website?
By: Michael Olson
For business owners trying to grow their companies while still delivering stellar work for clients, keeping track of website credentials isn’t exactly at the top of the “to-do” list. Unfortunately, not having a firm handle on the many logins and passwords connected with your business’ website and associated services can lead to big problems down the road—including disruptions to business continuity and lost sales.
How? The contact form on the website could spontaneously stop working, halting the delivering of inbound customer inquiries. In another scenario, your website goes down and customers are unable to access the information they need. As a result, they may choose to go elsewhere with their business. That unwanted downtime could last anywhere from a couple hours to a few days, depending on how quickly you can access your website and fix the issue at hand. If you need to chase after former vendors to get the necessary credentials, the likelihood of being down for several days increases exponentially.
Some logins and passwords will be set up by you, and others by your website designer or developer. As a business owner, it’s important to have current knowledge of all credentials regardless of who sets them up, and to know who else has access to those credentials. You should not give your passwords to just anyone—only trusted professionals—and only give them on an as-needed basis.
When determining which credentials you need to keep tabs on, start with the following:
Every website has a domain name. You may have purchased it with your website hosting (we’ll get to that in a second), or it may have been registered through a separate service. It might even have a login that is different from your hosting even if you used the same company for both! You will typically only need to share login information for your domain name if you need to redirect your domain name to separate hosting or email services.
It’s usually easier to keep track of everything if your hosting and domain name are through the same service—which is usually the case. However, some hosting companies will assign you a separate username and login URL for your hosting control panel. You will need to share this with your developer when setting up your website.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to quickly add and edit all of your website files. Anyone working on your organization’s website or helping you back up your existing website and corresponding files will need access to these credentials.
If your website was built in WordPress, anyone working on your website will need an Administrator login. It’s recommended to create a new login for them so that you can remove it when they no longer need administrator access.
These are the main services you will want to keep tabs on passwords and logins for. Some other credentials to have on your list (if applicable) include: Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools), Google Analytics, premium theme or plugins, e-commerce, social media accounts and email newsletter services.
Protecting Your Passwords Will Protect Your Business
Protecting logins and passwords is a critical concern for any business leader. Loss of passwords can make regaining access to your website extremely hard. If access can’t be regained, it’s possible that the site will have to be rebuilt from scratch—a costly effort that can easily be avoided with adequate record-keeping.