It’s not unheard of for me to spend over 10 hours helping a new client get access to their hosting, domain registration and content management system accounts in order to start working on their site. It’s not just that they’ve forgotten their passwords; often they don’t even know which companies they are dealing with. Then, once we’ve identified that, in order to retrieve the passwords, we have to prove to those companies that the client has a right to access that account.
This scenario is especially common with non-profit organizations where there is relatively high turnover in volunteers and board members, and the email address on file with the account is no longer accessible by organization members. If you were to bring in a new web developer today, would you have the information handy that they need to get started on your site?
At best, not having this information can cost you unnecessary expense. At worst, it can lose you control of your domain. That can happen if the domain expires (perhaps because you couldn’t log in to update your expired credit card information) and then someone else grabs the domain.
You should know the account information for the following:
- All your domain names. These may have been purchased from the same company you purchased your hosting from or from a separate company. If you have more than one domain they may have been purchased all on one account or under separate accounts.
- Hosting for your web site(s). If you have more than one website, they may share hosting or they may have separate hosting.
- If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla or a shopping cart, you should know the administrative account information for that CMS.
Here’s what you need to keep track of for each account.
- The URL that you log in at. It’s not much use having a username and password if you don’t know where to use them.
- The username. This may be your email address, but don’t count on that. It’s best to record the username for every account.
- The password. For security reasons you shouldn’t be using the same password for every account. So you’ll want to track your passwords.
There are various tools around that will store you passwords in a secure way. Here are reviews of some of those systems.
Don’t forget to update your password tracking system any time you change a password.