Keeping Track of Domain Name and Web Hosting Accounts

If you have a website or are in the process of getting a website designed and developed for your business, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you keep a record of where you have purchased the Domain Name and Web Hosting services and any usernames and passwords that come with it.

Set up a folder on your computer and call it “Website Account” and as you get emails from Domain Name and Web Hosting companies save the emails or copy them into a word document and save them there. Even if you don’t understand the information that is contained in the email your web developer may need this information to get your website online. One of the most critical things to keep is the email address that you sign up for a particular service. This email needs to be one that you always use because this is where all communication in regards to your service and billing will be sent. Depending on the company this may be annually or every 2 + years.

Domain Name and Web Hosting

Most of these domain name and web hosting companies have different username and passwords for the billing and the actual service. With so many fraudulent companies sending out fake ” domain name renewal” invoices, this will ensure that if you do get an invoice you are not sure about then you can check by going back to your ” website account folder” and checking the name of the company and the date it was purchased.

The rules can be very strict in regards to who has access to your account and each company will have different methods of validating your account. As you go through the sign up process take note of what email address you use, which mobile phone number, and any other details such as “questions” so that when you do need them the process to access any of your domain name or web hosting accounts  is smooth and quick.

Below  is an example of a typical list of things to keep in your folder. You may want to set up an excel spreadsheet as well if you have a lot of different accounts.

Domain Name
Name of company  purchased from, name of domain name, date purchased, how many years.
Billing account username and password, service account username and password.

Web hosting
Name of company, package type, date purchased, how many years?
Billing account username and password, control panel log in details.

Content Management System
Link to the admin section of your website, username and password, and email address associated with it.

Email Accounts
Name of each email accounts you have set up and passwords

Social Accounts
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, YouTube username and password, and email address associated with it.

Other password protected websites
Such as Mailing lists, istock photo accounts, mobile website account etc.

If you forget or loose a password most online websites will give you the opportunity to retrieve it clicking on a ” forget your password” link on the login page. This will be sent to the email address associated with the account.

Always keep records of your passwords up to date – you never know when you will need them!

Make sure your password is..at least 8 characters long and use a mix of Uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters

Don’t let this happen to you…

I had to deal with a web hosting company that I have never dealt with before on behalf of a client. Unfortunately the password to the log in “billing” account had been lost, and the access to the control panel password had also been lost. The original website had been set up many years ago and maintained by different people along the way and the original web hosting company was taken over 3 times.

To put up a new website I needed access to their accounts and the only way to do this was to call the web hosting company. Normally the process is quick and easy however to finally get the correct access took multiple phone calls. Each of these phone calls started with a notification that there were 14 people in the queue and involved waits of up to an hour.

My question was the same each time I talked to an operator however I didn’t quite have all the details from my client as they didn’t know either. I wanted the log in and password details sent to the email address of the account holder. Then I could move forward with getting the website up LIVE. A support ticket was raised ( that I didn’t have access to) and I was emailed a copy with a link to a ” recover your password ” page….. that needed a password to access it!

After finally working through it all and getting access to the billing account and web hosting control panel account I was presented with another problem. I could not access the control panel as it was coming up with a security error, and as the web hosting account was so old the website that I had ready to put up could not be accommodated there.

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We decided to purchase a new web hosting account and point (connect so the website will work) the domain name to the new hosting account. Domain names generally are too hard to transfer and require a bit of paperwork and a fee to transfer to another company so the decision was made to keep the domain name with them, but get new web hosting. To get the domain name to point to the new web hosting required a ticket to the company I had grown to dread dealing with. I followed it up with a phone call.

I have made up a detailed list of all the passwords for my client and a little story at the start explaining a bit of the history. In the future if the role of maintaining the website is handed over to someone else then this document can be handed over and kept up to date.

Megan McDonald