Here’s a quick checklist of information a web designer would need to work on your site in the event you have a falling-out with your existing designer, or he disappears, or he gets run over by a bus. Keep this list in a safe place and owning a website will become a lot less daunting.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) lets people like me access your website files on the web. Without FTP access (or SFTP, SSH or some other form of connection), there’s very little a web developer could do to help you modify your website.
- FTP hostname
- FTP username
- FTP password
- What directory is the website in?
Not all websites use databases, but if you have a Content Management System (CMS) installed, you will most likely have a database.
- Database hostname
- Database name
- Database username
- Database password
Web Hosting Control Panel
99% of web hosting companies use some form of 3rd party control panel. The most popular are Plesk and cPanel. The other 1% have their own control panel system (why, I will never understand). Having access to the control panel helps you upload/download files, manage your email accounts and generally maintain your website.
NOTE: Control panels are also very dangerous places for people who are new to them. Tread lightly or you may end up deleting your website.
- Control panel URL
- Control panel username
- Control panel password
Content Management System (CMS) Logins
If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ExpressionEngine, or a proprietary CMS, you’ll have a login screen that gets you into your content management dashboard. You need to know:
- CMS Dashboard URL
- CMS username
- CMS password
Many a website owner has lost their domain name to a domain squatter simply because they didn’t know who registered it and how often it needed to be renewed. Don’t be a statistic.
- Domain name
- Domain registrar name
- Domain registrar URL
- Domain registrar email address on file
- Domain registrar username
- Domain registrar password
- Domain expiry date
While it’s usually quite easy for a web developer to figure out who hosts a website, knowing this information off-hand will save us precious minutes and make us love you more.
- Web hosting provider name
- Web hosting provider URL
- Web hosting account number
On the day you launch your website, ask your designer for a backup copy of the site files and/or database for your records. You’ll either get this delivered electronically or on a DVD copy. Keep it safe.
- Backup copy of website files and database
- Bonus point: Backup copy of website assets (Photoshop files, images, etc.). Although, to be fair to some designers, they often retain copyright on website assets. It doesn’t hurt to ask though.
Put it on paper
I’m a huge fan of storing information online, but a list like this can be damaging if it gets into the wrong hands. For that reason I’ve created a PDF Document you can download, fill in and print for your records.
Download the website-owners-25-point-checklist (PDF)