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My Web designer held me to ransom

House keysAllowing a Web designer to host your Website is like giving a builder the keys to your house.

Are you contemplating letting your Web designer arrange your Web hosting and domain name?  If you are, you may not realise how much of your business they could be in control of.

I hear many horror stories from distraught people because they are literally held to ransom over their Website.  This can happen when you allow someone else to be in control of your web hosting and/or domain name.  If your Website designer pays for your hosting and/or domain name and registers them in their name, they are not only in control over what happens with them but they are also the owners of them.

Facts to be aware of:

Your domain name is actually your brand; it is your own long-term asset. You should avoid any risk that sees you lose your asset.

In the beginning you may have an excellent relationship with your Website designer.  They may initially come across as being the nicest and most helpful of people around; however, if they are in control of your web hosting and/or domain name and you enter into a dispute with them, they may intentionally or unintentionally block your ability to make necessary changes to your Website.

You may decide that your current Web hosting is not the best solution for you but changing who hosts your website may conflict with the business interests of your Website designer.  If they have control over your Web hosting, changing your hosting could prove to be a monumental and stressful undertaking.

Once you Website designer has built your Website, they may insist that all further Website amendments are done by them.  Also, many Website designers charge low amounts on Website development but make their money on charging high website updating fees.

Your Web designer’s updating prices may increase higher than your budget can handle or they may be taking too long to make important changes to your Website. There are many reasons why you may want to change your designer but once again, getting them to relinquish control of your Website hosting and/or domain name may be exceedingly difficult. 

All these situations are extremely plausible and are happening regularly with Web design.  I have personally heard some awful stories from clients who have been 'stitched up' because someone else controlled their Web hosting and domain name.  Many small companies make the mistake of giving far too much control over their business assets to a Website designer.   It is a fundamental bad business practise. Make it your responsibility as a business owner to make sure that you control your business assets and that nobody can easily interrupt how it functions on a day to day basis.  Acquiring these services yourself may at first seem like a daunting task; however, there is help out there. 

If for some reason you are have to pass control of your Web hosting and domain name over to your Web designer, make sure that:

  • You know who your domain is registered with.
  • Every domain name linked to your Website has a control panel so make sure you know the URL, username and password.
  • You and your business are listed as the primary contacts and owners of the domain.
  • You keep a list of every email address and alias as well as their passwords.
  • You can access and transfer your emails.
  • You keep a note of your email settings in case you move machine or provider.
  • You own and control any social media profiles like Twitter and Facebook.
  • You protect your Website’s performance.
  • You can access your website files and any databases linked to your Website.
  • You get periodic backups of your website files and databases.

Ensure your Website, like your business; is controlled by you -- not your Web designer!