Who Owns your Website?

do you have the "keys" to your website?

I had mentioned in a previous blog post, that I often use analogies to explain website concepts to my clients and laypersons. Here’s another….

Do you have the "keys" to your website?

One thing you should understand before you sign the contract for a new website designer is whether you will have direct access to your website hosting and domain. In other words, do you have the keys to your car? Or are you just a passenger in an Uber or Lyft ride-share service?

What if the driver drops you off at your destination (great!), but you can’t get a ride back home (not so great)?

That is what it could be like if your website designer does not provide you the login credentials to the essential tools for your website.

I have some new clients come to me asking for help updating or fixing their existing website built by another website developer. In some cases, the client didn’t know where their website was hosted or where the domain name was registered, much less have access to them. These are critical items to have the login credentials to so you “have the keys to your car”.

Even when you have an excellent relationship with your website designer, should there be a need, due to emergency, tragedy, or other unforeseen circumstances, for another designer come in to manage your website, you want to have these keys.

While other types of access, such as to FTP or WordPress admin, allow you to make content changes to your website, hosting, domain and nameserver control larger factors such as the renewal and cancellation of your website, pointing your domain to which hosting service provider, installation of an SSL (for an https secured site), adding databases, and more.

So before deciding on a website designer, ask if you will be able to access these services directly:

  • Website hosting – the files for your website will reside on a webserver that connects to and make them available on the Internet
  • Domain registrar – third party company that manages the registration of Internet domain names (e.g., domain.com, yahoo.com, umeworks.com)
  • Nameserver – directs the domain name to an I.P. address; think of it as a telephone White Pages of sorts (for those of you old enough to remember that): You can look up your friend’s (domain name) address (I.P.). This enables the Internet browser to find your website on the correct webserver when you type in the domain.
  • Email hosting – where your emails are hosted and managed; this is not directly tied to your website, but setting is also managed through the nameserver;


The service providers for above items may all be with the same firm, or they can be with different firms. It depends on how they were set up.

There may be other items also needed for your specific site to function properly, e.g., subscriptions for premium plugins, theme, ecommerce payment gateways, page builder, and others, but the first three above are the essential components for a website. Like the steering wheel, tires, fuel, fluids, and pedals for your car.

UmeWorks’ philosophy is that YOU should have the keys to YOUR car – and website. Our goal is to work in a manner that you want us to drive your car with your spare set of keys. We don’t want to force you to by hiding your set.

If that sounds good to you and you have a new “car” to build, let’s talk!

Please contact UmeWorks so we can talk about your new website design and development, or fill out our request for website estimate form.

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