Losing a webmaster is an event that can bring your online business down to its knees. On the other hand, a rogue webmaster may put you into a hostage situation. Relying too heavily to your webmaster may cause you to lose the access to your own website, with little hope of recovering it. Hard won search engine ranking can be lost instantly. Although, you own the site, the legal process and the time needed to reclaim it can prove to be costly. As you’re struggling to regain your site, you may also be forced to watch in vain as investments or potential transactions slip through your fingers and vanish.
This is an avertable disaster. If you need to delegate the task of managing your site to someone else (the webmaster) due to technical or time constraints, always be prepared to possible emergency conditions. These are information you need to gather and keep in a very secure place.
The name of your domain name registrar: Many site owners don’t even know who the domain registrar for their site is. Anyone who controls the domain account can:
a. Point the domain to a different hosting server
b. Transfer the domain to another registrar
c. Control email handling
d. Renew the registration before it expires. If you’re late in renewing your domain name, the status can change into “available”, which mean your domain name can be swiftly acquired by a competitor.
It is critical to ensure that the Admin and Registrant contacts are yours. For example, the name, business name/address, phone numbers and email address must be yours. As you need the webmaster to run your site, his name can be listed in the Technical or Billing contact. Even if you asked the webmaster to buy the domain for you, you should immediately change the password once the webmaster has finished his work in establishing your new site. Domain account is rarely opened once the site is well-established, so you should be the one who completely control the account. Once you’ve changed the password, put it in the most secure place, as it is the key to the ownership of your site. If you’re concerned that you may not be able to run the business in the future due to events, such as death, you may make the account information available to the most trusted associate or family member.
These measures should be enough to prevent the unintentional (if the webmaster dies) or intentional (if the webmaster gone rogue) domain account lockdown. There are absolutely no technical and legal reasons to let your webmaster control your domain account. Never assume that webmasters always register the domain under owners’ name. Many website owners are unaware that the domain registration should be set up under their name. Type who.is in your browser’s address bar to find out whether you’re a listed in the administrative contact.
Hosting control: If you don’t know anything about web hosting, it may be necessary to ask the webmaster for help. However, make sure the hosting is registered under your name. Contact the hosting company to know, what will happen when the webmaster is unexpectedly unavailable.
Management console: Your webmaster needs to have a full control of the management console to manage your site as he must handle files, subdomain, e-mail account and others. Only you and the webmaster should know the password to access the console. Regularly log in to the console, to know whether the password is still unchanged, ask the webmaster to notify you about password change.
Server access: Webmasters need server access as an admin or root to effectively manage your site. Make sure you also have the password and check regularly whether you can still access the server.
Publishing: Webmaster should also have a full access on publishing features upload your content. Not only you also need to have the account names and password, find out whether you’ll be automatically notified whenever there is an attempt to change the account.
Software access: You should have a list of software installed in your server, such as CMS, operating system, web server software and others. Make sure you have the password of all software installed.
Security notes: Unavoidably, website owners rely on the webmaster to handle all security matters. Eventually, webmaster needs to make customized security settings to adjust to changing situation. It is likely that your webmaster write all changes on security setting on a note somewhere. Even if you lack the necessary knowledge to understand about server security, you should talk with the webmaster every few months to talk about security matters. Ask him to explain about the state of and latest changes in security. You should also get a copy of his written notes and put it in a safe place. This way, if you need to find a new webmaster, your business will be less affected.
Webmaster is among the most important person in your online business. When hiring a new webmaster, you should confirm his home address; it is also a good idea to hire a webmaster referred by your friend as you can ask the friend’s help if something goes wrong with the webmaster.
Many of the information you collect may be confusing, meaningless or seems garbled. It doesn’t matter, even if you don’t understand about technical babble and details of website maintenance, you need the information to help you to recover quickly, when the webmaster can no longer work with you. For example, if your webmaster had always paid the domain and hosting charge, you should be able to contact and pay the domain registrar and the hosting provider if your webmaster is unavailable. This will make sure that all of your accounts remain in good standing. It is highly recommended to pull copies from your server regularly and store it in DVDs or portable hard drive. Relying too much on your webmaster may cause your site to drop out of the Internet, causing the lost of hard-won visibility and search engine ranking.