6 Website Logins All Website Owners Should Know (Part 1)

As your favorite local tech support person, it’s a constant battle for us to maintain our client’s websites because so often our clients don’t know crucial access information needed to setup and maintain their websites.
Too often clients rely solely on a friend or trusted associate to handle all of this information. However, as time passes and people come and go in their lives or businesses, they often lose track of this information.
It’s important that you, as the owner of the web property, have accurate access information for these 6 key website logins that you or your tech support person will need. You should find out what they are, make sure they work and store them in a safe place.

Domain Registrar 

What is it?
Remember way back when you first reserved your domain name? Domain registrars are companies that are accredited to reserve, sell and maintain domains for you. Domain names are usually reserved in 1-year increments.
Why is it important?
A domain registrar serves several very important functions. Reserving and renewing the domain name is obvious, but just as important, the domain registrar is also where you specify the DNS host. We’ll talk more about that later, but this means it’s essentially the place where you specify the primary domain name server (like a phone book, only for a computer) which allows people to find your website when they enter your domain name in a browser.
Other facts about Domain Registrars:
When you reserve your domain name, you will be asked to specify contact information for the registrant (the person who owns the domain name), as well as administrative, technical and billing contacts. Most people use the same person, but you may want to include alternate emails in case they can’t reach the original email.
If you don’t know your domain registrar, you can visit a site such as WhoIs, enter your domain name and get a wealth of information about your domain, including who your domain registrar is.
Well known Registrars?

DNS Host (Name Server)

What is it?
A DNS host (name server) is a service that keeps copies of your DNS information on a bunch of different servers so that when somebody enters your domain name, it quickly returns the IP address (sort of like a phone number) to visitors so that they can find (call) your website. This is so that people looking for your website can remember visitmysite.com rather than 123.1.34.56. When someone enters visitmysite.com in a browser, it looks up that name on your DNS hosting’s server and provides the IP address so that your website can be found.
Why is it important?
If you move your website to a different server, for any reason, you have to have this information to re-point the DNS information to the correct IP address. Add it to your list of key website logins, you will definitely need it in the future.
Other facts about DNS Hosting:
In most cases your domain registrar will provide this service for free as part of their domain registration service, so your domain registrar and DNS host are often the same company utilizing the same website logins.
If you don’t know who is hosting your DNS you can usually find out with a WhoIs and look for the name server. Sometimes the name server is a bit cryptic, but you can usually figure out who it is by Googling the name server name.
Well known DNS Hosts?
Cloudflare, Rackspace, FreeDNS, ClouDNS and many major domain registrars such as GoDaddy and BlueHost.

Website Host (Control Panel)

What is it?
Web hosts are services that allow organizations and individuals to publish a website or web page on the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on web hosting servers.
Why is it important?
Clearly, if you need to make changes to your website, it’s important to have access to where the files and images are that make up your website. Without it, you cannot update your content.
Other facts about Web Hosting:
Websites with low traffic visitation are usually found on shared servers, often with dozens of other sites.  Busier ones may be on dedicated servers, with increased pricing. The login that controls your website is often called a dashboard or control panel.
Many domain registrars will also provide website hosting. So your registrar and web host are often the same company with the same login.
If you don’t know who is hosting your website, visit WhoIsHostingThis? and enter your domain. There you will see the name of the company who is currently hosting your website.
Well known Web Hosting Companies?

Coming next time: Website Logins Part 2 – FTP, WordPress, and email services.