Don’t let your website be held hostage

The importance of picking a web designer you can trust was made obvious this week when the Internet grapevine circulated the story about a chiropractic office that allegedly failed to pay the web designer who built its new site.

In a show of what even the designer admits is childish pique, the entire website was turned into a slam against the chiropractor and nasty accusations against him. Although the designer quickly removed the offensive site, the damage had already been done as the story (and the screenshot of the altered webpage) circulated around the web.

Such unprofessionalism may be rare, but it’s vital to remember that anyone who works on your site has access to your username and password and can wreak major havoc with your online presence if a problem arises. Be careful to provide such passwords ONLY to companies or individuals you know and never give them your primary host account and password.

One piece of important advice given by many web experts is that you should ALWAYS register your own domain name rather than assign someone else that task. That way, your domain name ( is never in jeopardy. Even if your website should get “taken hostage,” you can redirect your domain to another host account. This is very easy to do by using a reputable company (I usually use GoDaddy).

If you already have a domain name, double check to make sure that you’re the registered “owner” by going to and entering your domain name. If you aren’t listed as the owner, contact the person who is (probably the company you paid to register the name) and ask to have the account transferred to your name. If the company or individual refuses, you may be in for a battle or find yourself needing to pay an additional fee.

If you require an outside company to do your web design and programming, be sure you establish your own account with whatever hosting service you or your consultant decide on Again, I use GoDaddy since it’s inexpensive, easy to use, and has good customer service.

Once you set up your own account, you’ll receive an e-mail with your login information. Using the online dashboard, set up your administrative privileges and add your web company as a “user.” You can remove the company’s user designation when the work has been completed, and you’ll be left with total control over the account.

For more information, be sure to read the article “Avoid being held hostage by your Web designer” on last month’s Entrepreneur magazine blog.

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