How many passwords do you have associated with your website? As a website owner, you want to have access to every technical part of your website, in case you lose your developer! You may find that you have passwords for a domain name registrar, a web hosting control panel, FTP, a database or two, and various others. But, why is that?
Just like you may go to many different services for your car, it takes many services to have a website. For your car, you go to one business to change the oil, another to work on your transmission and another to do body work. It is possible that one business could have people on staff to do all these tasks. It’s the same for your website. The following is an explanation of the different technical areas of your website that may have a username and password.
1. Your Domain Name
Your domain name is a group of characters that the internet, as a system, uses to locate your unique website on your web host. A person anywhere in the world can request your site, and find your site by following the directions associated with your domain name. You can move your website to a different web server, change the address associated with your domain name and know that people will still find your site.
Your domain name is not something that anyone but you should be able to access or change. So, you have an account with a domain registrar to keep other people from hijacking your domain name. If your domain name is registered through your web host, you may be able to make changes in your domain name account from the same place you make changes to your hosting account.
2. Your Web Host Control Panel
Your web hosting company will most likely give you a place where you can go online to pay your bill, change your billing address, add new domain names, add a database to your account, add or change email addresses, and many other functions. This is your control panel or your account. Some web hosts give you one place to do everything. Other web hosts split it up and give you two sets of usernames and passwords. The reason they do that is that you might have an office person take care of the accounting issues and a technical person take care of emails and databases, etc. If one person is doing both functions, that person may find it cumbersome to have to log into two different places.
3. FTP Access
FTP is a special connection to the files that make up your website on your server. Anyone can get your website to see it in their browser, but everyone shouldn’t be able to get to it to make changes. FTP is the connection that allows you to move files in and out of your site. So, it is very important that your FTP access be controlled through a username and password.
Some web hosting systems use the same username and password for both the control panel and your FTP access. Other web hosting systems allow you to set up many FTP usernames and passwords to give different people access to different parts of your website. That way you can control who gets to change what on your website. Also, if you need to take FTP access away from someone, if everyone has a different username and password, shutting an account down for one person doesn’t affect everyone’s access.
1 Password to X Passwords, depending on your hosting package.
Your website may have no database, one database, or many databases. You might have a database if you have an online catalog, or a forum, or a chat, calendar of events, or other types of lists. If you use a Content Management System for your website, your whole website may be run from a database. Again, it is very important to control who can add or delete information from the database; so, each database is controlled by a user name and password. In some web hosting systems, each database has the same password. In other web hosting systems, each database has its own password.
0 – X passwords
5. Web Services
Your website may be linked to payment services, such as PayPal; emailed newsletter software, such as MailerMailer; customer account software, such as SalesForce; event registration software, such as Regonline, and other systems. These systems are built and hosted by other companies. Each one of these systems will require it’s own username and password.
0 – X passwords
Protect your Passwords
No matter how many passwords you have, it can cause you a long struggle, if your passwords are compromised. Here are some things to be careful about:
– Don’t use the same password for everything. If someone cracks one, they’ve cracked everything.
– Don’t use a blank password, or the word “password,” or the word “secret.” These are the first things that an attacker will try because they are so common.
– Don’t put your passwords on a sticky note – anywhere.
– Don’t put your passwords in a file called Passwords, or even in a file that follows a pattern that is obviously for passwords. Clever attackers can search your whole computer.
– Don’t send a username and password by email. Put them in separate emails. Or better yet, email one and text one.