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If you’ve been in online business for years, once you might be in a position where you wanted redesign your site on your own only to find that your web developer refused to provide access to the domain. And adding to the pain, the original contract says that the domain name they bought is actually owned by the developer, not you as the owner. Unethical? Of course. Reality? Yes. Preventable? Absolutely. You can avoid the nightmare, hassle and heartache of having to re-market and re-brand your business. You need to make sure that you own your domain name to avoid catastrophic and costly consequences
1. Choose a domain name wisely and find its availability on goDaddy or Enom, or any other respectable domain registrar.
2. Once you have found a good domain name, it is recommended to buy it yourself. When you hire a web developer, you can notify them that you already own the domain name. If you want to let your web developer buy a domain name for you, you have to be sure that the contract states that you are the SOLE owner of the domain.
3. When you have agreed on development cost and terms for your new site, you should decide where to get the hosting account – it is usually more convenient to host the domain with the same domain registrar – or you can ask the web developer to handle the web hosting registration. Remember, domain name and website are two different things, you should ask the developer about the website content ownership before sealing the deal. Make sure it is included in the contract. Don’t give up any ownership to anyone. Before signing the contract, make sure it allows you to get an updated copy of the website in a DVD every month, it should includes the actual website, the underlying codes and the database. If the developer goes out of business or stop providing a reliable service, you won’t have to start from scratch. You absolutely need to do this in case you are forced to transfer your site to other developer, as the original developer may refuse to relinquish control of your entire site.
4. Once your site is completed, your web developer will have to upload your website contents to the hosting server. If you have a separate hosting account, you need to transfer the FTP account for your web developer to upload your site. If you don’t understand how to do this, you may ask the hosting company assist you. Remember to change the password once the upload process is completed.
5. If your web developer purchased the hosting account for you, ask the DNS settings of the server location, even if you don’t understand about this settings, it is still important for you to keep. Try to login to your domain control panel and enter the DNS information provided. You can ask your registrar to help you. Sure, this could be a hassle now, but you shouldn’t give the domain password out. If you buy a domain with registrar and a malicious person knows your password, then it is possible to lose your domain account. Password equals to ownership and losing it is a disaster. Perhaps, a safer way to find a web developer is to choose one in your town, this way, if something goes wrong you can go to their office to make a complaint. If you want to find a developer online, get references or testimonials from friends. Always ask what will happen if you decide to terminate the contract and choose another developer.