How to Take Ownership of Your Website

How to Take Ownership of Your Website

Whether you already have a website, or are planning to have one developed, you should take full ownership of it.

The key when considering website design and development is to understand the three components that make up your website: the domain name, the website host and the website files and software.

Your address

Imagine you are building a house. Think of your domain (www."mydomain".com) as your postal address. Your domain name is how you are found on the Internet, a pointer to where your website will reside. You purchase a domain name (typically less than $15 per year) and maintain an account with the seller.

Your building site

Next, you can think of your website host as your “plot of land.” It is the physical location where your website files and software will reside. So your website host will provide you space (your “plot”) on a server and your domain name (your “address”) will be directed to that location.

Again, you purchase a hosting package (typically from $35 to $80 per year) and maintain an account with the provider. (It is often the same provider and account that you purchased your domain name from, but not always.)

Home sweet website

Lastly the “house” is the website that people see when they type your domain name (www."mydomain".com) into their Internet browser window. Your website (the “house”) is a collection of software and files. These files will be stored on a server (your “land”) provided by your website host.

Management of the property

Often when you have a website built, the developer will establish — and therefore own — the accounts that set up your unique domain name and website hosting. The developer may even charge you annually to maintain those accounts. In theory, this is a fine arrangement.

But perhaps down the road you want to have another developer help you redesign your website or add functionality. That developer will need access to your hosting account. Now what if you don’t own your domain or your hosting account? Do you see the potential problem?

The issue of ownership also is a consideration with the do-it-yourself or build-it-tonight websites. Before pursuing these options, consider the question, “What if I want to take the domain name and the website content with me?” You eventually may want to expand the functionality of your website or redesign the look. It’s always worth understanding your options and limitations.

Take control

Before you ask anyone to develop a website for you, take ownership from the start.

Start by purchasing your domain name (www."mydomain".com), then approach website designers and developers and go from there. Because website requirements vary and hosting packages offer different features, wait until you know what the requirements will be for your website. Then select and purchase the appropriate website hosting package. (Your developers can offer suggestions at this point).

Then you can provide the developers the access that they will need in order to build your website on your own hosting account’s server.

About this Experts Contributor: Laura Bailey Ramirez is the owner of Mosaik Web, providing website design services in Portland, Oregon. She has been developing websites for clients since 2009, and has been a software professional for more than 20 years. You can follow this Experts contributor on Google+.

As of  November 3, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.