January 28th, 2007


doing things for a client's own good

Here's an exciting question of the day, for those of you in the website business.

When someone asks me to make them a website, I instruct them to go register a domain name. I recommend some sites. If they use one I'm familiar with, like dotster, I tell them how to set up the name servers, otherwise I just tell them general "look for the 'configure name servers' link and type *this* in". And I tell them to call me if they have problems. And I explain to them that THEY own this domain name, it's incredibly important that they have the passwords to their registrar accounts, I do not want these passwords, I'm only their host+designer and if they let a host/designer manage everything it may make their lives easier, but they lose a lot of power in the process. If they ever want to change hosts, they might be screwed. I will not register the domain or do the initial name server setup, because by forcing them to do it, they learn what's in there. And I mean, it's super easy, you just go to the website, spend $15, and when they ask you for "name servers" they put in the ones I've told them to put in, and then they're pointed to my server so whatever I do shows up when someone types the www.whatever.com in.

But this task is horribly scary for some people. All the time, they're just like, "I don't get this computer stuff, just register the domain and bill me, I trust you!" And again, I'm trying to explain to them that if they want to own their website, they have to be very aware of how to control the domain name. Because the domain name almost *is* the website. Having your designer control your domain name is like having your real estate agent's name on the title of your house. The fact that there are all these hosting companies that register your domain for you scares the crap out of me, if you want to switch hosting companies, they are not going to want to point your domain somewhere else!

But anyway, I am trustworthy, and I have been hosting some of these sites for five years now, so I ask you computer people... am I fighting a losing battle, trying to get these people to understand that even if they're not aware of what their website is made up of, this is one concept they've got to grasp? I just feel like they need to know how to log in and change where their domain name is pointed too... is that too much to ask?