Yesterday I wrote about how expensive a local web host can be when hosting your business website with such a company or a local web designer. Many small businesses use a local web designer to get an online presence and then are kind of held hostage by these web designers. While I support honest, local web designers there are some who take advantage of small business customers and charge an arm and a leg for web hosting without providing real value in return.
Yesterday I provided information on how to gain control of your domain name as a first step in the process of moving your business website to a different provider. Today I am going to show how to gain control of the files that actually make your website which is hosted under your domain name. Just taking control of your domain name is not enough as you would lose your website and your content unless you also gain control and physical ownership of your website.
I am assuming you are dealing with a web designer of some sort who is difficult to work with and makes it difficult to move away from him/her. You might have to get a little tricky to get copies of your website in those cases to avoid a situation where the web designer turns hostile and makes it impossible to move away without a major hassle. Any good web designer should respect your wish to use a cheaper web host. Anyway, how can you get a copy of your website? For one you need to determine if your website is just made out of static files or if there is an actual CMS (Content Management System) is used that also has a database backend. Your goal is to be able to upload everything to the new web host at one point and to have a working website.
One good way to ask for what makes your website is actually a valid business reason. Remember 9/11? When the towers of the World Trade Center went down many business were destroyed. Anyone who did not have an offsite copy of their data had lost all business records. 9/11 triggered a large wave of disaster recovery procedures where businesses realized how fast a fatal incident could wipe a business. As a result business started recording business procedures and stored them offsite with critical business data and backups of data. You can use the same reason to request a current copy of your website from your web designer. Explain that you are creating a disaster recovery plan which also includes the website and the web designer. What happens if the web designer gets hits by a bus tomorrow? How can you get your website? Properly explained it will be difficult for the web designer to deny you a copy of what you own anyway. Let’s take this a step further and use the same situation to have the web designer document your website at the same time. This will make it easier for your new webmaster or web designer to put all the bits and pieces together.
That’s it for today. In part III of this article I will provide detail f how to put all this together and how to move your website to a new webhost.