Ever Have These “Oh @$%$!” Moments?

Over the years of working on websites for clients, two common “Oh @$%$!” moments crop up periodically. They cost businesses time and money, not to mention panic and aggravation, but the good news is that they can be avoided.

Oh @$%$! My domain name has expired!

You find a great domain name through a registrar like Network Solutions or register.com, manage to navigate the bewildering array of upsells, and finally (phew!) purchase your new domain name. What happens next? Usually, the account username and password, plus the expiration date of your domain name, are soon forgotten. When renewal time rolls around, you can’t be contacted because you didn’t update the registrar with your new email address, or you think your web host/web developer/someone else is taking care of it, or the credit card on record for auto renewal has expired.

Whatever the case, your domain name expires. In the best case scenario, your website (and probably email) will be down for a few hours while you scramble to renew. Worst case? You lose your domain name altogether to another purchaser, possibly even a fast-acting competitor. How much would that cost your business?

Here are 4 steps to take to prevent this from happening:

  1. Keep your registrar and login information (username and password) in a safe place.
  2. Set reminders for when your domain and your credit card on record expires.
  3. Make sure the email you have on record is current and make sure it is an email that you check often.
  4. Buy your domain name from your hosting provider. Having everything in one place saves time, and can even save money. Buying domain names through several different registrars, and then hosting at yet another provider is time-consuming to keep track of, and making sure all the URLs and hosting mesh seamlessly costs more in time, effort and money.

Oh @$%$! My web site has been hacked!

My website's been hacked!This can happen when using a low-cost host with insufficient security, so the simple solution is making sure you use a reliable and reputable host.

Much more common are malicious and/or bored hackers making educated guesses. 12345, the name of your pet, your spouse, your favorite sport, or even the word “password,” are NOT suitable passwords – they’re a hack just waiting to happen. What to do?

  1. Make sure you use strong, un-guessable passwords. Sites like strongpasswordgenerator.com can help you generate strong, random passwords.
  2. Change passwords every few months and don’t use the same password for every on-line account you have – you’re giving up the keys to your entire on-line kingdom if a hacker does manage to figure out your password.
  3. If your site is built in WordPress, make sure it is the most recent version, and update plugins as soon as you are notified that an update is available. Adding a security plugin to monitor suspicious activity on your site is also advisable.

Hopefully these @$%$! scenarios will never happen to you because you have already done these things, or you’re going to drop everything and do them right away!

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