Many of you will have questions, I have listed some here that I am commonly asked. However do get in contact if you have additional questions through the contact us page.
Q: I am a luddite as far as technology is concerned, I don’t think I will ever be able to edit my own website, what assurance can you provide that it is easy?
A: This is probably the most frequent question I get asked, some people do not even ask it, they just assume they will never be able to edit their own sites. If you know what a computer is and know how to use a web browser like Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and you know what a Word Processor is such as MicroSoft Word, then that is all you need to know. WordPress websites are edited using a web browser, the word processor part is built into the website through a special administrative interface. If you are really concerned about this, contact me, I can provide temporary access to a site and show you how to manage the editor over the phone. For the most part, I
Q: Where is the hosting based?
A: I currently use two hosting companies. One is based in the USA and is quite fast, the other is based in the UK in Lincoln, and slightly slower than the USA based hosting. I buy a block of what is referred to as Reseller Hosting. I am able to use this space to create accounts and websites for clients? I review this regularly as I use both sets of hosting on a daily basis. As the expiry of the hosting approaches I review whether we are getting the best performance for the types of sites we are running.
Q: Can I use the hosting where my current site is located?
A: We can look at the feasibility of doing this, it largely depends on what is provided in the hosting. A WordPress website needs to run on PHP and uses a MySQL Database. There are other considerations as well that affect performance such as the memory allocated for the website to run in. Where I have tried to do this in the past I have run into problems because not all hosting is equal. While it may be feasible to get a site to run pretty much anywhere it may run slowly or some functions in PHP are not available. The best approach is if this is a requirement then we check it at the beginning of the project as part of a feasibility study. The hosting I provide is selected based on speed and flexibility. I also manage sites in the hosting I provide checking the site infrastructure is up to date and backing the sites up.
Q: What support can you provide?
A: I can provide as much or as little as you wish. Normally when a site is released I train at least two people on how to edit and maintain a website, that training can always be carried out over the phone, and in many cases in person. I expect to get a few phone calls after that meeting. Remember that the heavy lifting as been done and what you are editing is a built website to your specifications. So you can easily locate a page and the edit the contents.
If you decide you do not want to edit your site, or want me to edit the site on your behalf then I can provide that service if you wish. Contact me to discuss. I do provide some support to a couple of sites for that reason. I can edit things much more quickly than other editors.
If you need something more, say a completely new section added to the site, then the best way to handle this if you want me to do it is to write a document to explain your changes and pass them to me for review.
Q: I don’t know where to start, can you help?
A: Most people are fazed by a blank sheet of paper. I work with you and provide you with some tips and best practices and we develop the site from there. You do not have to follow all of my guidance, there is no golden set of rules. What I bring is a few years experience from developing over 150 sites in both HTML and WordPress, extensive reading on the subject, the benefit at looking how others work, and what the benefits are. I also come from an engineering design and development background in data communications where I have done most jobs from Technician to Director including project and program management on multi million £ projects. I guide you through a process and explain why we do things in certain ways.
Q: Will my site be secure?
A: I use a number of methods of locking down the website. The two most common ways into a website is through a weak password and logging in as an existing user, or accessing the hosting which is also poorly protected with a weak password. Provided you take security seriously and use secure strong passwords and do not share them with anyone, and do not leave the information anywhere where it could be compromised then you should be ok. I get security messages from all of the sites I am hosting provided you do not turn them off. If I see any suspicious activity I investigate it. The username “admin” is never used which is often a target for hackers, and all passwords are set through WordPress. Sites are backed up on a weekly basis, and I independently take 4 copies a year and store them outside of the hosting. I am familiar with most of the common methods employed by hackers and take precautions against them. If your site is hacked, I will be able to get you back on line.
Q: What level of access rights do I have?
A: Once the development work has been paid for, you have the same access rights to everything that I have. There are two areas that are important, one is the hosting access, the other is website access. You are not prevented from doing anything.
Q: How many email accounts can I have?
A: For most people 10 accounts is sufficient. I recommend using POP3 accounts so the mail is downloaded to a local client. This preserves the memory space in the hosting which generally starts at 3GB. This space is used for website hosting and email.
Q: Can I add or change my email accounts?
A: You will have access to something called cPanel (Control Panel) from this login area you can edit, access, delete, or change the passwords for email accounts. There are many other things you can do in here, but for most people that is all they are really interested in. You can also create forwarders which allow you to forward email, and set up out of office messages at the server. All accounts can be acecssed through the web, or integrated into Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird and various other mobile based mail applications.
Q: Can I move my site away?
A: Once your site development is complete and you have paid for it, the site is yours to do with as you see fit. My goal is to provide you with the training and skills so you can edit the website. I provide hosting as well so you have a turnkey (one stop solution) and peace of mind. If things do not work out for whatever reason, you have sufficient access rights to move your site to somewhere else. You are not tied to me in any way. Additionally because the site is hosted in a cPanel and the site uses WordPress both of these systems are common and many people will be available to help you.
Q: Who owns the domain name?
A: The domain name is the web address for your site. So in the case of this site it is Wingrove-Media.com. In most cases I take out a domain name for you, and it is held by my registrar. They are effectively “rented” and renew every year or two years. I renew the account for you before it expires and send out an invoice. Domain names will initially be registered in my name, however I encourage you to have a named person in your organisation and an address and I can replace my information with yours. This allows you to independently move the domain name easily should the need arise.
In some cases I do not hold your domain name, you hold it. In which case I need access to it to set up DNS (Domain Name Service). Under such situations you need to renew it when it is due. Failure to renew your domain name means your site may disappear off of the Internet. It technically means that someone using a browser cannot reach it. The site has not physically disappeared. By leaving your domain name with me, I look after that for you.
Q: What questions should I be asking other web developers?
While comparing other solutions, which you are encouraged to do, you should ask the following questions:
- Where is the hosting located?
- What type of hosting account is it? (Has someone resold you a 1and1 account, or are you part of a shared hosting reseller account, on a private server or virtual private server? In the latter two cases this is good, but it can become very expensive, and much of that cost may be passed to you.)
- What are the costs for the website, the domain name and the hosting? These are three separate costs. Work out what the ongoing cost is over 5 years. I have come across situations where hosting has been provided at over £200 a year, and email accounts at £600 a year. If you are a small local charity, you should be paying under £60 a year. If the website appears to be cheap, make sure you are not paying for it over the next 5 years, or if you are then you know you are. Is there any ongoing maintenance/ support fees?
- Are any special premium functions/ plugins/ templates used that are not transferrable? A developer may not have the right to allow you to take your website somewhere else. Especially if they are licensed in their name.
- Whether you have control panel access to the hosting and can set up or delete email accounts?
- What system is the website built on and whether you are able to edit it? (Be wary of bespoke or proprietary systems as this will lock you into a limited number of suppliers).
- Will you have the same levels of administrative access as the developer to your account and to your website? (Some developers retain a higher level of access so you have to keep coming back).
- Whether the website can be backed up independently and restored independently? (Do you have access to all of the tools to move the site out of the hosting?)
- Is training and support provided and at what cost?
- Are editing services available and at what cost?
- Ask for references from existing customers?
- What is the turn around time from making a request to getting it implemented?
- How are bugs resolved?
- Is the hosting a managed service, and how much does it cost? (hosting provider checks the installation and makes sure it is up to date, and manages backups).
Contact me if you have any other questions
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