If you have an existing website or hosting account and are working with a new designer or developer, there’s a good chance that they will request any — or all — of the login credentials listed below in order to best assist you:
- FTP. FTP credentials most commonly consist of three components: URL / IP / Host, Username, and Password. FTP access allows a developer to manage (upload, download, and edit) the files located on your server, and is often used to help make a complete backup of your website.
- cPanel / phpMyAdmin. cPanel or phpMyAdmin credentials typically consist of a Username and Password. cPanel access opens up the ability to manage almost every aspect of your website, including the option to create FTP Users. Oftentimes, cPanel access is only requested in order to access phpMyAdmin, when it can’t otherwise be accessed directly. phpMyAdmin is a tool used to manage the database(s) used by your site. Database access is critical in creating a thorough website backup.
(Note that not all websites are database-driven, but almost all CMS-driven sites — such as WordPress — are.)
- CMS. Content Management System (CMS) credentials typically consist of a Username and Password. Administrator-level user access to your CMS-driven site (such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) is a critical component in giving your developer the access they need to manage your site. Though it’s critical access to have, these user accounts can often be set up directly within the database, given that the developer has appropriate database access. Access to your CMS allows the developer to manage themes, plugins, and content more effectively.
- Web Hosting. Access to your web hosting account (such as GoDaddy, Host Gator, DreamHost, 1&1, etc.) is rarely needed for basic site maintenance when the above are provided, but may be necessary for critical configuration, billing, and account setup or management needs. Hosting account access is the highest level of access, which can ultimately be used to setup and configure all the credentials listed above.
Optional credentials, depending on the specifics of your project, could include the following:
- Analytics. If the scope of your project involves a redesign or any number of site improvements, you may be asked for access to your Analytics platform, most commonly Google Analytics. Access to Analytics gives a developer or SEO manager the ability to evaluate how your users are interacting with your site. ** See note below.
- Webmaster Tools. Access to your site’s Webmasters — whether Google, Bing, or otherwise — account is commonly requested for any project relating to how your site appears on the web, including an initial website launch, or changes to the site. Among many things, Webmasters allows a developer to submit a Sitemap of your website, helping search engines better understand the layout and importance of your site structure. ** See note below.
** In most cases, the best way to give another person access to your Google account is to add them as a user, instead of providing them your Google account login information. Please see this external article on How to Grant Access to Google Webmaster Tools. Also, see Google’s Help articles on how to Add, modify, and delete users in Analytics, or Managing users, owners, and permissions in Webmasters
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