Technical Details your developer will need to know when you start a new website project
What we cover in this post:
- FTP Details (File Transfer Protocol)
- Current hosting access
- Domain name access & DNS access
- CMS access
- Database access
- Analytics and third party access for installation
So your starting a new website project, exciting times. You’ve gone through the design process and everything is bright and beautiful. At some point you are going to need to get the new masterpiece live and onto your website hosting. You’ve started the project so it’s inevitable that this is going to happen at some point.
This article will hopefully serve as a guide for the level of access and details that your web agency are going to need. often these are left until the last minute and then everyone is left hunting around for these details only to find out that they don’t have them in the first place.
So it’s good to get in early with these details, it will make for much smoother sailing and it will also save your web agency pestering you for these throughout the project.
FTP Details (File Transfer Protocol)
So you’re either aware of this one or don’t have a clue. FTP details allow a developer or agency to log in to the back end of your website hosting in order to access the core files that your site is made up from.
By having the FTP details it allows the downloading of and uploading of files to your website hosting.
Usually FTP details will look like: (ask your development team for exactly what they need from you if they haven’t asked)
Host Address / IP address
Why does the agency need FTP details and how are they used?
These are really important, we use these details for downloading a complete backup of what is sat on your website server. So in a worst-case scenario nothing gets lost and everything can be restored back to when it originally came from. Also depending on the type of website project this could be the primary way in which website files are uploaded to your website.
Top Tip: Best practice
If you have access to your webhost control panel and are able to, we suggest creating a new FTP user for your agency, this way when you are finished working with them you can revoke any web file access if you need to do so.
Current hosting access
At some point your new website is going to be pushed up in to the internet for all the world to see. This can be done through a CMS e.g. you can move one WordPress site to another without actually touching the hosting. But it’s important to have hosting access for a number of reasons:
1 – To make sure that the website files and database are fully backed up so you can revert the site if you need to
2 – If things go sidewards when pushing the website you will lose all front-end access so your agency will need the hosting access for use as a back door if needed.
3 – Technical specs. Certain websites are dependant on the technology they are built on. By having hosting access the web agency can take a look under the bonnet and ensure that the rightinfastructure is in place before they put the site live. Really helps with a smooth upload of a new website.
Domain name access & DNS access
Access to your domain name (www.yourdomainname.co.uk) is equally important information for your web agency to have. Usually this is stored and managed in a different location to your website hosting. You may have your website domain at go-daddy but your website hosting with Flywheel.
DNS (Domain Name Server) is where your Domain name (stay with me) is pointed to. So, in order to point your website to a new hosting company the agency will need access to your DNS settings.
Domain Name + DNS >> points to >> Website Hosting
CMS or Content Management system (if you have one) is what you use to edit content on your website. For example this may be WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, Joomla etc. It’s really important to give your agency administrative access to this (set the up as a new user don’t give them your own password – stay secure at all times.)
When we have CMS access we can export all of the content, news articles, shop products or whatever else that we need. It also gives us a good look at what you currently have so that we can give you something much better and streamlined to use.
The majority of websites created are powered by a database (don’t worry, not going full on geek here). A database allows us to do lots of fantastic geeky stuff including installing your chosen CMS such as WordPress.
What? A database contains a stack of tables that hold all kinds of information. Developers can use a database to power not only the CMS but also to power the content and store info that can then be displayed on your website.
The easiest thing to get your head around would be a members database for everyone who can log into your website. The database would store the username and encrypted password, then when someone tries to login the website would then query the database to see if the username and password are correct or not.
Analytics, Tag manager and third party access for installation
Do not forget your Analytics tracking codes . . . . tattoo this on your screen if you need to.
Oh my goodness, how many times have we seen this. A new website goes live, looks brilliant but the marketing team have forgotten to add in the Google Analytics tracking code or even added the wrong code! As a results time goes by, missing all of that lovely traffic data along the way.
Another note to make is all of your Analytics Goal URL’s that you may have set up, your new website could potentially see a change to your website page names. Be sure to check all of this before you start your website project, the developers will not know anything about this unless you tell them in advance.
Also if you are using other third party products like Hubspot or another CRM make sure you communicate this with development team. The earlier they know about this the smoother the ride will be, you want your website launch to be the crowing glory not a rush around because you forgot to install your analytics, or amends all of your Google Ads Urls . . .
your website agency should ask you for this information, but sometimes things get missed. Make sure you are one step ahead with all of your login details so that you can have a smoother ride without any nasty surprises. Sometime you inherit a project so it could take a little time to hunt around for these details.