Wait you’re not my IT team? All joking aside the web is a complex place, and it is hard for marketing directors, business owners, boards of directors, and the like to have a full understanding of its complexity. So, it is no surprise that we spend a good majority of our time working with partners educating on the different moving pieces. The most common thing is that most people make assumptions when looking at the digital IT portion of their business, and end up sometimes hiring for the wrong needs. So let’s explore….
The Cloud Does Not Live in the Sky
First and foremost it’s crucial to understand the cloud is the connecting of actual physical servers not a mysterious entity living in the sky. Simply put the servers, storage, databases, networking, software, etc. are delivered over the internet (aka the cloud). So the your servers and hardware have to be maintained by someone, somewhere.
So What Does That Mean For You? If you are storing a website somewhere in the cloud, it lives somewhere, and needs to be maintained through someone. It is important to understand especially if your site is housing lots of secure data or you are investing into your website. You need to know who is hosting your server. It could be GoDaddy, it could be a third party, or even internally. But know who is hosting your website.
What’s in A Domain Name?
So your domain name is not your website…. Huh? I know, it might sound confusing. If your website is your house, your domain name is your street address. This domain name can be housed under the same provider as your hosting, or could not be. Finding where your domain name lives and who has keys or owns it is critical. *Pro tip – Don’t build a 300,000 house on a piece of property you don’t own.
Servers, Domain Names, and Software Oh My!
OK we’ve figured out who has your server and domain name, but who is maintaining your Content Management System (CMS)? Who is managing your actual website? As you can see all of these different things can be managed by different people, partners and vendors. The important thing is to know who is managing each piece. So here’s another layer of the complexity, if your agency or internal team is managing the front end site, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are managing your software update or malware monitoring. Make sure you understand the roles, you’ll need both front end website support and software support.
Wait, My Email Is Different Than My Server & Domain Name?!?
Yes it can be. And most companies will recommend to split up the hosting of these things for security reasons. The challenge is all of these things are connected, but can be managed by different providers. Email hosting is one of the more complex pieces with firewalls and other security measures that need to be put in place.
So far, here’s the people you need to manage these things:
- Server Administrator
- Domain Name Provider
- CMS Software Support
- CMS Front End Manager
- Email Hosting Provider
As you can see we haven’t even gotten to the agency marketing piece yet. These are the things you need to just get started. When you are contracting a web design or development partner you’ll need to define each of these five roles. Once you get into marketing…. That is an entire different set of roles.