Sometimes your relationship with your developers can go wrong. What happens if they won’t do anything or won’t enable you to update your site?
Here are some terms its helpful to understand when sorting out the mess. Then some pointers on moving your email and moving your website.
DNS is the system that tells the internet where to look when someone types in your domain name.
Say your companies website is at www.example.com. When you type www.example.com into your web browser, your computer does a search and finds the IP address for that domain name. Its like sign posting system. This makes it quite crucial, if you can get control of your DNS you can point visitors to your site and emails to your firstname.lastname@example.org to a new provider.
DNS records are a complicated subject but there are two main types
- MX records – where your email is
- A name records – where your website is
The address of your server as seen by your computer so like 126.96.36.199 or 2001:500:88:200::10: pointed to by your DNS.
Content management system – the system that allows you to edit your site examples include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, Umbraco, Django, Mura, etc, etc.
Moving your email
The things you will need to know to move your email to new provider are really just the list of email addresses. If you have the existing details (password, username, incoming server) that is ideal as you can use them to pull over any email from the old server.
Moving your website
This is a bit more variable, if you have a static site. It is just a bunch of files all of which are publicly available. So you can grab them or your friendly developer or hosts can.
If you have a dynamic site that has a database and some server side languages it is more difficult. For these the source code isn’t the same as what you can see so you have more difficulties. These sort of sites usually have pages that end with extensions other than .html or .htm for example (.php,.aspx,.cfm) or sometimes with no extension at all like example.com/my-monkey-submarine.
You can make a static copy of a dynamic site as you would for a static site but you do lose any CMS and the information that was in your database that wasn’t publicly viewable.
The vast majority of the time its not like this your existing developer will give you the raw files and database (that is the ideal case). Its your information, you paid for it and you should own it.