Most days, your blog hums along nicely and never gives you much trouble.
You write posts, update things, add photos and it’s all rainbows, butterflies and happy sunshine.
Then something crazy happens, like you get hacked or maybe your hosting company gets struck by lightening or Google gets swallowed by a sink-hole.
So what does any self-respecting blogger do after they stop screaming and hitting refresh? They reach out for help from the people they know that do “tech stuff.”
In order to start solving these sort of apocalyptic blogging problems, your tech friend (or blog designer) is going to ask you some questions about your blog, log-ins, sign-ins and stuff like that.
Chances are some of the questions are going to sound like a different language and you won’t be able to answer them off the top of your head. That’s going to greatly impact your ability to get un-hacked and is a total drag for your growing readership.
This week your blogging task it is to hunt down all your blogging details – all your passwords, logins, domains, hosting info, etc. so that when bad things happen they end up – not being so bad.
I know this is a completely unsexy task and you’re going to file it under “do it later” and then totally not do it.
After spending hours upon hours hunting down this information for people who are hyperventilating, I can tell you that they all wish they had taken the time to know this stuff ahead of time (and not had to pay someone else to take care of it!)
To make this slightly more fun, I did create this handy dandy printable pdf to gather all your blogging info together so you’re ready for any blogging emergency (plus I’ve always wanted to use the words “apocalypse” and “free printable” in the same blog title.)
Print it off or fill it out on your computer (it’s an interactive PDF), whatever makes you happy. If you run across any terms that you don’t know, just scroll down below the PDF for instructions on where to find the info. Some of the info is also helpful if you’re thinking of transferring to self hosting.
Blog Information Checklist Glossary
I won’t bore you to death with an explanation of the word password or username for each section since I’m guessing everyone who has a blog is familiar with those terms in a variety of contexts. For the other, more confusing words we’ll cover those in a lot more detail. Warning: this section gets a bit technical but please don’t give up, it’s important and you only have to do this once.
Blog Login URL: What URL do you use to access your admin area? For self-hosted WordPress, the default is http://yourblog.com/wp-login.php but it can be other things depending on the installation folder and plugins you use.
Domain Company: Who is your domain registered with? Often called the registrant, this piece of knowledge is actually a bit harder to fill in than meets the eye. If you bought your domain through a domain company like GoDaddy, then that’s your company and you’d write in your login details for them in the spaces provided.
If you’ve purchased your domain through free WordPress.com or Blogger, you’ve got a bit more detective work to do.
For WordPress.com, you can access your domain once you’ve logged in and by clicking “Store” and then the “Domains” submenu. You’ll then be able to see your old domain (yourblog.wordpress.com) and your purchased domain, as well as toggle between the two to select which address your blog will use. It’s in this section that your domain is actually accessed in the event you want to transfer your blog to self-hosting. It’s also where you set the password for the domain that you would enter on this sheet. You can see full instructions on WordPress.com.
When you register your domain through WordPress.com it remains registered there, even if you transfer to self hosting at a later date. You should continue to pay for your domain annually through WordPress.com but will be paying for hosting elsewhere. Slightly confusing but make sure that credit card is up to date!
In the case of Blogger, domain registrations are a bit more complicated. When you register your domain through Blogger’s dashboard, you are purchasing a domain through Google Apps, not Blogger and Google Apps actually purchases them from other registrants like GoDaddy. See – it’s getting complicated!
You can access your Google purchased domain at http://admin.google.com BUT you can’t use your Blogger/Gmail credentials to login there. You have to use a different email (usually [email protected]) and a new password. If you have no idea what that password is then reset it and set up something you do know. (This is a bit confusing so you can watch of video of how it’s done if you like.)
Once you’ve changed your password, all the info, to log into your Google Admin, would go on the form. If you want to transfer to self hosting, you’ll need this information too!
Hosting Company: Only applicable if you’re self hosted, but your hosting company is the folks that you rent space from each month to hold your blog’s website files. These are companies like BlueHost, Hostgator and Dreamhost. To access your hosting account you can go through their website or you can often login by typing in http://yourblog.com/cpanel (if your hosting company uses the cPanel interface.)
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Is a fancy way of saying a way to transfer files from one server to another. This is a tad bit technical but it is also the most critical piece of info to have if you have ever seen the white screen of death so don’t quit yet. You don’t have to do anything with FTP yourself but you’ll want the info to pass along in case of emergency.
FTP Hostname: This is usually just your domain name.
FTP Username & Password: This information is used to access all the files for your website through an FTP client, like Filezilla. By using the hostname and proper sign in credentials you can login to your blog’s server and pull out files and crashed plugins that are causing site issues. This all works, even if your site is completely inaccessible through a browser. Pretty cool!
To set up an FTP user, log in to your web hosting account. From there, you’ll need to hunt down the FTP section. If you can’t locate it, use the search function. It’s often helpful to search “add ftp user” to find full instructions. Each web host uses a different menu and set up so if all else fails, get in touch with your hosting support and ask them how to set up a new FTP user for your hosting account.
I cannot stress it enough, you want this info handy in case of emergencies. The last thing you want to do when you site explodes is wait on hosting support to find out how to reset your FTP password.
Having this info at your finger tips can make the difference between being down a few minutes or being down for days!