I see this all the time, young WordPress professionals who are trying to learn the ropes ask what can they do to build their business. Almost every response I read to this question contains the words free or pro bono. “Build a portfolio by doing free sites.” That is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
When working with new businesses we as web developers and designers often have to register new domains for our clients. It’s kind of a key stage in the whole process. Typically, when creating domains, it’s either just a habit or oversight that the domain owner is set to the developer or designer. In fact, the registrar I use, gandi.net, you can’t actually change the domain owner until you’ve already paid and processed the domain. It’s an entirely separate process.
The problem with this though, is that you are now the “owner” of that domain. It’s yours just as your computer is yours, you have ownership. Do you see the issue here? If you registered the domain for your client, it should be their domain. It is their business after all. The right thing to do is put the domain in their name or their companies name for safe keeping.
Let’s look at a scenario that I ran into this week. Say that you just picked up a new client that wants a new website designed and maybe they want to move to hosted email with Google Apps or Office 365. Their current site was designed and implemented back in 2002 and the company that did it, has went out of business. After reviewing the WHOIS information, you see that the owner of the domain is actually a guy from their previous developer. After multiple attempts at contacting him, you finally get a hold of him in which he informs you that the domain is his but is willing to sell it for a price…
This could have all been avoided if we make it a standard to register the domains under our clients names.
One of my IT clients is a non-profit Christian ministry that has been around for some time. We took over their IT duties from a single guy, who actually seemed to know what he was doing (which is rare) due to some health issues. By the way, I’ve always said that the best ways for us to get new clients is if their current provider moves, royally screws up or dies.
In any case , when we took over one of the first priorities was to replace their aging, woefully specced Dell PowerEdge server running SBS 2003. When I say woefully specced, I mean it had 1GB of RAM. So, we started evaluating the functionality that this server provided and quickly determined that the only thing this behemoth did was to serve files and provide DNS and DHCP services. They no longer used Exchange, there was no Intranet site or any of the other features of an SBS server. Their line of business application was purely file based and resided on one file share.
We proposed the solution of replacing this foot stool with a small Synology NAS device which could serve all their needs and take much less power. Also, because this is an established organization with little to low expectation for staff expansion, we ended up going with a Synology DS212 with two 2TB hard drives. The NAS device also handles their DHCP and DNS services as well as gives them PLENTY of room for growth. After implementing this about six months ago, we’ve had no problems other than a few power outages but other than a UPS what can you do? Does a generator make sense for a single NAS? Probably not.
So the next time you’re looking at replacing a small SBS server, think about using a NAS device instead. So far, it has worked out well for us.