How To Choose the Right Hosting Company

Part 3 – Allowing outside access: Who should have access to your files?

The question at hand is, with whom should you share access to your website files? Obviously you won’t hand over your access information to just anyone, for the same reason you don’t hand your car keys to just anyone. However, you do need to give your keys to a mechanic to work on your car. The same rule applies to your website. Depending on the job they are doing for you, third parties may need access to your web pages and the machine on which they are served. Access to Log files or FTP
access are common requests. Log file access is always “Read Only.” Anyone who needs to review your traffic patterns, usage, trends, etc. -needs- Log access. If you wish to know anything about your site statistics, or usage patterns, they will need log file access to collect this data. So will anyone who compiles this information for you. If they
don’t ask for log file access, they’re not doing the best job. No matter what you pay them, you’re not getting fair value for your money.

Anyone who is actually going to perform any work on your site, which includes correcting code, updating files, placing graphics, etc. will require both “read and write” access, for the ability to put things on and take things off your pages. Without providing both read and write access you are putting yourself in the position of doing a large portion
of the work yourself. Which is OK if you are up for spending hours in front of your computer. Some folks enjoy working on their sites themselves. Others of course, would rather contract out the work to a third party.

In essence, you need to share access to your files with anyone who is providing a direct service to your site. If you want the work done properly, you need to give people the proper access. This is not to say you should allow access to just anyone. On the contrary, the people you are dealing with should clearly state why they need access, and the reason has to make sense – to you. Ask for documentation, which explains what they do, and why they need it. There is a trust factor involved here and you must be very comfortable with who has access to your website directory, before handing over the keys.