One of the things that our clients get a bit of education about when they want to move their site from another developer to us, and it requires a change of hosting, is about DNS – the Domain Name System. I’m not going to go over the specifics of what is included within DNS, but there’s a good basic description here about all the items that can be involved within any given domain’s DNS setup.
Most people that have a web site know very little about DNS, because it doesn’t come up much. Customizing a domain’s setup usually occurs when the web site is first hosted, when a separate mailserver is established for organization email through the domain, and of course, when the site moves to a new server. Sometimes the actual domain name servers will move when a site changes server, sometimes not – it depends on where the domain name servers are at the time. The scope of what is required with DNS changes when a web site moves from one developer to another, or from a developer to the client’s complete control, depends on what already exists and what additionally may be required.
All this is to say that it requires coordination and flow of information about the old setup to the new setup. Sometimes that will require contact between the current web developer and the new web developer. If the old web developer is unavailable for any reason, this can create problems. The web development industry is 20 years old now, and sole proprietors do retire. We get new clients occasionally in that exact situation. Sometimes getting the information we need is easy, sometimes hard. At the very least, each organization at some point should be able to get to their domain registration, since that is where the original domain name servers will be specified and they may also provide DNS management.
So, the bottom line for any organization looking to change to a new web developer is that they should have available to them and the ability to provide to the new web developer the following pieces of information:
The domain registrar, account user name and password for the domain(s) involved.
The URL, account user name and password for the DNS management server for the domain(s) involved.
Now, it’s possible that both your domain account and your DNS management server are bundled within your current web developer’s accounts if they were paying directly for this items. If so, the current web developer may not want to share access with the new web developer account access, which is reasonable since they should protect their other clients as well. However, you should request that your domain registration account be separated out (along with accepting the responsibility of paying and renewing the registration fees in the future), since you’re going to need that going forward. The DNS management server may be coordinated between the two web developers without separating out, depending on the situation.