In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Peter Otte Productions is featured as one of the Top Digital Marketing Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile!
Let’s say that you want to embark on a redesign of your website.
You’ve selected a web designer and paid the deposit, only to find out that the developer can’t log in to your web server, whatever that means.
Your project comes to a screeching halt and you wonder who changed the username and password without telling you.
As frustrating as it can be, there are some steps you can take to get the project back on track.
This guide will show you a free methodical approach to retrieving your proper login credentials.
5 Tips for Managing Your Company’s Login Credentials
1. Include Name, URL, Username, and Password
As you begin recovering and updating your lost credentials, I recommend writing down each confirmed username and password combination in a password file using this order:
- Web Site Name (e.g. Office.com):
- Web Site URL (e.g. login.microsoftonline.com/):
- Username or Customer ID: joesmith
- Password: FreddieRocks!
This should mostly cover it, but sometimes it makes sense to include a fifth item “Notes” in case there is some important descriptive information.
2. Store Your Credentials in the Cloud
One summer while on vacation in the South of France, whilst I was haggling over rates at the rental car counter, some wily thief made off with my attaché case containing my MacBook Pro, my iPad, and some other sensitive documents.
I’ve always been pretty good at keeping backups. Unfortunately, my backup drive was also among the missing items. It had never occurred to me that someone might steal it.
As my world came crashing down around me, it became increasingly clear that I needed to move all my apps, files, and logins to the cloud. In a word, it’s safer up there.
There are many good cloud options. I have a favorite now that I’ll get to momentarily, but at the time I kept my credentials in Evernote. It’s still a good option, but there are better ones.
3. Use the Web Developer Extension to Display Passwords
Supposing you haven’t really lost your password, you just can’t see it. That’s because it’s hidden behind a row of dots in the password field of the site your developer wants to access.
Well, instead of guessing at the password based on the number of dots, you can actually unhide.
Some sites have a Show button, but let’s assume there isn’t a show password button. What then?
Setup is easy. Just follow the onscreen prompts and enable the extension. Click on the Gear Icon in the tab bar and three columns of options will appear in the dropdown menu (Figure 1). Look for Display Passwords; it’s in the second column, 3 rows down. Select it, and your password transforms from a row of dots into letters and numbers.
If the credentials work, write them down in the password file. If not, then use the forgotten password link. It varies a little, but it’s usually located below the Remember Me checkbox. You’ll need to have access to the email address that was used when the account was set up. The duration varies; sometimes you’ll get the response email in a few minutes, and if it’s a busy site it can take up to an hour. I know Twitter tends to take a long time.
If this doesn’t work, then you need to recover the account by contacting support directly.
4. Contacting Support
Don’t feel ashamed to contact support. Look, sometimes even Bill Gates forgets his password.
How do I know this? I don’t actually, but it’s statistically probable because he’s human like you and I.
Web hosts will only help the registered owner with account recovery for security reasons. Both Network Solutions and Godaddy follow similar procedures. Recover your username by entering the domain in your account on the retrieve username page. Enter the email address for the account and complete the security challenge.
Once you have recovered your username, you can reset your password. Once you recover the site’s credentials, save it to your password file and then forward to your developer.
5. Get Dashlane Premium
Now you might be wondering, isn’t there a better way to keep my passwords up to date for safekeeping in the cloud and sharing with trusted partners?
There is no quick or magical way to load all your passwords at once. Instead, you should install their free browser extension. Make your web server login the first one you add, then start adding credentials for your other frequently trafficked sites. You can also store online banking, credit card, and activate dark web monitoring.
Depending on how many sites you access, you will probably add the bulk in five days and then you’ll integrate this method into your daily workflow, adding one at a time. Over time, you will amass a considerable treasure trove of protected credentials that will update when needed, but best of all you only have to remember the master password and entering the master password unlocks and prefills your site-specific passwords.
Dashlane Premium is the best way I’ve found to save, update, and share your sensitive login credentials with someone such as your web developer or emergency contact. This is the Fort Knox solution for storing your credentials. You only have to remember one master password to access all your other passwords. The app can also evaluate the strength of your passwords and recommend changes. And it’s super easy to share credentials with outside contractors whom you trust.