No problem. If you have a website you like you can keep it and just use the member login area and admin tools parts of Making Music Platform. If you decide in a year or two that you want a new website you can ‘switch on’ the website part of your Making Music Platform site very easily.
If you have an existing website but would like a new one you can use Making Music Platform and still keep your old website address.
That’s fine. You can still use Making Music Platform – but just the member area and the group management part. You and your members would access the system online with an address such as 'groupname.makingmusicplatform.com', but there would be no public-facing website.
If you decide further down the line that you do want a website you can ‘switch on’ the website part of your Making Music Platform site very easily.
If you want to use the members area only instead of the full website that is fine. This will be set up using the temporary address http://yourgroup.makingmusicplatform.com
As this domain is temporary you will need to choose a different domain name for the members area, something like http://members.mygroup.com. We have outlined the two options below, including what you need to consider regarding emailing. Please note that either way your Platform will be separate from your current website and therefore, you would need to add a link from your current website to your new Platform so that members can easily access the members area.
1. Set up a sub-domain as part of your current website
If your domain name for your main website is (for example) mygroup.com, you may want to use a sub-domain (e.g. members.mygroup.com) for your Making Music Platform. To do this you would need to create that sub-domain in your own website's DNS system (this is normally easy to do via your online account with your domain name provider). Once done, let us know what the new domain name of the Platform will be, and we can change the information in our system.
2. Register a new domain name
You may decide that adding a sub-domain is not suitable for your group and want to set up a completely different domain name for the members area. To do this you would need to know the domain name which you would want to use. If you have asked Making Music to manage your domain name then we can register and manage the renewal process for you, just let us know what name you would want to use. If we do not manage your domain name, then you would need to register the domain yourself using services like GoDaddy or 123Reg. Once you own the domain name let us know what it is, and we will change the information in our system.
You will also need to decide whether to retain your existing email provider, or switch to the Making Music Platform for your emails. The Platform provides a full suite of emails - mailboxes, forwarders and mailing lists. These can exist on your regular domain name (e.g. mygroup.com), or a sub-domain (e.g. members.mygroup.com). If you choose to retain your existing email provider for all email addresses, then you will miss out on the excellent integration between the Platform's member database and email system.
To get the full email functionality of the platform we would recommend that the Platform is used as your designated email provider instead of your current provider. If you want this, then you would need to make a small change to just the DNS configuration of your current domain name. Contact us when you are ready for this to happen (if we manage your domain name we will do this for you and if we don’t manage your domain name we will provide the technical information required to do this yourself). Once this change has been made your Making Music Platform will become your email provider, and your previous email provider will no longer be involved.
If you want to retain your existing email provider and use Making Music Platform for emails, then you would need to set up a sub domain as outlined above. This will allow you to use the email addresses set up in your current domain e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org as well as having a separate set of emails addresses set up in your Platform e.g. email@example.com. These will both operate separately from one another.
Yes - we will create your Making Music Platform for you and help get you started by adding your logo, some photos (taken from your existing site) and importing data if required.
Then it’s over to you - it is your site so the onus is on you to add content and set up the admin tools to work how you want. We will email you details of how to log in and what to do next, and will be here to help you with support and advice to get you up and running.
- What support do you provide?
- What expertise do we need to set-it up?
Providing members with advice and good service is central to everything we do at Making Music – and the same goes for Making Music Platform.
The membership team will act as first line support and will be able to handle most queries, by email or phone, on any aspect of the system. Please note that all email queries will be responded to within 5 working days. There may be some questions we can’t help with as the team are not IT specialists and in those instances we will refer queries on to the software owner HarmonySite for help.
As your MM Platform is managed by you, our approach, where appropriate, will be to explain things to you rather than doing things for you. This will give you better understanding of the system so you can manage it without help from us and as efficiently and effectively as possible.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask as many questions as you want, whenever you need to, nor does it mean that we won’t get more involved where necessary.
- Who owns Making Music Platform?
- Will Making Music have access to my data?
No - support is free, including when we have to refer queries to software owner HarmonySite.
However, we do reserve the right to charge for some support queries that require a lot of staff time and/or are of a particularly complicated nature. We will always try to avoid this and provide support for free. If we do think we need to charge we will always discuss it with you and explore the options before any work is done. Any fee we charge will be to cover costs and not to make profit.
- What support do you provide?
This will vary from group to group, depending on how many of the features you are using and how many people you have working on it.
As a rough rule of thumb, we think a few people each working for a few hours per week could have a full Making Music Platform up and running in a couple of months.
MM Platform is built to be used by people who are not IT experts. You don’t need to know html or php – and if you don’t know what those things are, that doesn’t matter either!
You do however need to be computer literate. If you can use Microsoft word and Excel and use the internet to manage your day to day activities (shopping, banking, travel etc) then you should be fine.
That said MM Platform is a powerful tool so some parts are a bit complicated. For these areas patience and methodical thinking are the key skill rather than technical know-how.
Throughout your set-up Making Music team will be available to support you, and there are lots of detailed ‘how to’ guides to help as well.
Yes. Whilst the security of online data can never be 100% guaranteed your MM Platform comes with security features to help protect the data:
- All access to the site is password protected - so you control who has access to the data
- All Making Music Platforms will be housed on a dedicated physical server based in the UK and managed by a professional server company called UK hosting. They have relevant best practice safeguards and security policies in place to protect your data.
- What is SSL and do I need one?
- Is the data backed up?
All data is stored in the UK:
- Making Music Platforms and the data held in them are housed on physical servers located in the UK.
- If you are using the nightly back-up optional extra the backed-up data is housed on a PC server located in the Making Music offices (UK).
- If you are using the Additional storage optional extra some data will be stored in an Amazon cloud facility within the UK.
Where support queries are referred to HarmonySite (‘What support do you provide?’) it will mean some data is transferred to Australia (where HarmonySite is based). We have an agreement in place to sure this is done in line with UK law.
Find out more in the Making Music Platform data agreement
As standard your Making Music Platform is backed up once every 24 hours, and once every month. Whenever a new back-up is taken the old one is deleted – so there are always two backups available - one from last night and one from the first day of the current month.
The back-up is stored on the same server as your ‘live’ Making Music Platform. So, if that server is damaged then, in theory, your live site and back up may be lost. In practice this is very unlikely – we use a professional server company who have lots of safeguards in place.
If a back-up needs to be retrieved due to a technical malfunction it is free. If you require a back-up retrieval due to you accidentally deleting something there may be a charge if it is a complicated query.
We also offer an additional Extra Nightly Backup option, for a small annual fee. Your website is backed up every night and all historical copies of your data are kept. So, you have a version of your site from every day it has existed. These back-ups are stored on a different server to your ‘live’ site so if something happened to the live site server the back-up would still exist. Data restorations are also free if you are paying for this service.
Yes we will. For us to effectively provide the service and support we will need to sometimes access the data in your Making Music Platform. Summary anonymized data (eg number of members in each group) may be gathered by us to help improve the service and our understanding of the leisure-time sector. We will only access specific, personal data when asked to do so by you (e.g. responding to a support request) and will not use this data for any purpose other than to provide support. You can read more in our Making Music Data agreement.
Your domain name is your website address (for example, our domain name is makingmusic.org.uk) which you purchase, register and renew each year. This is something that we can do for you.
If you already have a domain name, then you will most likely be paying a company to manage and renew it. You can carry on with this - or transfer it to us and we will manage the renewal for you, tying it in with your Making Music Platform renewal.
If you don’t have an existing website you probably don’t have a domain, but you might want to think about registering one – especially if you plan for Making Music Platform to be your public-facing
website. You can contact a company directly to do this for you – or we can look after the purchase and renewal for you, tying it in with your Making Music Platform renewal.
SSL certificates are a way of making your website more secure. If you have one it will show a padlock and ‘s’ after the ‘http’.
They help protect your site from hackers ‘eavesdropping’. For example, if someone is accessing your site on a Wi-Fi network that has been compromised by hackers the hackers might be able to view the user’s activity on the site. There are two main areas of concern here:
- Viewing card details being entered for payments
- viewing passwords – which would give full access your Making Music Platform and the personal data held in it.
So, do you need one?
You are not required by law to have an SSL certificate, but to ensure you are compliant with the Data Protection Act 2018 it is strongly advised. They improve the security of your site and the data held in it – and give confidence to users.
As such we strongly recommend you do use this add-on service.
There are lots of different providers – most charge an annual fee. The solution we offer is a one-off fee of £15 – a worthwhile investment for added security and user confidence.
Making Music Platform is based on a website and related software called HarmonySite, which is owned by an Australian company called Virtual Creations P/L. Virtual Creations have created Making Music Platform for Making Music and license it to Making Music for use by our members.
Once you have your own Making Music Platform set up it is yours - you own any content or data you add to it. HarmonySite owns the software that Making Music Platforms are built on.
As standard your MM Platform comes with 1000mb of storage. This space is filled by anything stored on your Platform for example videos, photos and documents as well as emails (if you have set up your email addresses so that they are held in a Mailbox).
If you have created any email addresses within the Platform (so that they are held in a Mailbox) then as standard each email address is given 100mb of space on the server. These can be increased to 1000mb of space per email address free of charge but do note that as advised above, each Platform is allocated a total amount of space of 1000mb and therefore you may want to add on Additional storage if you do want to increase the size of each email mailbox. More information about Additional storage can be found in our What is the Additional Storage space extra? help guide.
You can check how much storage you have left on your Platform by going to the Admin dashboard and then selecting the Hosting Account Status page.