How Do I Get My Website Back?


How Do I Get My Website Back?

Sadly, while working in the web design & hosting industry, we have heard our fair share of horror stories from clients about previous encounters with designers or hosting companies not delivering on promises and even “locking” clients out of their websites. While we won’t give you legal advise, we can tell you how to get the keys BACK in your pocket and, with some foresight and due diligence, how to keep the keys to your castle.

Regaining access to a hostage or hijacked site can be difficult, if not impossible, at times. The following are some steps to help facilitate getting your site back under your control.

  1. Try and have a civilized meeting with your host or designer.
  2. Contact the domain registrar and explain the situation.
  3. Contact the hosting company and explain the situation.
  4. Get a lawyer involved.
  5. Get another designer or hosting company involved.

Try and have a civilized meeting with your hosting company or designer

We are big believers of dealing with problems at the lowest level possible. If all of the issues can be smoothed over by sitting down over coffee, by all means. Sometimes the issue exists due to the client asking for more than what was agreed upon. Sometimes the designer got in over their head. And sometimes hosting companies are the target of massive web attacks. There are always fringe issues that arise and good communication can resolve the majority of them. Always make things as clear as possible and get it all in writing.

Contact the domain registrar and explain the situation

Contacting the domain registrar can work to gain access back to your site. If you are the account holder and pay the bill, this is the easiest way to regain control. You can change your password to prevent further access or have the registrar change it for you if you have been locked out by your designer.

If your designer holds the access to your domain things get a bit more difficult. Below is an example of how GoDaddy handles this situation.


Here is what they say: You can file a Request for Change of Account. You will have to be able to prove that you should be the rightful owner of the domain name. They recommended that you include ALL the supporting documentation you can think of. This would include:

  • Proof of business/trade name registration in your state, city, etc. All of it.
  • Receipts proving that you paid for the web design and paid for the domain name.
  • Any contracts supporting that the domain name is for you.
  • Any correspondence that might show that the designer was registering the domain on your behalf

GoDaddy will review your form. They estimate that it takes about 5-10 business days for them to approve or deny the request. That’s not really all that long, but it will go faster if you submit all your supporting documentation with the request.

If you’re not with GoDaddy, just call that registrar and talk to their nice support people.

Contact the hosting company and explain the situation

Keeping your website is easier than recovering it. Here are some steps to help you maintain control over your website.

  1. Your Domain Name and Registrar IS the master key.
  2. You can get your hosting just about anywhere.
  3. DON’T give your credentials away.
  4. Backup your site regularly.
  5. Verify your backups.

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