If you’ve lost control of your website, you’re not alone. Frequently people come to us at T&S whose webmaster has disappeared, volunteer has run out of time, or whose website is being held hostage by another web company.
While sometimes it is really gone, generally that’s not the case. Here are some ways you may be able to regain control.
1. Call or visit the person who set your website up for you.
The easiest solution is to simply talk to the person who helped you set your website up and ask them to help. Even if they don’t immediately know how help, most of the time they could help you figure it out if they really tried.
So put aside any differences, call them up, and see if they are willing to help you out.
2. Call your hosting company.
If getting the previously mentioned person to help you is out of the question, call up your hosting company. Your hosting company is basically the company that’s leasing you hard drive space for your website to be online. Just like it’s pointless to own a house without having land for it to be on, it’s pointless to have a website without a hosting server for it to be on.
It is possible your hosting server is the guy that helped you set up your website, or that he’s paying the hosting provider himself and acting as a middle-man. If so, you may have to try the next option.
But it’s just as likely that you’re paying the web host yourself. If so, you should be able to call them even if you don’t have a username and password.
Check your credit card bill for anything with the name “host” or “web” in it and give them a call. Often they will take the last four digits of your credit card as verification that you own the website, and will then help you regain control of your hosting.
3. Call your domain name registrar.
The next level up if your host can’t or won’t help you is to ask your domain name registrar. Again, while it’s possible you bought your domain through the same person (or company) that you’re using to host your domain, it’s also possible you didn’t.
To find out who your domain name registrar is, just look your domain (whatever.com) up on the website www.whois.net. Once it pulls up all the contact information, look for either “Registrar,” or “Registered through.” You can then use Google to find that company’s website and pull up their support phone number.
There are many, many registrars, but knowing five of the most popular may help you identify them:
- Network Solutions
- 1&1 (if you have this one, they’re likely your hosting company as well)
Like the hosting companies, your registrar will probably have a method they can use to verify your identity. Then they will likely help you regain control at the domain level. You will still need to get a new website host at that point, but you won’t lose your domain name.
4. Call your lawyer and pay him to help.
Worst case, if your domain contains any words that are legally protected (i.e. trademarked), you can bring in your lawyer to help.
Of course, if you don’t want to mess with any of this, it’s much easier just to buy a new domain. But usually with some effort and a time commitment, you can regain control of your website.