Is Your Website Being Held Hostage?

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  1. Snow Shimazu says:

    I didn’t know that my web developer made her as an owner of my website in the square space. What can I do?

    • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

      I am so sorry we did not see this. Unfortunately, we are not familiar with Squarespace because we do not recommend it for our clients – but I would reach out to sqaurespace directly if you have not already done so to see if you have any options.

  2. Erin Lehmann says:

    This is interesting. I’m just realizing a lot of what our dev does is something I could do in-house if I had the resources (cpanel), which he hadn’t looped me in on, and I didn’t know about. Like, you don’t know what you don’t know! It’s also about taking initiative if your time allows to self-teach until you’re comfortable absorbing more of the ownership. Informed outsourcing is the ideal.

    • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

      Well sadly that is a lot of the reason many developers will not give clients access to the website core – because they want you to “need” them so they can continue to bill you. I wish everyone knew that you have the RIGHT to demand access to your website if you paid for it. If you need any help let us know and we will see if we can help you get control.

      • Erin Lehmann says:

        I completely agree. It definitely benefits their billing hours, and it actually was a bill (for design + dev) that had me gasping for air at the same time thinking “I know if I had X program I could have done that myself”. As a startup it’s easy to outsource to keep some of the sweat off your back but at the same time when you have employees who are willing to grind through some extra work to save a few bucks it’s worth it in the beginning!

      • Erin Lehmann says:

        PS: Thanks for the offer for help, I just emailed my dev and he was nice enough to get me on track with SFTP login info.

        • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

          Awesome! Good to know there are still a few other good apples out there!

      • Dawn K says:

        Hi Jill, I have lost control of my website to a developer who now will not respond to my requests for access to my site. He claimed to do everything but did nothing but give me an unusable site and will not respond to me or make any changes to it. I have repeatedly asked for access to it which he will not respond too. I dont know how to get it back. I am close to giving up and starting over from scratch. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

        • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

          Hi Dawn, I am so sorry to hear this. Do you actually own your domain or is that owned by the developer as well? What is your website? I am guessing you were never given access to the host account — but is the hosting in YOUR name or in the developers name? This will help me suggest a route for you to take.

  3. Annoula says:

    Someone I know has a webpage and hired a local web developer to tweak their site. The developer sent them a contact to sign, which stipulated that the tweaks would be done in a certain number of days. He asked for a 25% deposit, and while he (the developer) seemed a nice enough fellow, he didn’t get the work done in the time promised and had several excuses. Moreover, the work that he did was, well, disappointing. I am wondering if, since the developer didn’t hold up his end of the contract, my person can break the contract, and not pay the rest of the fee, since the job wasn’t completed.

  4. Desheen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I hired a freelancer from Upwork and my site is beautiful, but the theme “Pro Business” needs to be updated and I am getting a message that some Woocommerce files need to be updated. The developer is MIA, and unfortunately the license is under the developers name so I reached out to the theme developer to find out my options, but thus far have not gotten a response. I am wondering if I should just get another theme? Does anyone know a good developer that can set-up the theme if I just purchase it over?

    • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

      Hi @desheen:disqus I am sorry I did not see this message earlier. I am sorry about your troubles. Unfortunately, I have no recommendations for a developer specifically but if you want a more reliable developer you can try Codeable.io.

  5. Ishan Goyal says:

    Hi. My website is hosted on AWS. The developer is refusing to share the server details although I paid for the complete website development. I own the domain details. Your guidance will be much appreciated.

    • Jill Caren - 2Dogs Media says:

      Hi @ishangoyal:disqus – i cannot really give you specific guidance. But if you do not have control of the host there is not much you can do if he will not give you access. I would suggest legal action if you have a contract in place with your service provider.

    • Web Master says:

      Ishan, by copyright law, the website developer owns your website, not you, unless you have a contract. It also sounds like he’s hosting the website for you and no you do not have any legal right into his hosting service where he would also be hosting a whole bunch of other clients as well. Find yourself another host and rebuild your website.

  6. LDA says:

    I’d like to add one comment from the developer side of things: Sometimes clients don’t pay what’s been contracted despite full delivery of the contracted service. In this case withholding login info is an appropriate countermeasure until the dispute is (hopefully amicably) resolved. Of course, dirty tactics to milk more money or services from a client are wholly inappropriate.

    An earlier comment shows a not atypical outlook from a client, essentially that anyone with a website tool could do the work, that devalues the expertise a good dev doesn’t get credit for. It takes a lot to do a good site well, especially one that makes everything look easy.

    • Jill Caren says:

      We 100% understand this and have been there ourselves in the past where we had to take people to court for non-payment of services. There are definitely 2 sides to every story and I always hope clients and contractors can come to an agreement int he end. Great point to make though!

  7. Joanne says:

    Hi, very interesting article and thank you for posting. Last year I signed up 2 sites with a local hosting provider who used to be a friend. We both built the site together. I have access to my WordPress login and I also own the domain with login details. I do not have access to the cpanel and she has basically put the fee up to host to a silly amount. She is also telling me I need to pay a large amount to have a full backup of my website (since it is a large blog)through the cpanel which I don’t have access to. She has sent messages that my websites are under her control and to be careful what I say to him (unfortunately she suffers with her mental health). Its very personal and not professional. I feel like I’m being held hostage and would like to change hosts when my contract is up. I can then finally have full control of my sites and rid myself of this nightmare. Is it possible to do a full backup if I don’t have access to my cpanel? She keeps blinding me with techie words to confuse me and obviously discourage me leaving her hosting service. Any advice is really appreciated, thank you

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Joanne, I am so sorry you are going through this. You can easily add a backup plugin to your WordPress website to pull a full backup of all files and then use that file to restore it on a new host. Something like https://wordpress.org/plugins/duplicator/ should to the trick so you can move to a new host. Good Luck! Jill

  8. Anuja says:

    Hi Jill,
    I need to update X theme on my website made on WordPress. While trying to update, It is asking for Product Key, which I suppose should be with website developer. I am unable to contact my Website designer/developer as he has changed his email and Mobile both.

    If I buy new X Theme and try to update the current website using new Product key, will it work.

    I have Login and passwords for WordPress, DOmain Host and CPanel.
    Thanks

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Anuja,

      Absolutely. All you need is to purchase the theme – and add the new product key and you should be good to go!

  9. EM says:

    The day my former web developer found out I was switching companies, key components of my site stopped working. Now they say they have a back up but won’t hand it over. I think I need an attorney. What kind of attorney would I call?

    • Jill Caren says:

      HI – and I am sorry you are dealing with this. You would need to find an intellectual property attorney I believe. Jill

  10. v says:

    Hi!

    I own my domain name, but had a site developed in wordpress. My dev is holding the website hostage, and I can’t get into the wordpress site itself. Is there a way to get in, since I have ownership of the domain itself? Or is there anyone to call? Everything is under my name, I just don’t have the login to the site.

    Thank you,

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi V – is the hosting with you or with the developer? If it is with the developer there is not much you can do except take him to court if you have paid for the website as per your contract.

      • edf says:

        Hi, I have a similar problem. My site is built with WordPress and my developer does not want to give me the login to WordPress. Thankfully I own domain and hosting with Italian provider Aruba. Is there anything I can do? Thanks so much.

        • Jill Caren says:

          If you have access to your hosting account you can change the username and password in the database to gain access. You have to go into the USERS database tables. A Google search should help you find what to do to regain access….good luck!

  11. Craig says:

    Four months ago I hired someone to build me a website. It is still not completed, I found out after 2 months of it being up and going that she had accidentally turned off my pay pal act. I already payed her some money while she was working on it. I finally got tired of waiting for her to finish it as she was not returning emails and phone calls. I told her I am going to scratch the website and go with someone else and now she is demanding payment. If she never completed my website do I still owe her money? I feel like I hired her to build a professional website and It never was completed so I should not have to pay her, especially if I am now starting back over.

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Craig – sorry to hear you are going through this. If you have a contract in place then you need to determine what is stated in the contract. But it sounds like this may be a case where there is no contract and since nothing was delivered then no, you do not need to pay for something that was not delivered – but I am not a lawyer and you should double check. There are a LOT of variables that come into play with something like this. But if you decide to move forward with someone else – I highly recommend a contract on terms YOU are comfortable with to ensure you do not get ripped off!

  12. Antonio Cyr says:

    I have purchased the domain name myself and now the web developer has blocked my access and I am getting the message as “Forbidden, You don’t have permission to access / on this server.” What should I do to recover my website?

  13. Susan Dennison says:

    Hi, my web developer said he will not send me a contract until I pay half the money upfront. This sounds very wrong to me. Isn’t it a case that they send me a contract, I read it, and if I agree with the contract then I pay them half the money?

    • Jill Caren says:

      HI Susan, I would run. Yes, a contract is sent FIRST – why should you provide money without knowing what the contract includes? I would find a new developer to work with since it sounds like no money has changed hands yet.

  14. Dottie Fortner says:

    I already own my domain but my new website developer is sayiing they need the login information for it. I am leery about giving it to them. Is there any reason they would need it? I can understand why they might need my login info for the hosting. Thanks in advance.

    • Jill Caren says:

      It is hard to answer this without more information. If you are changing hosts then yes, they would need to access your domain to change the DNS to point to the new host. Jill

  15. Kay says:

    I have a problem, I work with a non profit. they had a developer build a site using amazon aws (hosting) the developer must have hosted in his name & he’s since gone mia. he built the site in ROR which I have no idea how to work with anyway & we can’t access the backend for anything meaningful but we do have access to the domains so we’re going to move it to a new host & rebuild the site using a new install of wordpress but we wanted to be able to get the files (because #1 they’re ours & #2 they’re protected by copywrite off amazon) but the original developer isn’t responding & amazon says because the account is in HIS name they won’t give us access. HOW can that be? the content is clearly ours, the site has a copywrite on it, we have the federal 501c3 paperwork. Do we have any rights?

    I know we can change the dns but I don’t like the idea that the information is still out there & we have no control over it. Thoughts?

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Kay – I am so sorry you are having this issue, we hate hearing these things especially for nonprofits. Unfortunately, if the data is on his hosting – there is really nothing you can do. You can copy and past the information from the existing site into a WordPress install if the site is still live. Just do not point the domain anywhere until you get all of the data copied over. The only other thing you can do is take him to court. Do you have a contract with him? These items should all be outlined in a contract – in ours we specifically state that all content is owned by our client so they are protected. Wish I could be more help. Jill

    • Web Master says:

      Here’s the info you need that also mentions hosting, Kay.
      https://docs.aws.amazon.com/Route53/latest/DeveloperGuide/domain-transfer-between-aws-accounts.html

      You can also copy your website via its source code, but it will be in html and won’t connect to any database. But you can just copy all images and text from the site as well just with a right click of the mouse. And if they have right click blocking, just use Google Chrome’s developer tools and go straight to the image url’s.

      You can also install the now defunct ExpressionWeb that’s free and import MOST ALL websites right onto your computer, including all images and text.

  16. Sue says:

    My dev claims he owns my source code and that I cannot go to another dev as I would have to buy it? Is that true?

    • Jill Caren says:

      HI Sue – this would depend on your agreement with the developer and if it is his custom code. If it is a WordPress driven site, then no – he does not “own the code”. But if he coded it from scratch then he may in fact own it – depending on whether or not there is a contract in place.

  17. Sohel Malek says:

    Hi Jill Caren,

    I have read the tutorial given above regarding website hostage in the customer/client point of view. But in my case, I am a webdeveloper, having website of reputed hotel in my area, they have registered domain from their name and designed website from third party 3 years ago before giving me chance to give domain renewal and web hosting services.
    I am doing renewal of domain and hosting services on behalf of him on my domain reseller panel and shared hosting server. The owner of hotel usually pays me (even without giving me advance) for the services after the renewal and i was renewing services with my money because of the good relation between owner and mine.
    But this time, after the renewal of domain and hosting, client failed to make payment even after 5 months of renewal. I reminded them by calls and emails, but owner refused to pay me in her anger, What should i do?
    I have Temporarily suspended hosting account.

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Sohel,

      So if I am understanding you correctly you have control of the domain and hosting – and the client has not paid for either of those in 5 months? There are a few variables going on here – as far as the hosting if they are not paying, i would take the site down, which sounds like you have. In regards to the domain renewal it would really depend who is the authorized registrant for the domain. If you are the owner of the domain, then you can renew it and hold it and sell it to them so they take control of it, or you can just let it drop. Of course all of this would be dependent on whether you have any type of contract in place.

      Jill

      • SOHEL MALEK says:

        Thank you for you valuable advice. As far as domain concerns, registrant details have been changed during “move domain services” to my domain panel. so whois data shows that my name is registered as registrant name,
        Although I haven’t signed any contract with them but i have stated “Terms of Service” in my website.
        (Clause number 6.2)
        Will these be helpful to me if client take any legal actions?
        Can i resell domain to other customer?

        • Jill Caren says:

          If the domain is in your name then you can do whatever you want with it, but personally I do think it would be bad practice to sell it to anyone other than the people that have entrusted you with it. But that is an ethical issue. I am not a lawyer — so do not take any of this as legal advice – but I am not sure Terms of Service will help you in a court case unless you have verfication of some sort they have read it. This is why you should never do anything without a signed contract.

  18. Norma says:

    I have a question we have a church website my husband is the pastor and his sister & brother-n-law have control over it they are no longer at our church but will not let us have it back our website but it belongs to our church how can we get control over it please help

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Norma,

      The domain belongs to the person who registered it legally, so unless you have a signed contract of some sort stating you own the domain and it was purchased on behalf of your church, there is not much you can do. I would recommend getting a new domain of your own and copying the website to a new host…..

      Jill (I am not a lawyer, please do not take my advice as legal advice, advice provided is from experience only.)

    • Web Master says:

      Norma, just get in touch with the website host and they’ll simply want proof via driver’s license and business license. Look up your website in the whois database (Godaddy’s is best – bottom of their website) to find out if the registrar is in the name of someone at your church or in the scoundrels.

      Think about this. If Ford motor company hired a website developer for Ford.Com and he put his name as administrative contact and put in securities, do you really think that Ford could never get back Ford.com if the website developer fell off of the face of the earth? With someone as large and as well known as Ford, they can probably get it back even if that person also put their name in as the registrar as well. You’d likely have a hard time doing that as a church.

      I believe, but cannot remember right now, that you can pay under ten dollars to do a domain transfer and if the inlaws don’t honor it or reject it within a certain period of time, the domain host will transfer it to you.

      If the registrar isn’t in someone’s name that can provide the photo ID’s, getting another domain stinks but just put in a dash and your two letter state, since it would be local traffic and rebuild your website there. And then buy a backorder on your original/lost domain because once the inlaws see that you don’t care if they have the original domain, they’ll not want to pay for it anymore and you’ll have first chance to get the domain via your backorder payment to that domain host. It really depends on how generic the URL is as to how long they’ll cybersquat on it. They’ll eventually not want to pay for it anymore.

      Then just go into your new website’s DNS area and change the A-record to point your domain to your new website and then start advertising your old domain once again. All traffic will be redirected to your new website. You’d be paying for two domains, so you might later on want to transfer your website back to your old domain when you get it back and get rid of the one with the “dash-State” in the URL. Building your new website with something like WordPress that can easily moved, is in your best interest as well.

      I highly suggest doing a backorder of that old domain unless those inlaws are rich in money and will pay for it forever just to keep it from you.

      A good attorney letter of lawsuit threat could also work.

  19. Kunal says:

    my website shows that the hosting is supended. The Developer has gone MIA. I have the Woocommerce Dashboard Admin Login and the Domain is also mine. What can be done to access my website.
    Please help, consider this VERY URGENT.

    • Jill Caren says:

      If the hosting is suspended – there is not much you can do since you would not be able to access the admin. I would hope you would have a backup of the website that you can move to a new host. Unfortunately we can not assist you any further.

    • Web Master says:

      Kunal, if it’s not too late, pick up the phone and call the website hosting company and pay for it via your credit card. They may just take your money not caring who you are. Play dumb. “I need to pay a bill” “Password? I have no idea.” “I just need you to update the credit card on file.” They may want $80 if it’s past the grace period.

      If you can get away with that, then install ExpressionWeb that defunct and now free to use. Then use its tool to do a website import onto your local computer using the http: type. (HINT: This is how website developers grab other people’s websites in order to do something similar or figure out some coding or even steal some coding, reverse engineer, etc.. ) It may not be perfect, especially if it’s connected to a database, but you’ll at least get all your pictures and text back. As well, the harder way is to see if Archive.org has any history of your website and start copying stuff from it.

      Your next problem would be getting access to that domain hosting account to change the registrar name if it’s not in your own. If it is in your own, call the host and send them, through their services when told to, your photo ID and business license, etc. that they require to prove the domain should belong to you or does belong to you and that you need access.

      Please see my post above about this as well.

      • Jill Caren says:

        Thanks for all your great help!!!

  20. Isabella Rose says:

    Hey,
    Thank you for sharing this interesting information with us. This can help many clients who have hired developers for their website development. They can easily keep an eye on their developers and track/monitor the development and maintenance processes.

  21. George says:

    i had a website built by a company called Trust Technologies it was a good websit working well and I ased him for login details he told me he do eveythingh his end and the contract was for 5 years on google to get customers from though as a while which was months later that my website had suspended, I did not know why also the company website was also suspened as well now I do know what to do about. i have emailed the developer heaps of times no reply yet so i really frustated for what he has done. hope to hear back from him I hoping to.

    • Jill Caren says:

      I am sorry to hear this George. If you own your domain, I would just rebuild on a new host and get away from the developer entirely. You should be able to get a copy of your website on the archive website Wayback machine to recreate it.

    • Web Master says:

      Kunal, if it’s not too late, pick up the phone and call the website hosting company and pay for it via your credit card. They may just take your money not caring who you are. Play dumb. “I need to pay a bill” “Password? I have no idea.” “I just need you to update the credit card on file.” They may want $80 if it’s past the grace period.

      If you can get away with that, then install ExpressionWeb that defunct and now free to use. Then use its tool to do a website import onto your local computer using the http: type. (HINT: This is how website developers grab other people’s websites in order to do something similar or figure out some coding or even steal some coding, reverse engineer, etc.. ) It may not be perfect, especially if it’s connected to a database, but you’ll at least get all your pictures and text back. As well, the harder way is to see if Archive.org has any history of your website and start copying stuff from it.

      Your next problem would be getting access to that domain hosting account to change the registrar name if it’s not in your own. If it is in your own, call the host and send them, through their services when told to, your photo ID and business license, etc. that they require to prove the domain should belong to you or does belong to you and that you need access.

      Please see my post above about this as well.

    • Goce Talevski says:

      I also had a website built and also in the same situation, the company
      trust Technoligies is not doing the right thing for my business which to get me more customers and work. I have been emailing the developer so many times and only replies when he wants to, this has upset so much and I wanted my login details though he wont give to me and when I ask to change few thing he wont do that either even it is for 5 years this is so wrong. I even had the website was down for a couple of weeks, when I tried to get customers and see mthe website this did not happen and I lost out on this contract because website was own of there the cyclone they had in India, this is wrong as well. Hope someone can let me know what can do.

  22. B says:

    Hello! Great information, thank you for sharing.
    My question is… I am developer and I was hired by a nonprofit to completely build their website from scratch and maintain it. I did and I have been for about two years. I don’t have any contract or paperwork with this company as I am being paid via a third party which supports that nonprofit and me (I also do website maintenance for the third party, which I do have a contract and paperwork).

    Now, the nonprofit is telling me they are going to take over the website management and would like to “transfer” the website to them. Is this legally okay for them to do? I feel like I own the site design as well as the code. And now they want someone completely new to modify my design and code. Morally, I am obliged to “transfer” the files over, but I am just curious… from a legal and financial standpoint, am I in any position to sell the website to them? Do I just hand over the website and that source of income for me?

    Any insight into this issue is much appreciated. I started coding out of high school and I really don’t have any professional company experience as I am just a freelancer who got lucky with this side gig.

    Thank you!

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi! I want to preface I am not giving legal advice and you should refer to an attorney for true legal advice. If you do not have a contract in place then you can do as you wish, but technically speaking if someone paid you to build a website – they should really “own” it and not have to remain with you. This is just good faith. For any project you should have a contract so I would recommend you do that before you do any additional work so you do not have these issues in the future. Our contract clearly states that the client owns all code and the website once they pay the final balance. There is no “legal” right or wrong here because there is no contract.

    • Web Master says:

      Website Developers own the website by copyright law unless you are an employee or you have a “work for hire” signed agreement with the client. If the client doesn’t have that work for hire agreement in court, the case should be thrown out.

      You do not have to file a copyright on the website but should prior to taking them to court if they use your work later on. If the client contributed to the work (pictures, text), you still have copyrights to that as well and as long as that website is providing value to them, you should be paid the continued use fee you established as your maintenance fee and can even adjust for inflation as the value you wish to be paid for them using what you created or you can sell your half and give them a clear title to it. Giving away your websites to another who then copyrights means you can never use that design again for another client.

      I usually don’t have signed agreements but put into my estimate for the design charge that they must replace the entire website if no longer paying maintenance. My maintenance line item states that it will continue indefinitely for as long as the work remains live to the public, and if they don’t pay the reduced maintenance costs, they will be subject to a higher (three times) the hourly fee. This locks in your design and maintenance both.

      Since I don’t bother with any signed contracts, I write in “This is just a gentleman’s agreement with a common sense approach that nobody likes to see their work being paid to another person. If you are not wanting a long term relationship with a low cost maintenance plan, please do not hire us, as we only work as an extension of your company as a team member to build your website far into the future and will have studied your visitors, investigated your competitors, and invested a lot of time behind the scenes in order for our profits to grow as yours grow. We do not want to work for any client who simply wants a website and doesn’t care about a partnership or growth, and our maintenance plan is pretty much our only profit as we put in a lot of work up front and sometimes don’t break even the first year. Our clients love the low budget without hourly charges and we enjoy not having to nickle and dime for everything you want done.” And then when it comes to any recurring billing, the only line item is called “website renewal”.

      Also, if a client is going to cut and run and you host their website, simply send them an email, “Okay, I’ve taken everything off of the server and you are welcome to rebuild it now. Since I host your files and will no longer be billing you, you will need to find another web host. Please remember to not use anything I had on the old site as you build your own, per our earlier copyright agreement.”

      Most of my clients have been with me over 10 years now. The residual income is great, since most do not request any work for years. All of my clients know that my business model is in hoping they never ask me to do anything. I don’t keep that a secret from them.

      But within the maintenance line item, I also put “…whether or not any work is requested of us. This is billed yearly in advance and in the second year and further, you can choose to pay monthly, quarterly or yearly.” With inflation, I’ve started also making the design of the website a recurring fee as well. And when mobile websites became popular, I double the website design fee. I have been a very successful website developer for 13 years now.

  23. Mina says:

    Hi Jill,
    I am Mina. I contracted someone to do my website after he asked me several times to to it for me. It’s been 9 months now and the site is still not done. I asked him 3 weeks ago if he has created the web shop I need in order to sell my product and he replied he doesn’t know how to do but he will have to research it. Still he hasn’t done it and begun to pretend he hasn’t gotten content from me to do the front page so he can’t go on with the work.

    I realize that I am never going to get a professional website so I asked to stop the work but he insists to finishbit and that is just for the front page. He is charging 6,000 Euros for this work and is posting negative stiffs and lies on my page. He even went live without my permission. The problem also is that he convinced me to let him do the site on his domain and for this reason he is holding my site hostage.

    Please what should I do ?
    Thanks for your reply.

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Mina,

      Unfortunately I cannot really give any advice on this one. Also you are not in the US so I am not familiar with the laws at all where you are. I would contact an attorney. Jill

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear Jill,

        Thank you for your reply.

  24. wordpress development says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

  25. Allison says:

    Hi, I fell out with my web developer as he was sexually harassing me and my female staff. So I have deleted him as a user on my website’s WordPress, making me the only admin user. Is there any other route he can gain access to my website now? (I have ownership of my domain and hosting account). I am worried there might be something else I might be missing, maybe another way to log into WordPress via a developer account or something like that? Thank you for your help.

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Allison, sorry you had that experience. If he has access to your database through your host he can still access your website. Make sure he is removed from your host account or change your password for your host just to be sure.

  26. Paul says:

    Hi, My web developer *was* a friend of mine and we had a falling out. I own my domain, I’m paying for and own the hosting account and I have access to CPANEL and all the files. The web site is complete and moving forward just needs minor update modifications now and then. Today, I used CPANEL to make a complete backup of all the web site files and downloaded the .tar to my local PC. My problem is that my former web designer holds all the source files. He also has all the hosting company login information. What do I do to get to a point where I can edit the web site and make the minor modifications myself? I know the site is not WordPress but I don’t know what software the designer used.

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Paul, not sure what you mean by “source files” – it sounds like you have a zip file of the source files. I would just change the password immediately for the hosting account so he can no longer access it and find someone to assist you with getting it complete. Does not seem like you are missing anything that you need to get it up and running since you can access everything.

      • Paul says:

        Thank you, Jill. I did not know that the source files (files your web design software manipulates) are stored on the web server. I thought they were stored locally on the developer’s computer and only html files etc. that were necessary to display the web site were uploaded to the server (I’m clearly not a web designer 🙂 ). Ideally, I would like to find some software package that I can use to edit the files I zipped (after unzipping them) and learn to make the changes myself as 99% of the work is already done. I just don’t know what software will read my files.

        • Jill Caren says:

          Without knowing exactly how the website was built it would be hard for me to help. But if you can see the website on your current host then you should have everything you need. 🙂 Good luck!

  27. Jecinta says:

    Thank you so much for all the information here.
    My blog designer changes my password any time he likes. So I told him to connect my email so I can get details whenever someone tries to change it.
    Since then, he has refused to pick my calls or respond to my chats.
    My annoyance is that he has refused to update my blog and only calls when money is about to expire.

    He used to be a nice person which made me trust him and didn’t go for a contract.
    I’m worried that I may lose my site.
    I have the Admin access.
    I have spent a lot on that site and too much time too when it was hacked, I had to start all over again.

    Please help me!

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Jecinta, you can just change your password and not give it to your blog designer that way he cannot get in to the site. Then you can find a new person to work with! Jill

  28. Miranda says:

    In searching a way to get into my site, which is not live, I came across this article. I have a website domain through wordpress that my partner, at the time, set up. I am trying to find a way to get into it because he just stopped working on it and I cannot get him to respond to me with the information to get in and complete the site. He has basically ghosted me. I have been told he has a lot of personal issues going on and I don’t mean to sound cold hearted or rude but I must go on without him. I have a new partner that is building a mock site but I need to get into my domain account in order to go live. I honestly think he was just overwhelmed with so much that he got in over his head on this and is possibly to proud to say this. Nevertheless, is there any way I can get my domain access information? I have contacted wordpress via telephone and chat but to no avail… CRICKETS…

    • Jill Caren says:

      Hi Miranda, I am sorry to hear about your issues. Unfortunately, if the domain is under his account there is nothing you can really do. WordPress does not really offer phone support – or any support for that matter and even if they did, it sounds like the domain is under his name not yours if I am understanding this right. I am sorry – wish I could give you better news.

  29. Rafa B. says:

    Thanks for sharing all this must have informations. Unfortunately I came to your post late. I paid a developer to build my website, I was so unlucky that this person is a hacker, I tried my best to have the full control of this, I bought my own domain and host, asked for my access details as an admin but strangely he was manipulating my access, checking everything I was doing. I don’t know how but he hacked all the information from my computer and now I am so sad with all this, after I finish to pay, he just deleted everything and now After 6 months of hard work I will have to start everything again. Don’t understand how there is such bad people like that in this world. Thanks again for sharing this.!! X

    • Jill Caren says:

      Rafa I am so sorry you had to go through with this. Sadly it is not uncommon. Choose wisely and get references!!!! Wishing you the best the next time around.

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