It’s a little scary to think how careless some businesses can be with what should be considered highly important information. One of the problems we run into all of the time is when a new client wants to do some work to their website. They have no idea where it is hosted or what the domain login is. It’s usually a case where the last person they hired did all of that for them and when they moved on, they took all of the information with them. Now the owner has no access to any portion of their own website.
So Now What Do I Do?
Well the good news is you’re not toast yet. A good place to start is by performing a free WHOIS lookup which you can do here. By entering your website address you can find out some very valuable information including the domain registrar (meaning where it is registered), the contact name associated with the account (who owns it), the next renewal date or expiry date, and more. A WHOIS lookup will also tell you where your web hosting is located.
Cool. So How Do I Access It?
What you can do is contact the person or company listed in your WHOIS search. If you’re having trouble contacting the original buyer of the domain, try contacting the registrar directly and explaining your situation. It’s possible that they may be able to track the person down or have the power to release the domain back to you. There are likely to be some security hurdles, but they are usually pretty accommodating.
Once you’ve got the contact name for the person who owns the domain, you can set up your own account with a domain registrar and submit a transfer request. They will receive the request and they can then allow the domain to be transferred to you. If you’ve been the account holder all along and simply misplaced the info, it’s as simple as requesting a new login/password from your registrar.
It should be noted that the person or company you may have originally hired to build your website may not necessarily be the domain registrar. There are many different registrars on the web for buying domains including Godaddy, Netfirms, and Webnames, just to name a few. Your WHOIS search should tell you this.
There’s no reason to be locked out of your own online brand. Make sure that you have access to your domain and hosting at all times. If you don’t get a copy of those logins, you could be setting yourself up for some major headaches down the road. If you’re having trouble tracking down your domain by taking the steps outlined here today, there are other alternatives. Contact us for help.