If you have a website, you should also be in direct control of your domain(s), hosting and email.

If you’ve left this up to your web design agency or freelancer to set up on their own personal accounts, you could be asking for trouble.

Not having direct access to the services related to your website means that if your gets hacked, needs fixing or moving you might not be able to get it sorted.

Three things you should make sure you have:

Billing and access to your domain control panel.

  • This is usually where you bought your domain from in the first place (the registrar)
  • You will have a login to the site where you bought the domain so you can administer it (renewals, DNS, Nameservers etc)

Direct access to your hosting account.

  • This is where your website lives and is usually referred to as your hosting or your server
  • There will be logins to the control panel for your server that you should have handy

Note that some agencies may not give you access to the server if they are hosting other peoples sites on the same server. If they won’t give you direct access to the control panel, ask for FTP details through which access can be limited to your site only.

Access to your email management.

  • Your email may be managed via your server, if this is the case, you’ve already got access if you have server access
  • If your email is with a third party like Google or Office 365, make sure you have logins for that service

What if you don’t have this information?

If you don’t have full access to your hosting and domains, it can make it very difficult for a new WordPress agency or freelancer to get access to the files they’ll need to be able to help you.

You can also find yourself in the difficult position of being held to ransom over access to your own domain and hosting if it’s with a third party (yes, this does happen).

Get Toast to help you sort this

What can you do to get this information?

Firstly, check you don’t already have it – it’s quite easy to have registered a domain somewhere years ago and have forgotten about it.

Below are three things to check relating to your domain, hosting and email:

  1. Check your business bank statements – is there any billing from a company that could be the registrar of your domain? Also, check the registrar – it may remind you: https://nominet.uk/whois/ (for UK domains)
  2. Use a free online check to try and find out where your site is hosted: https://sitechecker.pro/hosting-checker/
  3. Check your MX records – these are details about your email: https://mxtoolbox.com/, again, will give you some insight into where your email might be hosted

How to get control back from a third party.

If someone else has registered the domain and set up the hosting without giving you access, the only thing you can do in the first instance is asking them for access.

For domain names, if they decline, you can ask that they instead transfer your domain to your own account (you’ll need to set up a free account with a UK-based registrar like 123-REG – that’s who we use).

If they refuse outright to discuss your domain name, contact Nominet (for UK domains) and prepare for legal action or at least a bit of a faff – you will need to prove you either own the domain or are the correct legal owner – this can get complicated.

For hosting accounts, your developer may not want you to have access as they host other sites – this is completely fair if you are paying them to host the site for you.

However, if you’ve lost touch with the company that hosts your website, or have fallen out with them, get the website moved asap (for WordPress sites, this can be done directly from the WordPress admin on your site – get in touch if you need help with this).

For email, again, ask nicely if it can be transferred to you – email gets a little more complicated as it’s all stored on servers, and if you don’t own the server, it’s easy for the actual owner to delete your accounts – proceed with caution.

Get help.

Domains, hosting and email can be complicated and frustrating to sort out if you are not sure where anything is.

This happens to even the largest companies as people who have the details move jobs or simply forget the details.

We can help you get to the bottom of where your assets are and how to bring them back under your own control.

Get in touch to get started


Need help with the issues raised above?

Just give us a call on 01295 266644 or complete the form and we'll get your website sorted.