today i tried to access my vbulletin-run website
turns out my fees were overdue
so I paid
website still doesn't work
seems the .htaccess file is missing.
what steps should I take to return my website working the way it was?
See if the .htaccess file was just renamed. If not, dig it out of your backups, or queue up a restore from the panel to restore to a timestamped directory and leave your main site alone. Then copy the .htaccess file over.