Greetings. I am a newbie. I have been designing sites and FTP but have only had sites in which I setup domain names and hosting. Which previous had been through a different company. I just picked up a site that is registered through that other company, but the servers point to DreamHost. How do I take over maintenance and updates of these sites here on DreamHost? I am way out of my knowledge base.

I appreciate any help or guidance.

Did your site purchase include transfer of a DreamHost hosting account?

If so, you should have been given Admin Panel log-in details which will allow you to administer the account. Panel log-ins consist of either a WEBID/Password combination or an Email Address/Password combination.

At the very least, you should have been given FTP username/password for the domain.


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There wasn’t an actual purchase, just hired on as the new designer to replace the old. I was given a FTP username/password for the domain which allows me to upload. However, the owner wants to have all the passwords changed and the former designer did not provide the Panel log-ins & password. Tried the owner’s email addy and that did not work either :frowning:

First of all, Welcome! I think the first thing you need to do is arrange to gain access to the account on Dreamhost. You did not say if another developer was managing the site, or if your client was managing it. Either way, you should arrange to either obtain the appropriate username/password for the Dreamhost account (or at least the ftp user) so that you can ensure the continued integrity of the existing files. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may be able to have the existing file/code delivered to you by the owner or developer. Exactly how you should proceed with this depends entirely on “who controls what” regarding the existing site.

Having obtained the files, or in conjunction with doing so via the existing account credentials, I strongly advise that you change the account password(s) in order to maintain the integrity of the account (you should do this periodically, but always after a change where you do not know for sure who has access to the existing password). You accomplish this function, and many others, via the Dreamhost Control Panel, using the existing account credentials. If for any reason you cannot obtain these credentials, you should create a new account on Dreamhost in which to install the existing site’s files. Whether you need to do this, and who will pay for any costs involved, should be ironed out with the site’s owner.

Now having the existing site’s files, and access to a Dreamhost account with which to manage them, all that is needed is to make sure you repeat the process with the domain registrar, as appropriate or indicated by need or security concerns, to ensure that the owner/you retain control of the domain’s DNS settings.

Once you have that all assembled, explore the DH Control Panel, the Dreamhost Wiki, and this Forum as needed to find your way around. SInce you indicated you have experience using ftp, you will probably be okay, though any new environment will take a bit of getting used to, and possibly some additional learning.

If your revious hosting environments were cPanel (or other commonly used commercial “panel”) based, the Dreamhost Control Panel will look foreign to you. Don’t be discouraged by this, and take the time to explore and become familiar with the panel. Once you understand how the DH Control Panel works, you will find that it, in conjunction with the shell access Dreamhost provides for all accounts, provides a web development environment that is far more powerful and flexible than any provided by cPanel.

Your question was a bit “broad”, but if I understood it correctly, some of this may be useful information. If I didn’t understand what you were asking, or if you have more specfic question, just post back (or in a new thread as is appropriate for the subject being discussed) and I’m sure you will users here that will try to help. Good Luck! :slight_smile:


Thank you so much for all the information. I am taking over the design from a prior designer/developer and am “revamping” a signifcant portion of the site.

I have changed the password on where the site is registered. But since the former developer only provided FTP information I can not change the password as I had hoped on DreamHost. The owner has no idea of this information as well.

So I am guessing I am in the right place, on DreamHost for the hosting portion. And then probably have to email support for the user id and password to be able to change login.

Thanks for all the guidance. Truly appreciated from this newbie :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, that is an “all too common” circumstance in the web development business.

First, try the ftp user/pass you were given on the panel. It is possible that they are also a “web id” and will work.

If they don’t, assume the “worst” and immediately log in via ftp and download everything you can find, in every directory, to your own computer. If there is the slightest possiblility that there may be “issues” between the previous developer and the owner, you want to make sure you preserve the files that are there, in the event they should suddenly “disappear”. In fact, you should do it anyway, even if you don’t feel this is likely to be a problem (far better to be safe than sorry!).

Having done that, check with the owner to see if they have a web-id for the Dreamhost account management Panel. You didn’t say whether the developer, or the owner, controls the DH account. If the owner controls the account, he should take the steps I described in my previous post, or give you sufficient credentials so that you can do it (regarding password controls, etc.).

In the worst case, if you are able to grab the files, you should be ok. It may be that the previous developer is hosting the owner’s site under his (the developer’s) account on DH, and the owner only has an ftp account. This is not that unusal, and is not necessarily a problem, as long as you obtain all the files, and after you have done this, the owner prevails upon the previous developer to “drop” the domain from his DH account so that you, or the owner, can host it under a second account.

Hopefully, they can work this out themselves, but if not, the owner will likely need to initiate some discussion with DH support to get it sorted. As long as the domain is “already” hosted on Dreamhost, and the DNS is pointed to Dreamhost DNS servers, you will not be able to set that domain up in your “own”, or the owner’s, account without intervention from DH.

Does that make any sense?


It looks lilke our posts “crossed in the ether”. Make sure you check out my reply to your other post which addresses a couple of issues you mentioned here.