Web designer MIA; how site owner can get access?


I have a friend who had his site set up and developed several years ago. The last time he tried to contact the web developer for updates to his site, he could not get hold of him. How can he get access to his account and domain name information? His site is registered to and hosted by Dreamhost.

Just a comment: I wish these things were set up with this (very common, I’m sure) scenario in mind. It is typical for a person to pay to have a site designed and set up; the developer does all the set-up, but there is no provision for notifications, a second set of passwords, etc. to be made available to the person who is the true owner of the site. I try to add my clients as users and email them the info, in case I get hit by a bus, though many, it’s true, wouldn’t really know what to do with them. At least they could pass on to a new designer.


Contact DreamHost support for assistance with this. Note that access is provided only to the DreamHost account holder, so if you as “the site owner” are not the “account owner” you will not be granted access to the account.

The solution for this common scenario is very simple: As site owner you should also be the DreamHost account owner for the account under which your domain is registered/hosted. To set this up any other way (such as with your site being hosted/domain registered under your web developer’s account) is not wise, for the very reasons you have seen.

Account ownership has *no relationship" to “site” ownership, and even if you are the “site owner” you will not be given access credentials by DreamHost to any account that you do not own.



Good advice, of course, though the horse is already out of the barn.


At a minimum, you should hold the keys to your domain registration. If you have control over the registration, you can ultimately survive someone flaking out on you. At worst, you will lose your site content, but can rebuild your site elsewhere.

If the site is for a business, in the old days, if you could prove that you’re the business owner, you can recover your domain registration. I don’t know if that’s still the case.


You’re preaching to the choir; in general my clients are completely clueless about how to register a domain name, how to point the dns to the host, etc. What would be nice would be to ensure that notices regarding upcoming changes, expiration, etc. could be sent to them AND to me. Even if I change them to the " owner" and add myself as a mere user, I’d be nervous if I didn’t get copied on things.