How to Protect Yourself From Getting Beat Up By Your Web Designer

How to Protect Yourself From Getting Beat Up By Your Web Designer

Another week, another maimed and bruised client who arrives at my door step after being used and abused by unscrupulous website designers who disappear without a trace taking all the client’s logins, passwords or website files with them.

I personally don’t know any web designers who do what I’m about to describe since everyone in my sphere, competitors and partners alike, are pretty much hard working good guys (and gals) building their businesses and playing by the rules.

But believe me, they’re out there.


What I’m talking about is the steady stream of business owners who are locked out of their own hosting accounts, have no clue about their own website logins and passwords or have no idea at all about how their websites and email accounts are set up until there’s a problem and then they can’t access their own information.

Granted, some of this is due to benign neglect on the part of some web design firms — web designers going out of business or closing up shop for various reasons.  But some web designers host client sites as part of their service, just like we at Samson media do, which is fine, and then they shut down, move, get a “real” job or whatever, leaving the client high and dry.  Not cool.

[bctt tweet=”Clients need to understand and exert rightful ownership of their own information — hosting, passwords, logins, etc.” username=”samsonmedia”]

So regardless of where the site is hosted, clients need to understand and exert rightful ownership of their own property, namely their website hosting account, domain name registration and all their website files so in the event their web person goes AWOL they can still maintain control and gain access to a very important part of their business!


  • Take Responsibility:  First, I know it sometimes seems a bit like smoke and mirrors with a little VooDoo thrown in but believe me, website development is as much a part of your business strategy as accounting.  You may not know how to balance your own books, but I bet you know your checking account numbers and what bank has your money!  Find out, gather your information and file it in a safe place!
  • Find Out Where You Are Hosted:  Sounds basic, but just knowing where your website lives (to use the banking analogy, which bank has your money) is key.  Is it GoDaddy, Host Gator, NetWork Solutions?  Find out.
  • Get Your Logins:  You’ll need logins and passwords for your hosting account (where your website lives) and your domain name (which may or may not be with the same company as your hosting).  Once you have access to your own hosting account you’ll have access to everything you need including your FTP info.  FTP stands for File Transer Protocol and is used to upload revisions to your web pages.  You may never use your FTP info but the next person to work on your website might.
  • Get Copies of All Your Website Files:  Your website is nothing more than a collection of digital files like any other type of file.  It’s very simple to have your website content dumped to a DVD or thumbnail drive.  With this in hand, your entire website can be reinstalled and reconstituted on any other server should something go totally awry.  Granted, it may not have the latest updates but it might be better than starting over from scratch.


Web design firms often provide hosting. We do.  But here’s what you need to know.

Samson Media is a Flywheel Reseller.  What this means is that our client’s sites are on the Flywheel servers, but while we manage the accounts and provide front-line support and do the billing, YOU the client owns the account.  Yes, I understand you never want to go into your hosting account.  You don’t care about it as long as your website works.  I get that.  But you, the owner, still has the right to grant access to anyone YOU choose.  Like a new website designer. YOU own the account and everything inside it.

Some website designers literally have servers in their place of business and add your website files to a server without independent login capability.  What that means, is that if they gave you access to their servers, you would have access to all the other accounts as well.  Which they obviously can’t do.  So no one but them has the keys. This is NOT a good situation.  While there is nothing wrong with SHARED hosting, properly set up shared hosting means completely compartmentalizing each account so they can live on the same physical computer server but can only be accessed individually with unique user names and passwords.


Simple, really.  Get all the logins and password info outlined above and file it in a safe place and forget about it until you need it.

Might I suggest the safe deposit box at your bank?