A client of mine has a website that is incomplete. The last developers quit from this work, and they need get this work done.

The problem is that I can't get cPannel access, and the first developer doesn't answer my e-mails.

I've also checked the WHOIS records, that tell me that my client is not the owner of this domain/hosting service. The first company didn't register the service with the client's name.

I've already contacted the host company to ask for a password reset, and they tell me that for security purposes they only can do that for the domain/host owner.

Is there any way to solve this mess?

  • Who registered the domain? The client or the old development company? Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:56
  • >> gives me a weird Administrator info - Probably they are using WHOIS protect. This means that the real registration info is protected. Some people prefer this due to privacy reasons.
    – William
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 8:59
  • @jeffatrackaid I trully guess that this domain is registered by the old development company, who doesn't give me the access.
    – fiskolin
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 9:17
  • What is the domain extension. Is it a .com, .co.uk or something else? Different companies are in charge of different TLDs. I'll add an answer below but will update with more info Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 14:30
  • @AsifN this is a domain with .com extension.
    – fiskolin
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 15:30

5 Answers 5



Based on the fact this is is a .com domain, you can do the following:

Go to https://www.verisigninc.com/en_US/domain-names/com-domain-names/index.xhtml.

Click on the Chat with Support link at the bottom of the page. Explain the situation to them and tell them what documentation, if any, you have to establish that you or your client is the rightful owner of the domain. They will let you know if they can make the transfer or will need some kind of legal order. It may be that they will direct you to the registrar through which the .com domain is registered, in which case you may need to contact their support and if they are not helpful then escalate the issue to network solutins / Verisign.

Ideally, your order of laying claim to the domain should be:

  1. With the registrar,
  2. If they don't help, with Verisign,
  3. If they don't help, time to get a simple court order advising both the old web developer and the registrar to comply with the court's order. It rarely ever comes down to this, unless your client owes the web developer some money, in which case this is more than a domain issue.

What is the domain extension. Is it a .com, .co.uk or something else? Different companies are in charge of different TLDs. For instance, to deal with .com domain issues you will ultimately need to contact Network Solutions. To deal with .co.uk issues, you will need to contact Nominet. I have had a similar issue with a .co.uk domain name before, so have some experience with it.

Having a legal name similar to the domain will help, but it is pointless if the business is registered after the domain name - it doesn't give you any precedence.

What you need to do is have this kind of paperwork to say this IS your business, but then also provide the registration authority who runs the domain TLD with other documentation / communication showing that the domain was registered by an agency or web developer for your business. It is up to them to decide - they may think some company registration documents with some email communication with the developer is enough.

Nominet in the UK is actually really quite helpful like this. I can provide more information if you let me know the domain TLD.

Another option is to get a solicitor / lawyer involved who sends a legal warning to the last developer. Your client can send this directly too. This too will help establish that you are trying to solve the dispute amicably - everyone will ask you for evidence that suggests you have done this before taking any action.

Eventually, you need to put together a paper trail showing the last guy is misbehaving and provide it to the registrar or registration authority. If they do not co-operate, go to court and get a legal order advising them to change the details.


The client should be able to contact the hosting company and have their password reset, then they can give it to you. If you try and they do it, I would be very very concerned about security.

Alternatively, log into the domain registrar and move the whole thing to a new hosting service. Sometimes it is better to start from scratch...do they trust the last developer's work?

The whois info is using a "Private Protection Service" to hide the owners real details.

  • 1) actually you're right, the hosting company did not send their password. 2) once my client has official name close to domain-name, is that possible (legally) require this password reset?
    – fiskolin
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 10:21
  • All sounds too hard. If it were me I would just change the nameservers and move to a new hosting company. I reckon 123host.com.au would suit...but I am biased :o)
    – Steve
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 8:44
  • Sure! But, actually thinking in the side of my client, is hard to work on another site from the beginning, and all of the costs that this situation brings. What a headache!
    – fiskolin
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 10:34

I wrote an answer that addresses this same issue though it is a bit particular to the OP's situation. Being a web host in a previous life, this answer is a road map that you can follow based upon my experience. I am sure there are ideas in the answer that can really help you.

Getting access to website files without access to the hosting account

Good Luck!! If you have any questions, I can update this answer or comment anytime.


Is there any way to solve this mess?

Technically speaking, there is no way for you to take over the domain name using force. However, if your client can prove it paid for it or for some services to implement it, you may attempt some legal action first and bring the court's decision to the registrar if it is in your favor.

If the domain name contains a trademark your customer owns, that should facilitate the process too. If the name of the company or its address appear on that site, it will help too.

In the mean time, carry on the development under another domain name. Mark your pages as noindex,noarchive. Once you retrieve the first domain name, move your work under this domain name and remove the robots meta tag.

  • 1
    Thanks dude! This really helped. Actually, without access I can't even mark this pages as noindex, noarchive :)
    – fiskolin
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 8:11
  • Yes, but I meant, use noindex,norachive on the new development site, since you can't access the old one. Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 8:17

Here you are not specified the hosting and domain was in same account or different account. If it is a different account better to get the domain panel. Then you can remove the old hosting Name servers and add the New hosting name servers the problem is solved

If it is single account first contact the person who is under the account. If the person is not responding better to change domain with other extension then you have everything in your hand...

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