What to do if your website provider is holding you for ransom

Just recently we spoke with a very successful entrepreneur who had their website taken down by an angry IT provider. As if managing your websites and all other online assets isn’t hard enough, when your provider is a bad apple you can feel powerless to stop the damage to your business reputation by not being online.

As a part of the IT community where this happens it makes us frustrated too, but there are ways you can protect yourself from this kind of disruption. Here are our top three suggestions:

Keep control of your domain

yourwebsiteaddress.com.au or .com should be under your control. You can share this with your providers but as long as you are the main point of contact for the domain registration then any funny business can still be reversed by you.

We hear stories time and again where someone claiming to be your best option starts off by offering to register your website domain name and then forcing you to purchase services you don’t need because they control your domain.

There are a number of cost effective domain registrars that allow you to setup your own registration. Just make sure once you have done this that you store the logins in a safe place to share with your trusted IT provider.

Ask your provider about how to move your website

If you have a great provider then there is no reason to move it however it’s important to ask the question and listen closely for the answer.

25% of all websites in the world are built on a WordPress content management system. This is an open source platform with developers & infrastructure aplenty. It should just be a matter of a small effort to provide the files to your new provider if that is what you need.

Most importantly, if they laugh nervously and try and avoid answering the question then this should be a warning flag. Business requirements change and your IT provider should be accommodating.

Make sure your provider is doing backups of your website

Most providers will have a service that backs up to a secure location regularly and this means that if the unforeseeable happens to your site and it goes offline that you can reclaim it from the recent past once you fix the problem.

This one does require a good relationship with your provider but in the scheme of things, another important question to ask.

Ultimately it comes down to whether your provider understands what can happen over time and in the context of a changing business environment. Importantly, its your website and you have the right to ask questions and make changes to your arrangement if you need to without fear of retribution.