Lost your Website Access Credentials? Here is how to retrieve them.

Losing site access

What happens when your trusted web designer, who had the sole access to servers leaves all of a sudden without giving you any details! Have you thought about the implications? 

The most frustrating moment to a website owner could be losing access to the website completely, especially the domain name ownership. One of our clients faced a situation recently when one of their local designer quit or rather absconded without passing on the Website credentials. While digging further, it was found that it was not a mere WordPress website’s password or anything that they lost with the employee. It was the server’s access details.

That included the Domain Name, Hosting Account details, the registered email access, past payment details!!!!

Even more worse is that the designer was paying with a credit card which was not the company’s (It seems, this expense was covered in the salary package and it was much more of a trust based work relationship that existed).

Wow! Is there anything more bad that can happen!?

For newbies, let me explain why it is so so bad.

Case 1: WordPress Site password is Lost

If WordPress login password is lost:  The usual procedure is to click on the “Lost your password?” as shown below

WP Password

At this, you will be asked to enter the username or email address as shown below.



As long as you have the email address access, you can get a new password and continue accessing the website.

This is far more simple.

Case 2: No access to Email Address for a WP site

In case you know only the username and the registered email address for the website is not yours, still you can access the database and change the email address, by accessing the server. Once done, use this new email address and voila! you get the new password and the website is back in your control.

Case 3: No Username & Email Address for a WP site

Well let’s assume a even worse scenario. Yes, you have access to neither email address nor username. But still, we can ape this website offline. Once done, we can put this newly created site along with new database and scrap the entire old ones.

Well, this is one of the ways and am sure there are multiple ways to bring the site back to your control.

Case 4: Lost Domain name and/or the Server Access Credentials

This is the most pathetic scenrio. Why I was mentioning losing the server credentials as very bad is because, at that point we are cut off from the access to the actual files. Also, when it comes to renewing the domain name, we cannot further do it and your site will exist no more. In case we try to access it back, the server service provider will require the credentials. Unless you have that, they are not going to give you access.

To prove to them, that we are the genuine owners, lets say, who lost the username password, there would be a registered email id or a phone number etc. When these are also not present, may be you can prove that the bank account from which the previous payments came needs to be proved as yours. Even then your case is not very strong for them to give you the access for the server.

Hence I mentioned that they are in very bad position. Of course one can say create a new website and buy a new domain. We all know how bad this idea is, especially if you have an e-commerce portal running and the brand has been built for years together. There is no other way, but to gain the control back.

The Solution:

Before I spurt out the solution, let me give you a quick note. Depending upon the country you are from and the server service providing company there may be minor changes from what is mentioned below. But, given that you are dealing with a standard company, the following should work.

  1. Submit a complaint form on ICANN website https://forms.icann.org/en/contact. ICANN manages and authorises all domain register around the globe.
  1. Call local support centre of your Server service provider and explain the issue and they will provide you mail ID to which you have to send the details.
  1. They will require your ID and some evidences of company registration. I hope that your country law allows you to raise complaint with Police which can be provided to Server Service provide as proof, in case if they needed.

Now, receiving response from Server service provider and ICANN will take some time and process may go beyond a month.

Hope this helps you, in case, you are stuck! All the best 🙂

Please do write back to us in comments in case you feel there are other ways to do this. I will include it with full credits.

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