My webhost died :(

I had a friend who was a webhost. I bought a site from him and he ordered the domain for me. I don’t know who the domain was registered through but I suspect it may have been Yahoo! Unfortunately he died recently :frowning: It was very tragic and its taken me months to even think about the site again. But the domain is painted on my husband’s truck so I’d like to recover it.

The server is down and I’m sure I can’t recover anything from his family (and I really couldn’t ask.)

Since I don’t know for sure who it was purchased from, or what his username/password etc is, how to do I get our domain back? Do I just need to wait until a year after it was bought, or is there something I can do sooner?

Hi SoLost, welcome to SitePoint!

Hmm, a difficult situation. You can at least find out where the domain is hosted by looking it up on WhoIs. I guess you can then explain the situation to the domain host, and they can tell what procedure they require to verify that the domain should be passed to you … unless it was registered in your name, in which case things will be a lot easier. If it’s in your name, you can just get your own web hosting and re-establish the site (or build a new one if you don’t have a backup of the original one).

Yes, a whois check will tell you who the registrar is, and if you contact them and explain, they will tell you what the procedure is to get access to the domain.

Also, you should not wait until it expires to try and get the domain, as it may be bought by someone who “invests” in domains and become very expensive to get at that point.

If your friend was a professional, it would be appropriate to ask his people for some help with this. It is tragic when people die, but the world keeps moving. If the he had some of your physical property, it would be appropriate to ask the family to return it, no? But maybe there is something about this specific situation that makes that a bad idea, so…

It will not be possible to get that domain on your name.
You should wait the domain to get expired and deleted from Registry.
Once it is deleted, register it immediatelly on your name.
In the mean time never tell the name of the domain to anyone and do not search it on sites of domain registrars or resellers because many of them have robots to monitor such type of domains which have complications and they register these domains as soon as they are availble to sell them at high price.

Regarding website:

  1. Is your website still online?
  2. Do you know who is hosting it?
  3. Do you have access to control panel of your website?
  4. Which control panel is used?

I had a situation of a similar nature for a client recently. I couldn’t get any help from the registrar. In this case I got in touch with the top level domain authority (in this case for a .co.uk it was nominet). They have a procedure where by you can bypass the registrar if you can prove rightful ownership - because the domain was for a business, they were able to verify this and the ownership of the domain was transferred from the registrar to a new account at a different registrar that the company had full access to.

Not sure if internic have a similar procedure (for .com etc) but would be surprised if they didn’t.

Its a difficult situation but you can try out with Whois.com and get the related information and then contact the concerned person in order to assist you. I believe this will solve your problem.

You might be able to recover an older version of the site if it was indexed by the Wayback Machine:

http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

Sorry for your loss. It is real tough losing someone for sure.

First thing I would do is do a whois look up and get as much information as you can and try to retain the domain and all related aspects of that domain. It will probably still be in the person’s name so if you have custody over his possessions then you will have no issues obtaining the goods.

Sorry for your difficult situation!

I like the idea of seeing if you could access the site via wayback machine. Maybe then you could copy over the information and purchase a new domain that is very similar to your original name - maybe a .net instead of a .com…or even adding a 1 at the end, ex. domainname1.com - something that would be easy to adjust to the painted name on your husband’s truck.

I recommend you take a full backup of your web site if that is possible and wait for the updates and maybe start looking for new web hosting services.

The whois of the domain name will tell who the registrar is. You cna try contacting them. If there’s no help available from there, you can register a similar domain with a different extension and get your new website up.