What do you do if your website designer is restricting access to your own website?

In this article, I’ll give you some guidance as to the steps you can take if your web designer / developer is restricting access to your website.

Why do some web designers restrict access to your website?

Let me be clear, most web designers are nice folk who would never restrict access to your website. But there are some who do restrict access and it’s usually for one of two reasons:

  1. They intend to charge you for the tiniest of edits to your website and by restricting access to your site, they have a hold over you.
  2. They don’t trust you and think you will ‘break’ your website, so they restrict your access to all areas of your website.

Neither reason is sufficient enough for them to hold you to ransom over your own website, that you no doubt paid them a small fortune to build! OK, let’s look at what steps you can take to take back control of your website.

NOTE: It’s important to understand whether there is any contractual obligation between you and your web designer, that might indicate why access is being restricted. If you have asked them to manage your website and handle any content edits, then that may be the reason they are restricting access.

Signs that you don’t have full access to your website

Let’s begin by looking at the signs that indicate you don’t have full access to your website backend (the WordPress dashboard).

Sign One: You don’t have login details to your WordPress dashboard

When your web designer was building your site (and certainly once it was launched), they should have provided you with an administrator user profile to enable you to access your website. The login page of your website is accessed by visiting the URL of your website and then adding /wp-admin to the end.

If you don’t have login details for your WordPress dashboard, ask your web designer to provide them to you – or if necessary, create an administrator level user profile for you.

Sign Two: You have restricted access to your WordPress dashboard

Even if your web designer has created a user profile for you, it may be that you are not listed as an ‘administrator’, which means you have access to all areas of the WordPress dashboard.

When you login to your WordPress dashboard, you should see a full suite of options in the left hand menu. As a minimum, you should be able to access the following menu options:

  • “Appearance”
  • “Plugins”
  • “Users”
  • “Tools”
  • “Settings”

If you don’t see any of the above, then there’s a good chance your profile is not that of an administrator. To rectify this, ask your web designer to create an administrator level user profile for you.

Having access to all areas of your WordPress dashboard is key if you are to have full access to your website. The above two signs are key indicators that your web designer is restricting access to your site.

What happens if your web designer will not accede to your requests?

If your web designer refuses to grant you full access to your website, what steps you can take depend largely on how your domain registration and web hosting is set-up.

  • If you have access to your web hosting control panel, then there are steps you can take to access your WordPress dashboard remotely and you can then amend the access settings to ensure you have full access to your site.
  • If you have access to your domain registration dashboard, but NOT your web designer is hosting your website, then you may be able to create a web hosting account elsewhere, but this would involve copying the content over to a new WordPress installation and may result in you having to pay another designer to re-build your site.
  • If your web designer did everything for you (and in their own name), then there’s very little you can do except start again with a new domain!

If you have reached the end of the road with your web designer, and you’d like some impartial, friendly guidance and intervention, then please do get in touch.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

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