After 18 years in this business, I thought I’d seen everything. Clearly, I was wrong.
A client called earlier this week. Her website has not needed updates in a loooooooong time, but we are still in touch occasionally. She notified me that her site was down, and that she did not even realize it until a friend told her about it.
Further investigation discovered that after her recent divorce, her husband (in a fit of I don’t know what… rage? revenge? passive-aggressiveness?) had called the hosting company and cancelled the hosting account. He had the login information, access to her email, and the credit card info, so the hosting company was able to verify that he had access to the account. Why would they ever think it was a problem?
So of course he did not tell her, the hosting company had no reason to contact her separately, and she was left in the dark.
Fortunately, I had a local backup of her site files. After she called to set up a new hosting account, it was no problem to restore the site.
The lesson here? If someone has access to your domain and/or hosting accounts, and you part ways, make sure to immediately lock them out, by whatever means necessary. This could be a divorce, a dissolved business partnership, the termination of a contractor doing work on the site (your web designer or SEO expert, perhaps), or merely the loss of an employee, who is going on to new adventures.