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How to 'take over' old website to build new one

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by @GCarlD, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone,

    Excuse my poor title. Basically I have been approached by a company who would like me to create a fresh, new, contemporary website for their business. I am unsure / a bit confused about how to go about the 'behind the scenes' part of their site in order to remove their old site and create a new one. You see, their current site was built by an Indian web dev company (yes you are right & I agree with everything you are now thinking), so they already have a domain & hosting. They mentioned that they are having trouble getting hold of the Belgium company they obtained their domain from but he is on the case.

    The hosting is where I am a bit confused about. Should I request the hosting login details in order to make changes to their site, ie. scrap their old one for my new one. Or should I set everything up as new; offer a new hosting package, use the same domain and just get on with it? Also, am I able to 'point' their current domain to the new website I build for them, or is that something they need to sort out with their current hosting providers over in India?

    Basically, I would like to know all the information I need to request from them, that they may need to obtain, before I sort out the contract and can start the job.

    I am guessing I should just treat this job as someone that doesn't currently have a website, but because an old website is involved and live, it has thrown me a bit, as to how to go about things, and information I need from their side in order to do the job.

    Thanks for the help in advance and apologies for any confusion.
  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    If the site was built by an Indian firm it's likely that it'll be hosted on their server somewhere and they'll be unlikely to let you go poking around.

    That's fine though because all you need is access to the domain's nameservers to point it to your server/hosting. If you go to and enter the url details, it should give you the registered owners details. From there you can either request they transfer the domain to your ownership or that they change the nameservers on your behalf. If you cant contact the owner Nominet (if its a or ICAAN (if its a .com) will be able to help you rescue the domain.
    @GCarlD likes this.
  3. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I initially thought poltergeists!
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I have a separate hosting account for clients. This also serves as a staging domain, so I create a folder on the server, set up a subdomain and put the site on there to test/get feedback from the client. If I'm hosting it for them I simply set the nameservers to point to my server and virtual host and after 24 hrs their site is now live on my hosting.

    Essentially all you should need is the nameserver changing to point to your ip since I would imagine you're designing/building their new site from scratch. If email accounts are linked too, then you'll need to update the MX records to so that emails will come through to the correct server.
    @GCarlD likes this.
  5. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that, I got info using ICAAN, I don't know if isn't working at the moment but that would not even load my search.

    Here's what I found out:

    The contact information: Registrant, Admin & Tech are all under the same person at the same address, which is actually very local to me in the UK (greater London). E-mail address is also there.

    They also use the same hosting server provider that I do.

    So, so far everything seems to be UK based.

    According to the companies current website, the design and development was by a company in India, which is what they also told me in our meeting.

    Is this information helpful?
  6. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    o_O I have had to read this a few times and the more I read it the more I understand, I think...

    So let me get this straight; is using their current server an option at all? Considering I have now found out they seem to use the same company I do?

    If not, do I:

    1/ Get them to purchase their own hosting using their own card details etc.

    2/ Up the fee to cover the costs and pay for this myself, using my card details?

    If 2/ is the way to go, is it best to set and a new account for them separate from my own account, or can it all go under my one account?

    IIRC I think I remember my hosting provider saying it is best /safer to set up an account for them on their behalf and use their card details for the DD.
  7. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    3) upsell a 'hosting package' where you manage the hosting for them for a fee where you make a profit on selling said 'support' to them, just make sure they pay you for the 'hosting' before you actually pay for their hosting if you get me :)
    @GCarlD likes this.
  8. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    You could resell the hosting for a profit BUT that makes you their first port of call when things go wrong/they break something. If this is a one of and web development isnt something you see yourself doing regularly, I'd be tempted to point them in the direction of a reputable hosting company, let them set the account up and then ask for their login details so you get the site built.
    Paul Murray and @GCarlD like this.
  9. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    If you're managing the hosting, I would set up an account using your card and details but ask them to pay up front to cover your costs. Otherwise ask them to purchase hosting and give you the login details. Also, and this is important, if you do offer hosting, make sure their invoice is due BEFORE the hosting is due. Otherwise you may find you pay for a year's hosting but they decide they want to move when you send them an invoice. This way you have a buffer between the two. If you're hosting one client, I'd definitely get your own reseller account and use that for hosting them. This way you have the option of hosting future clients and making some extra income that way.

    If you want to use the existing hosting, you can ask the client to request FTP details from the current host, but they may be reluctant to give you this, especially if they're on shared hosting and have other sites on the same server without separate FTP accounts (most don't bother setting these up since they tend to be the only ones managing the sites and do it all through a master account).

    This is what I used to do. I was in two minds about offering hosting – some say it's money for nothing, others say it's a nightmare when you lose half a day having to sort out a technical issue on their behalf. I've only recently started offering hosting to clients because I know I can handle it. Any issues I just raise a ticket with the hosting company. Worst comes to the worst I hire a developer to sort the issue since that's what the clients are paying for.

    I probably wouldn't offer hosting as a separate service, but as part of a design and build package, a year's free hosting and maintenance helps to sweeten the deal, especially since one or two clients paying for hosting can easily cover the cost of a reseller account.
  10. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Ok guys thanks so much for your help. I just got off the phone to my client and they confirmed they do have their own hosting and can provide me their log in details etc. So that makes things much more straightforward.

    Thank you!
    bigdave likes this.

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