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I have a client with an old website that somebody setup for him long ago. The guy who set it up is unreachable, so how do we go about trying to take it over? A WHOIS lookup got us some contact information, but I don't have great hopes for that (it hasn't been update in quite some time). The nameservers are and, and we will try calling them, but I don't expect we'll be able to get much from them.

What are our options? Is there a way I can discover the registrar so we can try contacting them as well?

EDIT: It would be sufficient if we could get control of the domain name or put in some sort of redirect to the new site. Either hosting was prepaid for quite some time, or someone else is still paying for it, so we don't care about that.

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You need to recover the domain or the website files?

If you can provide enough credentials to the right provider (domain or hosting), they must give you the information you need.

The whois lookup to find the registrar is ok, also take note about the administrative and technical contacts. To find the hosting provider you need to ping your domain and get the IP address and check who is the owner of the IP address in In most cases this owner is the hosting provider and the same as the domain provider.

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Is your client the actual owner of the domain name? Does he pay for the hosting? If not, this could prove difficult. My experience with contacting hosting and domain registrars hasnt really been pleasant. The amount of red tape involved here may be more than what its worth.

How much trouble would starting from scratch be? If you can get control of the domain, that would be a great start.

Hopefully someone will have some better news, but thats my take from my experience.

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When you do a whois on the domain you should be able to see the register and their contact information.

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In the past, if you were listed as the technical contact or business contact on the WHOIS profile, you could "snail mail" the domain hosting provider describing the circumstances with a request to take ownership of the site. This needed to be done on some kind of "official letterhead" and they would do some follow-up to verify details. Granted this took a couple of weeks, but it was the "brute force" method and eventually worked out. Make sure to contact the domain hosting provider over the phone and explain things first, that way they have some kind of audit trail to follow.

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