Do you have a website that you no longer use or need? As needs change sometimes websites become obsolete or no longer needed. Indeed, there are seasons in life for everything. In this article, we will discuss what to do when you have decided to close a website that you own or manage.
Despite hopeful business or personal endeavors, at some point, there may be a discussion about closing down a website, shutting down a location, or discontinuing a branch of the business. In other more positive scenarios a website may no longer be needed or relevant subsequent to a merger or acquisition.
The big question is what to do with the already designed and active / running website. Rather than leaving it up online for anyone to still access, you should consider a few different options. From rerouting your website traffic to a partner website or selling the domain name, there are various approaches to this question which we will discuss throughout this article.
Shutting down a website can be an overwhelming task if you don’t know where to begin. Even though our team at Websults works primarily with the website creation / development side, we also know the best ways to take down or shut down a website when the time comes. Let us give you our top recommendations for how you should go about it.
Step #1 – Backup Your Website
Yes, we understand you are trying to delete your website from the Internet. But, as a precaution, we recommend that you take a backup of the website. You can perform a website backup via cPanel or via a plugin in WordPress. If you have a non-WordPress website, then check with your website provider about the process for obtaining a backup copy of your website. (both files and database) After you secure a copy of your website, we recommend uploading the website backup files to a remote location on the Internet, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Alternatively, you could place your website backup files on a thumb drive and store the drive in a secure location in your home or office.
Step #2 – Determine if Your Website Closure is Temporary or Permanent
Website Closure Options
While it may be tempting to permanently shut down a website, sometimes it can be beneficial to keep the website up and running in some form, whether that be temporarily shutting it down, redirecting the domain, and/or selling the domain. If the website still gets traffic, then you may want to utilize that asset in your next business endeavor. Especially after putting the time and money into building the website and website traffic, it would only make sense to try one of these temporary options before doing anything permanent. At the same time, doing absolutely nothing and leaving the website alone can be very frustrating and confusing for any customer or web traffic. The best thing to do is often to do something temporary, but what exactly should you do? Let us tell you a few different temporary solutions you can consider doing in the meantime.
- Temporarily Shut Down the Website. When it comes to temporarily shutting down a website, that only means you take down the website site for a few weeks or months. This temporary closure will give you enough time to update your website or design something more relevant to your new business endeavors. If you want to try this option with a WordPress website, then you will need to follow the following instructions:
- If you have WordPress, you can easily install and activate the Maintenance Plugin. Then, you can modify your settings.
- If you don’t have the Maintenance Plugin, then you can install and activate the Disable Site Plugin. In settings, you can disable user access. To watch this process, check out the YouTube video below for more in-depth instructions.
You can also use 302 redirects to set up temporary web page redirects if needed. You can set up the redirects in your .htaccess file, your cPanel, or use a WordPress plugin if easier.
- Permanently Redirect the Website. If your website still gets some web traffic, there is no reason to cut it off completely. Instead, you can 301 redirect the website to another one of your businesses or websites. This redirection will help increase website traffic on your other websites. For 301 redirecting, you will want to do every single URL on the website that receives traffic. At the very least, you will definitely want the top landing pages to be 301 redirected. If you plan to go in this direction, then you will need to make sure you keep up with renewing the domain name. Learn how to redirect a domain by watching the YouTube video linked below.
- Sell the Website and/or Domain. If you feel like you have no more use of your domain or website but think someone else may get good use out of the web traffic, then you can consider selling the domain or website. Before seeking out any buyers, you will want to determine the value of your domain and/or website. No sense in selling a domain that is worthless. Once you determine the amount, you can begin pricing and listing your domain, similar to listing a house. Check out the top domain marketplaces like Sedo, Afternic, and BrandBucket. If you have an interested customer, they may make an offer and negotiate the price before settling on a price. In some situations the website may be valuable because of the website traffic. It’s also possible for a domain only to be valuable. For example, Amcore Balance, S.L., a grocery and supplements company in Spain with a product line called Woments, recently purchased the domain Woments.com for $3,995.
Permanently Shut Down a Website
If you are looking to permanently shut down your website, then you must understand that there is no recovering it (unless you took a backup – see Step #1). That being said, if you have come to the decision that you no longer need your website, then you will want to first start by canceling your web hosting service.
After canceling your hosting account, the hosting company will suspend or delete your hosting account which will effectively shut down your website. Visitors who attempt to access your canceled website may see a message that says “Website Suspended” or “Database Connection Unavailable.”
After canceling your website hosting, you will want to contact the domain registrar company (i.e. GoDaddy) and renounce your domain. If you are not sure or cannot remember where you registered your domain name you can use a Whois service, such as https://whois.domaintools.com/, to identify your domain registrar.
After logging into your domain registrar, be sure to turn off the auto-renew feature if you no longer wish to renew the domain in the future. Similarly, if you are paying for any subscription products associated with your domain or website you will want to cancel those products and services as well. Examples of those recurring services may include website security software, DNS Providers (such as Cloudflare), email accounts, backup services, annual directory listing fees, recurring SEO fees for local listings, and SSL Certificates which are invoiced separately from the web hosting service.
If your domain is registered at GoDaddy, then you might consider calling the GoDaddy call center to inquire about selling your domain on their Domain Auctions website at https://auctions.godaddy.com. A GoDaddy rep may be able to provide additional guidance on the value of your domain and the process for selling your domain via the GoDaddy marketplace. We suggest waiting 48 hours before listing your domain for sale. You want to give yourself ample time to determine a fair value for your domain prior to listing. Below are links to web pages that document the process for turning off some of the more popular “do-it-yourself” website services.
- How to Close or Cancel a Wix Website – https://support.wix.com/en/article/closing-your-wix-account
- How to Close or Cancel a Squarespace Website – https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205810508-Canceling-a-website-subscription
- How to Close or Cancel a Weebly Website – https://www.weebly.com/app/help/us/en/topics/how-do-i-cancel-my-weebly-account
- How to Close or Cancel a WordPress.com Website – https://wordpress.com/support/close-account/
If you want to learn how to permanently shut down a WordPress website through cPanel, check out the YouTube video linked below.
Websults | SEO Agency Located in Clearwater, FL
Search engine marketing and results-oriented website design work hand-in-hand. That’s why Websults wants to help you have the best experience possible when it comes to everything in the SEO and digital marketing world. As an experienced web development, SEO, and eCommerce agency, Websults will listen diligently to your needs, ask questions to help identify any other needs or future needs, and will work hard to give you a competitive advantage in your market. Contact Websults if you need help shutting down a website or to schedule a free consultation / website analysis.