Recently, I’ve had a few business customers ask about improving their websites, but not willing to go back to their original hosting / website design companies (for various reasons).
It seems to be common practice to make it difficult for customers to find a better hosting / website design solution.
One practice is to “hold on” to domain information, which a customer can use for pointing their domain name to another hosting company.
Most customer are not aware that domain data, hosting solutions, and actual website content are 3 totally independent aspects of a website.
Nowadays, domain names and hosting solutions are so cheap, that I recommend most customers handle their own domain registration and hosting (or at least keep the details, so that they can ask someone to change them on their behalf.
This gives the customer complete control over how they want their website to look… If they decide that a website design company are not listening to them, then they just get someone else.
But when a website design company decides to handle the domain registration and hosting for a customer, then many start charging highly inflated prices for the hosting and domain registration. Sometimes its just a historical price calculation that hasn’t been adjusted for todays financial realities… other times, its knowing that the customer doesn’t understand what he is paying for, and doesn’t even know what to ask, in order go gain some control over their own website.
So, I ask on behalf of my customers, and I usually get long delays, and various excuses, before I get any meaningful replies (And I can understand why: who wants to give away a very good source of profits).
The mobile phone industry was in a similar state: phone numbers could not be transferred, so many businesses wound up being “locked” to a phone company.
It took legislation to fix that problem… at least with domain names (and hosting), the true owner can usually regain control over the domain, irrespective of a third company being uncooperative.
Anyway, getting cpanel and ftp access is usually not too hard, but domain access seems to be the most difficult, but fortunately it can be forced to be repointed to a new hosting solution (by the authorised owner).