When Firing Webmasters, Freelancers & Virtual Assistants Who Don’t Perform, Here’s What I Recommend You Do


When things don’t work out with your webmaster and you are considering termination, how do you take back control of your website? My first word of caution? Proceed slowly and methodically!

When the working relationship ends, you’re going to need all of the information related to your website returned. So, specifically what do you ask for? HOW do you ask them? Then, how can you make sure your website is safe and protected from possible “tamperings?” It can happen!


Because breakups can be difficult, just remember, it’s 100 percent up to you (yes, you) to keep the waters calm during this exit transition. You don’t want to jeopardize your website, list of prospects/clients, orders coming in and much more by saying the wrong thing or stirring up muddy waters.

Be as diplomatic as possible and sensitive when you ask the webmaster for the controls to your website (such as every login link, username and password associated with every account necessary to maintain your website). No one likes to lose a paying client (you) but sometimes a change is necessary.

Remember the goal… we want the webmaster to “respond” positively and not “react” with hostility regarding your requests.What’s more, we want the webmaster to respond to your request with understanding and support for any and all of your requests to turn the controls (of your website) back over to you so you can either do it yourself or hire someone new.

One more thing, we want the webmaster to do what we “want” not what they “should.” As in, they know they should follow through on your requests when you present them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. So, our wording has to be carefully chosen so they respond to you in a positive way. Here are a few sample ways to communicate with your webmaster when the time comes and you want to fire this person for whatever reason … Here’s what I’d say:

“Yes, I’m looking to bring the web design portion of my business ‘in-house’ so I’d like the information related to maintaining my website, such as domain name access, shopping cart account access, merchant account access. I appreciate your help as I bring more of my business into my office. I’m just trying to save a little money by doing this. The economy seems to dictate that I do this and besides I am interested in being able to manage my site going forward.”

“I’ve ’been rethinking my website and believe that I need to delay building it for a couple months. I guess I am not as ready as I previously thought. I am still making decisions about what the product I plan to sell online. Would you please send me all the username/password access codes for the site plus the shopping cart information. Of course, I want to be sure that you are paid for what you have done to date.”

“Yes, my brother (or other family member) has decided to help me out! You’ve done a lot to get my website started and I believe that my brother can take over the reigns for future building. I really appreciate all the help you’ve provided to get us to this point. Please send those codes to me by eMail …”

“Webmaster (fill in name) I don’t believe that things are working out between us. Our work styles seem to be very diverse. You have the talent, but I’m just not comfortable with the situation. We’ve had this discussion before and now I think that you will agree that I need to make a change. Please send me all the username/password access codes for the site and the shopping cart. ”

“When we agreed to work together on my website, I emphasized that I was in a rush to get it up and running quickly. You/ve done good work so far, but I need the time and focus it requires to create the site in a couple of days. I was given the impression that this was doable. I regret that I need more attention than what you’re able to provide. I can appreciate how busy you are! Please send my username/password access codes for the site and the shopping cart, to me ASAP. Thanks for what you have done thus far.

“I think this project is larger than I imagined in the beginning, so I’ve decided to bring in a team of professionals to help me with my site. They have their own web design department. Hopefully, this takes some pressure off of you. Please send the codes and information we will need to continue the work. Believe me, I would be pleased to recommend you to any prospective client. Thanks for understanding.”

“I am unable o finish building my website with you right now for reasons out of my control. Other aspects of my business require my immediate attention. Would you please send me the codes and my files. Thank you for the work that we were able to accomplish.

Note: A webmaster never needs to know WHY you want to leave should you decide to terminate services. If the webmaster asks for a tip on how he/she can improve their business, be constructive with your suggestions, and keep it short. Then, ask for the information you need and that belongs to you.

Caution, you should have a clause in your contract that addresses termination of services. You don’t want a legal fiasco to deal with. The terms should be short and sweet and terms that you both agreed to before work was started.


Specifically, here’s what to ask should you decide to terminate to your webmaster. Here are some of the items you need to discuss before you ask to have your files back. Upon receipt of them, change the passwords where needed immediately!

FTP LOG IN INFORMATION so you can access your website on the web server and make changes. Your next webmaster will ask you for this information. The information usually looks like this:

FTP Host: __________________
Username: __________________
Password: __________________

WEBSITE HOSTING INFORMATION … a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals/organizations to make their website accessible worldwide.

Website Hosting Company Name: _____________
Website Hosting Company Phone#: ___________
Hosting Company Username: _____________
Hosting Company Password: _____________

Ask the webmaster for the welcome letter the website hosting company sent to you through the webmaster that maintains it.

CPANEL LOGIN INFORMATION allows you to access the Control Panel where you setup and configure your eMail accounts for your domain name. Depending on the web hosting company you have, this information, usually looks like this:

CPANEL URL: yourdomain.com/cpanel
Username: __________________
Password: __________________

DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION LOG IN INFORMATION is the company where you (or your webmaster) registered your domain name(s). You need this information to be able to change the name servers if/when you ever decide to move your website to a different web hosting company. It will look something like this:

Domain Registration Company: __________
(i.e., ReallyCheapNames.com, GoDaddy, NameCheap, NetworkSolutions, 000Domains, etc.)

Account#: ____________
Username: ____________
Password: ____________
PIN#: ______

Other accounts you might ask your webmaster to turn over include:

  1. Shopping Cart Accounts
  2. Merchant Accounts
  3. Audio / Video Website Accounts
  4. Social Media Accounts
  5. PayPal.com Account
  6. PR/Press Release Website Accounts
  7. Webinar / Tele-Seminar Accounts
  8. Joomla (/administrator/index.php) Logins
  9. WordPress (/wp-login.php) Logins

… and others if they apply!

You might ask the webmaster to place all the contents of your website such as images, web files, reference documents, and more on a USB thumb drive (flash drive) or CD/DVD and mail it to you for your records along with any literature, brochures or materials you offered to him in the beginning. Offer to pay for the postage and tracking#. Upon receiving the information, you will want to read the files to ensure that you have credible material to hand over to a new webmaster should you decide to go that route.


Once you receive you all the information you requested from your former webmaster, your next step is to change the passwords on every account the webmaster just turned over to you! Do it the immediately! Do this yourself for your own assurance. Document the new passwords and file them in a place of safe keeping somewhere in your computer where only you can find them and write them down and file them somewhere safe for your protection.


If you owe them money, calculate what they’ve done and pay them or show you don’t owe them, by calculating what they have yet to do. If they have performed “some work,” you might consider paying them “something” for their time. Hey, we all work for a living, and sometimes, we don’t always get what we pay for. But, we do have to respect people’s time and take responsibility for the decisions we make when choosing to work with people!

Remember, this is not like going to the store and returning a product for $10 and getting your money back. Huge corporations can afford to write off “product” that comes back to them. People, i.e., consultants, cannot get back their “time” spent working with a client, unfortunately. People are not to be treated in this fashion, and “time” is something neither one of you can ever get back.

If they spent more than 5 hours working “hands-on” on your project, that’s worth “something” to the webmaster. If you’re not happy with it, that’s okay. Just respect they did put in time and effort on something, that perhaps, they are owed “something” for their time.

And, here comes another tip for you, it’s up to YOU to MONITOR the progress of your webmaster every step of the way. You’re better able to “steer the ship” of your website design project if you keep close tabs on a webmaster’s progress. Check in daily, twice a day, twice a week, three times a week. But, check in! If you don’t, they could spend hours working in a direction you could have turned around if you just would have … checked in.

If you do request a refund for the entire amount of money you paid, consider leaving “some money” in their pocket for their time, depending on how much time you did spend with them. They might not have spent time working on your website (hands-on), but did they spend time with you on the telephone or consulting back and forth with you on your for a few days/weeks? Did you learn anything from them? Did you gain ideas, information or other thoughts that can help you with your business? That’s called “consulting” and that’s worth “something.”

Again, consider paying them for something positive they did do as you pull out of the project altogether.


Great! You did it! Now, that you have all this information in your possession, the new webmaster you hire will ask you for this same information, no doubt. And, guess what? You’ll have it! And, if things go south again with this new webmaster (e.g., you never know how the future will unfold), gosh, at least you’ll have all the username and password information right there to change (again) in preparation for your NEXT webmaster!

About Bart Smith

Bart Smith is the author of several books, professional marketer and self-publishing consultant, a personal coach, and a dynamite, motivational speaker. A self-starting, life-affirming, renaissance man, Bart is an entrepreneur at heart, who also bakes the world's best chocolate chip cookies at BartsCookies.com. He shares his insights, skills, training and knowledge here, on his training website, MyTrainingCenter.com, and helps people make money online with his online marketing shopping cart software, MyMarketingCart.com.

Check out some of Bart's books on business, motivation, networking, coaching, checklists, and personal development.

Books by Bart Smith, MTC Founder

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