If you have a webstie or a blog it is important that you state what you would like to happen to it when you die. Many of us invest a lot of time and energy into our website and blogs. These may be for both business and personal reasons.
Our website and blogs can become great resources for friends and family to visit once we have gone. They can also have a positive influence on our digital legacy and how we are remembered. If you do want your website to remain live it is important to make plans for it prior to death. This should include passing on admin access, billing information and change the ownership the website’s URL and hosting into the beneficiaries name. Ideally information your website and your wishes surrounding it’s future management, ownership etc would be documented in your will. This will help make your wishes known and easier to follow
- You don’t mind what happens to your blog or website – Tell your next of kin that you do not mind what happens to it
- You would like your blog or website to be deleted – Tell your next of kin that you would like your blog and account to be deleted. Tell someone your login details in order for this to occur. If you are paying for hosting ensure that your next of kin knows your password.
- You would like your blog or website to remain live – Tell your next of kin your wishes and provide them with all of the relevant login information. If you host your own website you will also need to pass your server and domain registrant information. Both your URL and the intellectual property created may be of value. If you feel this is the case you may want to state “the URL and all of the intellectual property of the content created belongs to the person (insert name) who I pass down the website / blog (insert URL) to.” You should state your wishes in your will and speak to the benefiter about updating the ownership of the website in advanced, ongoing server costs, URL renewals etc
- Consider donating your business website – You may want to consider donating your business to a relevant business or to a third party. This may be a family member or friend of yours who works within the same sector or provides similar services. If you do plan to carry this task out you may want to inform the benefiter and teach them how to manage the website from an administrative perspective (if you have both the time and knowledge to do so). You should state your wishes in your will and speak to the benefiter about updating the ownership of the website in advanced.
- Sell your business website – If you plan to sell your business you may want to state how you would recommend selling it. By appointing a business partner to help facilitate this process, life may be easier on those left behind. You may also want to consider attaining legal advice regarding the ownership and passing on your business website.
What to do with someones website when die (check list)
If no instructions are given about what to do with someones website once they die you may want to carryout the following:
- Speak to other friends and family about what the deceased may have wanted.
- Find out if the website / blog is self hosted (paid for) or hosted for free.
- If the website is self hosted make sure that the hosting is paid for to ensure that it remains live.
- Create a backup of the deceased’s website or blog using a free tool called ‘Site Sucker’.
- Ensure sure that the deceased’s URL (website address) and hosting is paid for. Generally speaking (paid for) hosting is paid for each month and the URL will need to be renewed every two years.
- If you do not know who the URL was registered through you may want to use the tool ‘WhoIs‘ to find out. Simply add the URL into the search box https://who.is
- Try and find out the username and password for the website. Once attained you or a friend will be able to update the website on the deceased’s behalf. Tasks may include sending out a blog post stating that the website author has died and/or updating the website’s design, content management system etc.
What to do if a website by the deceased has been removed
If you are trying to access the website of the deceased and it no longer appears we recommend that you first use ‘WhoIs’ and contact the hosting provider. If the website or blog has been permanently removed you may want to view the ‘Internet Archive‘ to see if a copy of it still exists. https://archive.org/index.php. If a copy does exist you can then use SiteSucker to create a backup on your own hard drive to ensure that it is preserved. To read a tutorial of how to backup a website using SiteSucker click here.