Have you gotten the dreaded “This Account Has Been Suspended” notice?
The scenario usually goes something like this. Monday morning, you hop on your favorite device with a fresh cup of coffee to manage your website only to be greeted with your worst nightmare. Your website is gone. Instead of viewing your awesome website (hopefully designed by Agate Fire Creative) you are seeing a notice that “This Account Has Been Suspended”!
First, take a deep breath and don’t panic. In most instances, your website is intact and recoverable. Any reputable web hosting company is more than happy to assist their customers in quickly resolving this issue.
Reasons why your account could be suspended
There might be a number of reasons for receiving the “This Account Has Been Suspended” notice on your website. Let’s review each further.
It may surprise you to learn that lack of payment is the number one most common reason for a website suspension.
Web hosting companies try to avoid billing issues by sending out email notices to clients ahead of time or setting up automatic payments. These emails may not reach their addressees’ due to sophisticated filters, spam catchers, email address changes, and other such reasons. Check your email including any spam folders or filters to see if you missed an invoice. Even if you have automated billing in place issues can arise from expired credit cards or billing address changes.
Contact your web hosting provider or log in to your web hosting account to verify your contact and billing information. Catch up on your payment(s) and in most instances, you’ll be back in business in no time.
For everyone’s protection web hosting companies are very diligent in monitoring websites for policy or terms-of-use violations. Quite often you should receive prior notice; however, depending on the severity of the violation, you may not receive any prior notification about the suspension.
Policy violations include copyright infringements, illegal content such as pirated movies, music, and software, adult content or using your associated email account(s) for phishing and spamming.
Don’t scold the messenger. If an official DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown complaint is filed against a hosting client, the hosting provider has to take action to ensure the material is removed or until a counter-notice has proven successful in a court of law. Trust me, it happens. Get in touch with me if you want to hear my horror story over six, yes 6, little words.
Phishing is just black-hat practice and is illegal in many states. Yet, oftentimes business’s find themselves violating spamming laws without even realizing it. The CAN-SPAM Act sets the rules for commercial email and establishes requirements for commercial messages. If you are unsure about the regulations, you can learn more from the Federal Trade Commission’s article, CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business. If you plan to send bulk emails to your members or subscribers we highly encourage the use of an email marketing vendor such as Aweber, MailChimp, Active Campaign or Constant Contact.
Like any other computer application, your website uses resources such as disk space (storage), memory, CPU, and bandwidth (data transfer). If your website is using up too many resources, it affects the performance of other sites hosted on the same server.
This type of suspension typically doesn’t happen overnight, unless you’ve gone viral suddenly and crashed the server. Reputable hosting companies will send warning messages regarding your resource usage. In most cases, this is viewed as a good thing. Simply put, your website traffic is growing and so are your hosting server needs. Contact your hosting provider for an upgrade.
If this resource overage is a surprise that leads to our next topic. You may have been hacked.
Hacked Account or Malware
This also circles back to policy violations. You may be operating on the up and up, but hackers are likely looking to use your server’s resources for something pretty shady. If a hosting company detects a hack or malware for the safety and security of the system and visitors they may suspend your account without notice to prevent traffic to and from your website.
Hacked sites happen! It’s a fact of life. Get in touch with your web developer and hosting company to restore the website to good standing. You do have good backups right? If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla have you been exercising proper maintenance routines to patch security holes and protect yourself from future hacks? Now would be a good time to review and document those best practices.
Any downtime for your website is potentially damaging to your reputation and your bottom line. Getting your website back online is the top priority. First and foremost, get in touch with your web hosting company or web developer as quickly as possible to determine the cause of the suspension, resolve those issues, and implement steps to prevent future suspensions.
If you feel stuck and don’t even know the right questions to ask or even who to ask, call us, we’ll be happy to dive in and help.
Furthermore, if the thought of ongoing website maintenance is too time-consuming or overwhelming, check out our monthly Managed WordPress Maintenance and Hosting Plans, where we handle all the technical details for you including disaster recovery.