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How to Shutdown a Website (a Detailed Step by Step Guide)

how to shutdown a website
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If you are reading this article, you probably want to shut down a website that you no longer wish to keep running. But, how exactly would you perform the shutdown? Here’s a step by step guide with different methods to shutdown a website. Let’s get started.

Method #1 – Redirect Method (redirect domain)

In this method, to shutdown a website, you have to redirect the URL where your Website is hosted to another URL. The URL could be any other page with similar content or any webpage of your choice.

Doing this would redirect the visitors to another URL, and won’t display your Website to the end-users when they visit your Website URL.

Here are the steps to shut down a website with the Redirect Method.

Step 1: Log in to your hosting account

Step 2: Navigate to the domains area and select your domain

Step 3: Click on the DNS Management Settings of your domain and navigate to the Domain forwarding section.

add domain forwarding
option to add domain forwarding

Step 4: Under the forwarding section, click on “Add.”

Step 5: Now, enter the URL of the domain where you want the domain to be redirected. Make sure you select the 301 redirect to redirect the URL permanently.

domain forwarding
301 redirect domain

Step 6: Click on Save

For a WordPress website, another alternative could be installing a redirect plugin and forward the URL using permanent 301 redirects.

Congratulations, now your Website is no more accessible to the end-users and would seem shut down.

Method #2 – Delete the domain from hosting account

By deleting the domain from your hosting account, your users will see a “this site cannot be reached” error when they visit the domain URL. Below is the screenshot of the error it would display.

website shutdown error message
website not reachable message

This would confirm that your Website is no more reachable and shutdown permanently.

Here are the steps to delete a domain from your hosting account.

Step 1: Log in to your hosting account

Step 2: Navigate to the “My Products” page and click on domains

Step 3: Select the domain you want to delete from the list and click on “Manage Domain.”

Step 4: Scroll to the settings where you can see the “delete domain option.”

delete domain
delete domain option

Step 5: Click on the “Delete domain.” Uncheck the box where it is asked to transfer the domain to another registrar, and confirm the deletion.

Your domain is now deleted and will display the “not reachable” error whenever accessed. Your website is not shut down.

Method #3 – Create a goodbye page for the visitors

Description: In this method, we will and create a page draft a message on that page displaying that your Website is being shut down with the shutdown reason. Here’s a sample message that you may present to your end-users:

Our Website has been shut down permanently. Thank you for your support.

Step 1: Create a landing page where it’s mentioned that your Website is now shutdown.

Step 2: Make that page as your homepage

Step 3: Redirect all the inner pages to the homepage. So whenever accessed, any inner page URL will be redirected to your homepage with the website shutdown message, confirming that you have shutdown the Website.

Note: The message will only be displayed until your domain expires.

Method #4 – Delete the files and Let the domain expire

If you think that your Website is no more maintained. Delete all the files and let the domain expire on its own.

Your best bet would be to cancel the hosting plan where your website domain is hosted. But, make sure there are no other domains hosted in the hosting plan.

Here are the steps to delete the files:

Step 1: Log in to the cpanel of the Website.

Step 2: Go the file manager

Step 3: Find the Root directory of your Website

Step 4: Select all the files from the root directory and click on delete.

Your Website will now throw a “404 not found” error. The domain will expire if you do not wish to renew, confirming your Website is shutdown.

Method #5 – Contacting the registrar to shutdown the Website

This method will help you detect the registrar (if you didn’t register the Website and don’t have access to your domain) and asking for domain deletion.

Step 1: Visit who.is to find the contact information of the registrar

whois registrar
whois record of a registrar

Step 2: Contact the registrar and explain the reasons to shutdown your Website.

Follow the steps provided by the registrar, and they can help shutdown your Website in no time.

Tips to follow while shutting down a website:

  1. Don’t forget to disallow the search engines to crawl your Website. You can do this by making the changes in the robots.txt file in your root directory.
  2. While shutting down the Website, make sure you take the backup of all the files and the database, just in case you wish to transfer the files to another domain.
  3. When the Website is shut down, announce the same on all the social media channels of the Website.

Conclusion

So, these were some of the easiest methods to shut down a website. If any of these methods helped you, or if you have any questions to shutdown a website, feel free to leave a comment.

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