In Need of Urgent Advice from Webmasters - Spambot Issue

They have: 1 posts

Joined: Jun 2013

Hello, I'm a website owner, and have a situation with my web engineer/host. My company hired him to redesign our existing website and build a new CMS. He also convinced us to use him as a host, and we moved our site to his server prior to our re-launch. Since the redesign we haven't needed his services (except once, when his server crashed), and simply pay for web hosting. Two days ago, spambots began attacking our site, posting an average of three to four spam posts a minute. We have been trying to delete the posts manually, but it's become unmanageable. We decided the best thing to do would be to have a captcha built into the site (unless our engineer had a better solution). My web manager contacted our engineer this morning, and he said he could install a captcha. He said it was an eight-hour job and he could get to it "next week." We are literally under attack, and have two people taking turns working around the clock to kill this spam, and cannot wait a week. I contacted a friend in the web community, and she had someone who could do the work right away. I called our engineer (only my second time dealing with him) and requested the site log-in information, and he said he was too busy to talk to me, and that I needed to submit my request to him via email. That was at 2 p.m. today; it's 11:30 p.m. and he has not replied. My company owns the domain, and the site, and we do not have any kind of maintenance contract with our engineer/host. I have idea what to do now. I do not have the manpower to have people kill each spam post manually, and literally have someone waiting to help me, but my engineer has me blocked. I want to deal with this issue quickly and professionally. What are my rights as a customer? How do I gain access to my website to get this problem resolved? Thank you so much!

Megan's picture

She has: 11,421 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Oh boy! That's a tough one.

I take it this is a custom built CMS? Firstly, that probably isn't necessary from the impression I'm getting. Something like Wordpress or Drupal or another off-the-shelf solution would have been a better route to go. That also would have ensured that spam protection is quick and easy to implement.

It sounds like this person isn't interested in keeping you happy as a client. What you need to do is find someone else to help you and get your site onto another server asap. Assuming you have access to your domain registration details, you could point the domain to a new server and set up a quick place holder with a message that the site will be back soon. Then get back to this developer and try to coerce him into giving you the files & associated database content for your site. Threaten legal action if necessary. Hopefully you have some documentation of previous correspondence with him (agreement to host the site on your behalf, payment for services, etc.)

Next time you're working with a developer, get a contract in writing, and some off-site back-ups. My partner and I are working with a client to set up some back-ups with a third party for this very reason.

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