What happens to your website when you die?
The answer is simple. Unless you have made arrangements for your website to stay on line after your passing to stay online, it will disappear forever.
Managing your website after you have passed away
Running a website is a complicated business. There are domain name registration fees to pay yearly, hosting fees to pay yearly, content to maintain and emails from your website to deal with. But what happens when you are no longer able to manage these aspects of your website, either through serious illness or death?
If you own a personal website, it’s very likely that you are the only person who knows how to manage the site. For example, you will know the contact details of the designer who set up your website, you will know who to pay the domain name registration fees to, you will know who needs to be paid maintain the hosting. If your site is linked to any online Payment system such as PayPal, you will know the login details and which of your accounts are linked. You will also know who to contact if you would like to make changes to the site. Managing and maintaining these important details can be daunting to a website owner when alive, but when deceased, the prospect of maintaining your site becomes remote unless you have made some provision for the site to continue after your death.
So one of the first things you should decide when you set up a website is how long you hope that it will continue for and whether or not you want your website to continue running when you die. If you want it to continue, you will need to make plans for its ongoing management.
Making arrangements for managing your site when you are not able to do so
If you do want to keep the website running after your death, you need to nominate a person (a website trustee) who you trust will carry out your wishes once you’re gone, and provide them with all the information they need (login details and passwords), and to provide for them financially so that they can continue to pay the site management costs.
Things you can do help your website trustee are:
1. Make sure you have a copy of your website stored on a CD and kept in a safe place or in cloud storage. The more copies you have the better.
2. Write down the contact details of your web designer, hosting company and domain name registrar. Make sure you include any login names and passwords.