January 21, 2022
Laptop on a desk with This Account Has Been Suspended on the screen

One of the most disturbing things to see when logging into your site is a banner saying, “Your account is suspended, contact your hosting provider for more information.”

It’s inconvenient if you have a personal blog with little to no visitors. It’s a complete disaster if you host multiple ecommerce stores for your clients. Getting hammered with calls from your clients whose sites are not working is stressful. Each minute their store is unavailable, they are losing revenue — and so will you if you are unable to fix it.

Knowing what causes suspension and how to deal with it is as important as knowing how to prevent it.

Keep reading to learn what to do if your site has been suspended.

“Account suspended” meaning

What does “This account has been suspended” mean? You get this message when your host suspends your account. There are a number of reasons why you may be getting a “this account is suspended” message from your hosting provider. There are two main reasons why it happens — a violation of a policy or being involved in malicious activities. You may have violated the Acceptable Use Policy or Terms of Use, which results in a suspension or even termination of your account if nothing has been done to rectify the situation.

Common ways to get your site suspended

Here is a list of typical reasons your account may be suspended.

Your site contains malicious software

Malware, short for malicious software, is one of the most frequent reasons why hosting companies suspend websites. It poses a serious security threat for both your site visitors and the server your site resides on.

Therefore, to limit the effect it can have on their network, hosting companies take down the website as soon as possible. They then inform the client about it, requesting them to clean up the infected files or to handle links leading to phishing pages.

Trademark or DMCA infringement

If you happen to use someone else’s work on your site, inadvertently or not, this will draw the attention of trademark and copyright protection services. Such incidents will be reported to your hosting provider with the request to remove the infringing content. Examples of such content can be logos, photos, music, or even names.

Acceptable Use Policy or Terms of Use violation

Very few people actually read Terms of Use or Acceptable Use Policy in full and thoroughly, as they are written in judicial terminology and are hard to read. However, they list the guidelines that users must stick to if they want to have services with the hosting company. That being said, any content that violates laws or is inappropriate will not be welcomed.

While some points are clear, such as gore content or calls to commit hate crimes, some cases are disputable. For example, some hosting companies may not allow firearm store websites on their networks. While guns are not illegal, some may look at such stores as encouraging and promoting violence.

Another example is sending mass marketing emails. It is not illegal per se, but some hosting providers consider it spam and may suspend your account if they find you exceed the limits.

Past due bill

Like any business, your hosting company wants to get paid for the services it renders. Naturally, the inability to pay on time will lead to the interruption of these services. In most cases, it will be account-wide, so if you have multiple sites hosted, all of them will be affected. Prolonged suspension in this case will eventually evolve into termination, as storing data takes up server space, which is not free.

What to do if your site has been suspended

The best way to start fixing your site’s suspended status is by contacting the support staff of your hosting company — the fastest way is to call in or start a live chat conversation. They will check the reason why your site is suspended and suggest an appropriate solution for each situation.

1. Clean up infected files

Generally, if your site contains malware, you’ll receive a ticket in which a security engineer will give you a summary of the incident, which will likely include:

  • Affected domain.
  • The path to the infected file/directory.
  • Steps they took to deactivate the threat.

Now you need to follow the instructions given by the security team — clean up the infected files, make your website secure, and ensure it does not happen again. The easiest way to handle it is to restore clean versions of the files from a backup, but make sure this backup is not infected as well.

Once your site is no longer affected by malicious software, reach out to your hosting support team so they can verify it and reactivate your site.

2. Remove any infringing content

As in the previous case, you may be alerted of such incidents via tickets/email. Even though websites are not suspended immediately, it might be possible that you missed their notification. The solution here is fairly easy — remove the infringing content or replace it with public domain content.

As soon as your website does not display any infringing content, it should be put back online after you report back to the support team that the incident is over.

3. Remove any Terms of Use violations

Removing suspension caused by a Terms of Use violation depends on the context around it.

If there’s a comment in your blog that contains harassment or defamation, you will be requested to delete it. If someone posts personal information of someone else’s, you will need to remove it to have your site re-enabled.

If your site has been suspended, check your email for an alert, which may give you the reason behind the suspension. Then, get in touch with the support team and request access to your website to make changes to the problematic content.

4. Pay overdue invoices

As a rule, hosting companies send several notifications of your account being past due before suspending the account. If that happens, the only way to rectify the situation is to pay the bill. Usually, it is the only thing you can do in your customer portal while the account is suspended. Some providers have an option of taking credit card payments over the phone in case you cannot access the billing panel immediately.

After the bill has been paid, the services should be back online within a few minutes.

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Ways to prevent suspensions before they happen

Being able to identify the issue and fix it might be good, but preventing it in the first place is better. Here are a few tips that might help you avoid suspension of your account.

1. Secure your site

One of the best practices for securing your website environment is changing passwords frequently for everything — for MySQL, WordPress admin, and FTP access. Using a password generator will ensure the password cannot be subjected to a brute force attack.

Make sure to review permissions for your directories and files — directories should be set to 755 and files set to 644. Typically support can check and apply the correct permissions to all the core files.

Update your WordPress core to the latest stable WordPress version. The same goes for plugins and themes. It eliminates security risks associated with known vulnerabilities for old versions.

Most hosting companies offer add-ons or plugins that can harden your website’s security. It might be a good idea to review what they offer and actually purchase the security package.

2. Use copyright-free content

To avoid a Trademark or DMCA takedown you should be mindful of what content there is on your site. Do not put copyrighted content on your website, or if you cannot do without it, seek permission first. The best way for music or video clips would be to contact the content owner via email asking for formal permission. Photos can be bought on stock photography websites to be used freely on your site.

The free alternative is to use public domain or copyright-free content — no one can send in DMCA infringement notices for something they do not own.

3. Learn the Terms of Use

When choosing a hosting company, as a pre-sale question you can ask if they allow hosting contradictory content such as related to guns, or even dating sites, which can sometimes be suspected of human trafficking.

If your site is already hosted and you want to avoid being suspended for violations, it is a good idea to watch over sections in which other people can leave comments or feedback. If not modded properly, these sections can contain links to phishing sites or offensive remarks.

4. Pre-pay your account

If there is an option to set up automatic payments, do it. It will save you a lot of trouble logging in every month to pay the bill.

Also, make sure to check your inbox as often as possible, as hosting providers send out several emails before your account gets suspended for non-payment. If you are late on your payment, you can reach out to the billing department to obtain an extension.

Alternatively, if your budget is calculated for a year upfront, you can take advantage of the yearly billing cycle. At some hosting companies it also involves discounts.

However, if your hosting company allows only month-to-month billing, it should be possible to top up your balance for several months ahead.

Protect your business with Nexcess

In the highly competitive world of business, having your website suspended cuts into revenue. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to keep your site up, performing, and secure.

With Nexcess fully managed hosting, we help you do just that.

  • Security is the cornerstone of our company. We’ll protect your websites from any kind of malicious activity.
  • With the help of their expertise and 30-day daily backups, our professional support team will mitigate if not eliminate the threat of hackers’ attacks.
  • Our friendly billing team managing one of the most flexible billing systems will never let your business go down.

We got your back. Check out our fully managed WordPress plans to get started today.

Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds

Andrew is a Solutions Consultant for the Liquid Web Family of Brands, helping prospects choose the best solution. He is a technology enthusiast and is always looking for ways to expand his knowledge in different areas. Andrew has a passion for languages — both programming and human.

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