Looking for ideas here...

OK, customer runs a manufacturing business. A local web developer solicits them, convinces them to let him move their website onto his system.

He then promptly disappears. No phone calls, no e-mail, no anything for 3 months by the time they called me looking to fix things.

Since we have no access to FTP or anything except the OpenCart admin, we agree to a basic rebuild of the website and a redeployment onto a SiteGround account that they control. Dev process goes smoothly, customer is happy.

Come time to launch and...naturally, the previous dev pointed the nameservers to his account, which will not allow the business to make changes because they aren't the account owner.

"We can work around this," I figure, since all we *really* need to do is change the A records, and we can leave the e-mail set up as it is (hopefully).

Well, that hopefully is kind of true—turns out instead of being set up in GoDaddy (where the domain is registered) it's set up in Gmail—and the customer doesn't know which account is the Google admin account associated with the domain. For all we know it could be the previous developer—again.

I've been able to dig up the A, MX, and TXT records, and I'm seeing references to dreamhost.com (where the nameservers are at) in the SPF data in the TXT records. Am I going to have to update these records, or will it be safe to just leave them as they are and simply update the A record as originally planned?

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    He might be dead.

    Also can you just edit other people's owned domains like that?
    If the developer owns it, it's shouldn't exactly be possible to change that. And it will be difficult even with a court by your side.
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    Perhaps you can install a proxy on the old host?
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    @HitWRight You might be onto something with the dead bit, though I have no idea how to begin looking into that right now.

    As for the domain records, when he moved everything he pointed the domain to his hosting service's nameservers, so without him logging in there's no editing the zone files there.

    The customer owns the domain registration, but in order to not lose their Gmail setup for the domain I'm not sure if simply copying the files will be enough or if we're going to have to go through the authentication process again. Customer doesn't appear to know who is the admin account with Google for those purposes, which has me slightly concerned it might once again be that same dev who's gone missing.
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    @ScriptCoded Any interaction with the old host is sadly a no-go. I spoke with them to try and see if I could have their technical team upload a file to allow us to use a service to transfer the data out of the store and got a hard no—even if we could verify ownership of the domain and associated business.
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    @Kaji @HitWRight Edit after the 5 minute limit: Not sure if I can just copy the MX and TXT records to a new nameserver that we set or if other steps are required.

    Didn't mean to say "files" originally; we can't access FTP.
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    If your client owns the domain you can legally have them change the registrar. Therefore you can change the name servers. The google mail account forget it. Set them something else up, consult with their internal iT to sort this maybe office 365 seems to be what lazy IT people use these days. Get control of the domain is key and it’s not that difficult.
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