Who Owns My Website. Me or You.
Published: January 23, 2021
Once your website is done and you've paid your web designer or designing service, it's natural to assume that because you paid, that you own the website. It makes total sense, but the truth is far more complicated. In reality, different people own different parts and each project varies depending on what's in the contract.
Most of the basic website building blocks you won't own, but don't be alarmed because you don't need to. These things include:
- Web Server: this is the computer system that runs a server platform that your site is hosted on
- Web Server Platform: hosted on a server, this is the software that runs everything
- Database Software: you don't need to own the database, but you do own the data that is stored on here if you authored it
- Source Code: the programming code that is the cement to the building blocks of your website. You only own this if you wrote it
And the one that might surprise you the most is you don't own your domain - you're leasing it in a contract with the domain service much like how you pay a monthly contract for but don't own your phone number.
Meanwhile, things you should own are:
- Visual Design: The layout and color scheme, graphics that make up your site
- Text Content: All website text
- Photos: If you took the photos or previously own your other branding, you'll own these too.
So when you're getting your website done, check the contract and make sure you retain ownership of everything you'll need. Also, it's worth mentioning that when you get your site done on a service like Squarespace that you'll own significantly less of these things - usually only the assets you owned previously.