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Who Owns a Website
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Posted March 23, 2011 at 10:39AM
When a website is designed/built for you and paid for, who owns it and what rights do you have if you want to move it from the designers host or other host to another company to administer it?
Also what problems can be associated with this action?
Your help would be apreciated as I am a non technical person when it comes to the back end of websites.
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Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:34AM
Thanks for your response, I was repling to the FE when your message came in, all sound advice from you. I will put some words together and see what the outcome is.
I will let you all know the outcome because as you both say I am not the only one to heve been in this situation and the advice you have given has been superb.
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Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:32PM
It sounds to me as if you`re right about the redirect script referred to. This means that the designer still has overall control of the hosting which is no doubt where he may still require some form of payment - resist it. Why would you pay for the hosting of your own domain that has a simple redirect script on it and then pay him for hosting the site on his servers?
He mentioned something in the other post: "as this would prevent most of the functionality of the site from working and would have broken it, as the paths would have changed." This suggests to me that it`s been set up incorrectly or that as he alludes, the site is incompatible with your hosting service which I believe is 123Reg.
Rule number one when designing a site like this is check the compatibility with the host server first. It`s fundamental to the end result. I can also understand that it might be several hours work to rectify the incorrect paths assuming it was possible to ensure compatibility but this isn`t your fault!
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Posted March 24, 2011 at 3:43PM
this designer can't just upload the site to your alternative hosting account.
Give him the login details, ask him to upload, and then, when everything is working OK, change the hosting access password. It's a common approach - there's no advantage to you in having the site pointed to your domain name from another server. The advantage to the designer is that he retains control of the site files, and that's not what you want at all. He could at any time prevent your site from working. It's happened many times before, and is a way that site designers can use to hold a gun to a client's head in a dispute.
It's your site, your domain name, and once this man has been paid his design fee he must relinquish control of the site.
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Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:18PM
The post above by Forum Editor is solid advice and the way to go. Bear in mind search is my field not the law but fairly well established as far as I know.
Unless there are unusual contractual terms (which seems unlikely here). If a designer builds a site for you, once you have paid in full the site belongs to you, content, design, copyright etc. Many developers feel they maintain rights but unless specifically agreed they do not. Enforcing that with no contract plus arguments about extra work may not however be easy.
The domain is a different issue and is a separate legal entity to the site (the files/database). The fact one sits on the other does not confer any legal right as such.
Best move is as others mentioned to try to come to a settlement, even if this means a small payment and even if that feels wrong. Might be cheaper than the alternatives. A little late I know but as stated above and largely for anyone falling upon this, never ever have a website built without a clear and well defined contract.
If you get nowhere, there are a couple of places that might help. Sounds as if the domain is yours and secure but in case:
They are decent people and help free to a fair extent. There is also a specialist website dispute outfit who offer a degree of free help:
Not sure what the exact situation is there but advice is at no cost by the look of things. They also have a separate legal help unit but doesn't seem to be linked as far as I can see, you'll have to ask them.
Still better to avoid both of course, if you do own the domain (sounds likely)that's one problem gone. If you can get hold of the files at any time do so, although if a dispute is in the air, best to get a sign off from the developer.
Bit concerned about how the situation is/might be re pointing the domain, depends what is meant. Also on the host, there have been issues with Presta Shop and a few hosts, including yours and 1&1 I believe. If they are not resolved, might be worth moving to a host who is used to/promotes Presta Shop. Also then likely to see more support if needed.
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Posted April 20, 2011 at 3:38AM
this is also true, in the real world most reputable web designers will provide you with the right to change hosting and supply you with a copy of the website should you require it. and There are some web design companies however that will offer a fixed price design and hosting package for 12 months with an annual renewal, which, if you don`t pay, will result in them removing the site and make it very difficult for you to change suppliers without paying a substantial fee.
Thanks for all you comments!
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