Who Owns My Website?
Questions about property ownership are typically easy to answer. Do I own my car? It’s titled in my name, so yes. Do I own my house? I’m paying rent, so no. But when it comes to a web property, the waters get significantly more muddied. The question of website ownership is not always clear – and, unfortunately, many shady companies are happy to keep it that way.
At Fusion Group USA, we’re big believers in honest, straightforward pricing. That’s why we’re putting this short blog post together about website ownership. We want to be as honest and upfront as possible – because we don’t like being shady. So, here’s our best attempt at giving easy answers to some common questions about website ownership:
Do I Own My Site?
We’ll start with the 64-thousand-dollar question: do I own my website? And here’s the hard truth: if you’re paying a continuing monthly fee (not a payment plan, but a true monthly fee) then you do not own your website. The company that built your site owns it and they are leasing it to you – and most likely at an exorbitant rate.
But if you bought a website (whether you paid all at once or used a payment plan) you most likely own your site. There might be some complications depending on your contract terms, but you generally are free to take your website wherever you want.
So, here’s the deal about site ownership: if you’re renting your site, then you are betting on your business to fail. Do you plan on being in business in five years? Ten years? If the answer is yes, then consider what you will pay in rental fees over that time frame. It adds up fast! Unless you plan to shut your doors within the next nine months, you’ll be money ahead to find a web designer that provides complete site ownership!
That’s the big one, but there are some other factors to consider when asking about website ownership.
What About My Domain Name?
You don’t own your domain name. But that’s ok, nobody owns theirs. Each website has a unique URL – in our case it’s fusiongroupusa.com – and they are registered with the domain registrar. According to Wikipedia, “domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.”
This means you’re just contracting the exclusive use of your domain name from the registrar. But there’s good news in all this: as long as you keep your registration up to date (by not letting it expire), then you continue to maintain exclusive use of that domain. And it is illegal for your web design company to hold your domain name hostage. So, if you’re looking to move to a new provider, you shouldn’t have to worry about your domain name.
What About Hosting Fees?
Maybe you know you own your site, but you’re still paying an annual fee. What’s up with that? There are still fees to be paid, even if you own your site and the biggest one is the hosting fee. Your site needs to live somewhere, and that’s where hosting comes in. Unless you want to purchase, run, and maintain your own web server (that’s a lot of money and work) it is best to pay someone to host your site for you.
With hosting, you get what you pay for. So, you can find dirt cheap web hosting services – but your site speed (and SEO) will suffer because of it. But the good news is that high-end hosting doesn’t have to break the bank. Usually, annual fees for high-quality hosting runs a few hundred dollars, regardless of who built your site.
With Fusion Group USA, our annual hosting fees also includes web updates and in-depth quality control. Just one more way we try to go the extra mile for our clients! There are, of course, other questions about pricing that you should understand before signing a web design contract; but these basics will get you pointed in the right direction.
From Shady to Straight-Forward Website Ownership
There are thousands of shady companies offering their shoddy work, and their prices might seem low until you start to do the math on a monthly site lease. Fortunately, there are also companies that offer sophisticated websites with straight-forward pricing. The choice should be clear.
We strive to make our pricing as transparent and fair as possible. You want our clients to know exactly what they’re getting and for how much. That’s because we’re not here to make a quick buck – we’re here to stay and we stand behind our work. If you want to truly own an awesome website, we’re just the company for you! Contact us today to get started.