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Surprise! Your Website May Be a Rental

your website may be a rental

Have you ever wanted to switch hosts? Maybe your requirements have changed, or you're looking to try a new web company. Ready to part ways, you contact your host and request the files you need to transfer your site. Not so fast— they tell you they can't give you your website because of their "trademark" on your "design". (They mean your website!). They say all they can give you is a file containing your text and pictures, but not your actual site. Unfortunately, you no longer have a website! Instead of being able to transfer your site and make changes to it as needed, you now need to start over from scratch.

Some companies out there will not give you, the client, the information and access you need to have your site transferred to another provider. They claim that they in fact "have a trademark" on the "design", and therefore your entire website. This means that if you should want to switch web hosts for any reason, you will not be able to— at least if you want to keep your website as is. It doesn't seem fair to have your property withheld, but the reality is, if your web company is not granting access to your website, and making it easy for you to transfer your files, then you have no way of keeping what you paid for.

Why would anyone want to buy something, and only "own" it with conditions? Web companies know you'd rather have control over your site and be able to host it wherever you want, but preventing this is one way to keep clients in the books. In other words, you may not want to stick it out with your host, but you'll have to if you want to retain the website that you and your clients are familiar with. Holding websites hostage is a coercive tactic and companies know it. It is not standard practice (far from it!), and should be avoided like the plague. Sadly, many business owners today purchase a web design package without knowing that they in fact will never get to "own" their site; it will stay online only for as long as hosting fees are paid to the company that built it, and only for as long as they wish to do business together. No way to transfer it.

You'd be surprised to know just how many companies are doing this, including many of our own competitors in the "hunting web design" and "outdoor web design" industry. More often than not, clients come to us needing a completely new website, even when they're simply looking to switch hosts.

A reputable web design company that respects its clients should, in our opinion, be willing to let them transfer their website to be hosted by a third party, but this is not always the case. Don't assume that you'll be able to keep your website, or that you own the copyright to your design. Next time you are selecting a web company, make sure to ask whether you'll be able to transfer it, and whether or not your design is in fact yours.

We invite you to get in touch with us for a quote, and to see why we're the best choice for your outdoor web design project.

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