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Who Owns Website

This is a question that comes up from time to time – particularly when new clients come to us. Let’s get right to the answer and then elaborate!


who owns website…or you should anyway. However a little too often we have new clients come to us wanting us to redesign their old website and when we go to transfer the domain name we find that the domain name is in the name of the web designer or design firm.  We’ve contacted designers only to hear that they do so for the security of their clients, etc. However, there is really NO GOOD REASON why a domain name should be registered in any other name – than yours.

The best way to determine IF you own your domain name is to search it in the “WHOIS” database. WHOIS means just what it sounds like; you can find out (pretty much) WHO IS the owner of any domain name on the net. There are MANY WHOIS search tools, and sometimes you may have to search more than one to see the actual data connected with a domain name, however ONE easy one to use is at Network Solutions. You can go here – WHOIS DATABASE – and type in a domain name and determine ownership.  If your domain name was registered through GoDaddy, you may have to go to their WHOIS search tool to see ownership details there. Click here if you’ve determined that your domain name was purchased through them.

There are FOUR basic parts of any domain name. They are:

REGISTRANT (that is the owner of a domain name and it should reflect YOUR NAME if you’re checking on your domain name).

BILLING CONTACT (obviously this is the person who will receive the annual domain name renewal invoices).

TECH CONTACT (This is usually the web hosting firm)

ADMIN CONTACT (This should be whoever is handling your website)

If you purchase a domain name through your web developer, you should make certain that you are indeed listed as the REGISTRANT so that you can move that domain name anytime you like. You should also make certain that the EMAIL ADDRESS under REGISTRANT is your, valid email address…otherwise that too can make things difficult to transfer if the need ever arises.


Over the last few years we’ve seen less and less issues arising wherein a web designer makes a claim that he or she owns the website content because they built it. However it still comes up from time to time where some rather protective web design claims that they own the content that they designed. That simply is not the case, unless you have not yet PAID for the design work that was done.  However if you have PAID for the design work, THEN it is yours. It is just that simple.

If you ever have an issue with a web designer who claims that you cannot move your website because they own the work, try this argument. Ask them what kind of vehicle they drive. Then respond with something like, “I’ll be by your place in a little bit because Ford says they own your truck!” They catch your meaning pretty quickly unless they’re being purposely obtuse!

To be clear, if you have paid us or any other designer to build a website AND you’ve paid for it…then everything about that website – the design, layout, artwork, imagery, programming, content pages, SEO – EVERYTHING is yours. If you’re needing to move your website and seem to having a dispute with your designer and can’t handle that conversation because you just “don’t know the lingo” – call our team here at AppNet and we’ll get that handled quickly for you.

About Mike Doble

Meet Mike… Owner I have been in the business of advertising and marketing since 1974. I began developing websites in 1995 and subsequently founded in mid 1996. I have developed hundreds of websites personally - mostly in those early years - and guided most all of them to top rankings.Over the following decade I was fortunate to assemble a very talented team of designers, developers, programmers, search engine consultants and support staff who have taken us to the top of our profession. AppNet ranks in the top one-percent nationally for search engine ranking and web design services.The best thing about my job is the fact that I get to speak to brilliant people nearly every day who share their great ideas with me. With very few exceptions, these people exhibit the entrepreneurial spirit that is necessary to succeed in business in these challenging and competitive times.