Were you under the impression that you are the legal owner of your website? Want to know the various components of websites and understand who owns what?

We cover the basics of website ownership in this infographic.

We break things down as follows:

  • Web server
  • Web server platform
  • Content management system (CMS)
  • Database software
  • Source code
  • HTML / CSS / JavaScript
  • Visual design
  • Text content
  • Imagery
  • Browser
  • Domain name

Check out the infographic for more detail.

It’s a great feeling having your own digital space.

It’s something of a second home – an opportunity to create an amazing and creative online environment where visitors can really get to know you and your business. All from the palm of their hands.

And you’ve already decided not to do it alone; you know best results come from investing in professionals who know how to get the job done properly. That’s why you’ve done your research to locate the best people to create the best website.

After a few days of work, the professionals are pleased to hand the website over to you. You’re proud to call it your own. And you’re even more excited to encourage customers to visit your website. This is your website, after all. And you have paid good, hard-earned money for it.

But is it really yours?

Complete, full legal ownership of a website is something of a misnomer that exists when clients are given access to their website to manage, add content, and share around for other people to enjoy and interact with.

The key issue that results in this is limited understanding of what exactly constitutes a website – the building blocks that enable the existence of your website in the first place.

And it’s here where hierarchies of legal ownership begin to reveal themselves.

When you visit your website as anyone would, what you are looking at is the result of behind-the-scenes work that you may not have been aware of.

To bring what you have to say to the public, your website needs (at least) a server, a server platform, a domain, a content management system, a source code, and a browser to make it all happen.

Typically, you won’t own any of these. These are owned by multi-national companies that have monopolised the website serving and hosting industry.

If you were to take on the software and hardware requirements to do all of this yourself, you’d quickly find your money disappearing.

However, it’s not the end of the world. Website ownership is much more than a faraway data centre you’ll probably never visit. There are a few components you may be able to call your own – from visual design, text content, programming, and photography (if you took the photographs yourself).

When you pay for a website to be made, you are effectively initiating a contract to place your website online. From here, you are given permission to license and use intellectual property of the website itself, and/or the platform used to build it.

True website ownership derives typically from visual elements – and only then if you designed and created it yourself.

It’s good to know.