Legal Implications of hosting your website with a hosting company


I'm not sure if my question is a bit paranoid, but still need to at least hear that I am, if so.

I am considering starting a little software development company. Initially I want to host a small website where a certain amount of informational content (like framework setups + documentation) will be available for download.

My question is: will the hosting company I host with, have any claim to any of the content on my site, especially if I created the site myself?

Alternatively, if I were to choose a hosting company where they create the site for you but you manage it, then how would the question above relate? (ie, I didn't create the site myself).

These questions are based on assumption that I would have already registered my company as a bussiness by this time. This also leads me to a what came first "chick or the egg" question: Ideally I should choose a company name that I can uniquelly register as a bussiness and also as a domain name. Is Google sufficient enough to give an indication of uniqueness in these two areas?
What would be the best way to proceed with this in order to satisfy the above mentioned criteria?

I would also like to know if ownership of the domain registered name will reside with me if I decide to leave hosting company.

Thank you in advanced and thank you for reading

Legal Name

asked Nov 18 '11 at 14:55
11 points
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3 Answers


Any good hosting company will have a well-established and clear set of terms, including any of: Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, Service Level Agreement, and a Privacy Policy.

Terms of Service generally establish the rules by which the company is obligated to serve you according to what you pay for, and what is advertised, etc.

Acceptable Use Policies generally outline what you are and are not allowed to do.

Service Level Agreements connect you and the service provider with protection: you cannot ask more than is contracted/agreed for, and the company compensate if there is a service failure on their part (e.g. a refund policy).

Privacy Policies detail the use and storage and need for personal information or data.

So: what's it to you? Check their policies and terms. Good web hosts will clearly state that the data you upload is yours, not theirs, and that you maintain the rights to it. If they don't, ask them and get a declaration in writing that you maintain ownership of your content.

As for domain names, they are not connected with your hosting (unless their terms state otherwise). Some hosts offer domain registration with their hosting, but as good practice I like to separate the two.

Good domain registrars are experts at registering domains, and good web hosts are experts at hosting your website. They are two very different tasks. If you combine those, make sure in their terms that if something happens to your hosting account or domain or you change/terminate something, you can keep the other if you wish.

Here's a good example from a very, very reputable web host, Rackspace: -- Not all hosts' are this detailed, but not all hosts are this big, either.

answered Nov 18 '11 at 15:24
268 points


The content is yours so no need to worry.

One thing, make sure you have a backup elsewhere, otherwise if your web hosting accounts get deleted, disabled etc then you have the content backed up.

answered Nov 18 '11 at 15:50
Smart Company Software
22 points


Without reading your TOS nobody can say for sure but the vast majority of reputable hosting companies will not have any seedy language that would try to get away with that. Even if such language exists it likely would be broad and overreaching and likely unenforcable.

It is a lot like renters rights, if you rent an apartment the landlord doesn't own your physical belongings that you keep in the apartment. With hosting, you are essentially renting server hosting space or an entire virtual server. The contents within are yours.

answered Nov 18 '11 at 22:33
Maple Shaft
323 points

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