Web design contract

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Document overview

This is a comprehensive agreement suitable where it is important that a website is completed to time, specification and budget. It can be used on projects large and small, whether an installation and customisation of a popular content management system, or a bespoke web application. The developer could be based in any country.
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  • England & Wales
  • Scotland
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Document properties
  • Length:26 pages (4690 words)
  • Available in:
    MsWordMicrosoft Word DOCXApple pagesApple PagesRTFRTF
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writing in plain english
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About this document

Website and software development projects are notorious for over-running in time and cost. However, the risk that this might happen can be managed by using a written agreement that sets out a clear specification of work, and the process for how that work will be managed.

There are other risks as well such as the developer claiming ownership of the intellectual property that he or she has developed for the client (whether design elements such as graphics and logos, or code).

This agreement addresses the issues that a client is most likely to come up against. It will protect the client against many legal pitfalls. It is a full yet flexible agreement, as suitable for large sites or web applications as for smaller projects. Your developers might be writing the entire site from scratch, or be customising existing frameworks, libraries and systems.

The contract could be used regardless of where the developers are located in the world. Being written in plain English rather than legalese will help minimise language problems.

The document provides a practical and legal framework. The actual specification is left for you and your developers to work up.

Note: if you are the developer, use this alternative version that is written to favour you. We also have an agreement suitable for simpler projects.


The agreement is written for an arrangement where:

  • The project is approved in stages in order to manage risk to both sides.
  • Additional work is on an agreed basis - customer changes to the agreed specification are controlled so that the scope of the project is clear.
  • Other services such as domain registration, hosting and search engine marketing are listed separately.

We also include provisions that cover:

  • Testing and acceptance
  • Alternative payment arrangements for the work
  • Clear and strong identification and protection of intellectual property
  • Other legal provisions such as exclusions and indemnities
  • An option for the developer to train the client as to how to use any administration functionality
Sample web design contractSample page from the web design contract

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Recent reviews

Could cap spending
22 September 2014
Very well written document, in plain English as promised.

One useful article to add to the template would be to have a provision where you cap the total amount that the project will cost. I did receive estimates from developers with a lower limit and an upper limit. I therefore introduced a paragraph where I basically said that the overall project fee will not go beyond the estimated upper limit (in terms of hours--converted into price) that the developers quoted initially. I also added a provision whereby developers will endeavour to keep the total number of development hours to the minimum possible.
Sabine Louet
Review of the Ireland version

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