Someone stole my website layout

I had a client ask me what platform I hosted their website on and I answered Webflow. No harm in them knowing that, right? We haven’t had any issues at all, so what could be the harm in my client knowing? Within a week, she asked me to cancel her billing as she moved her site to another company. Side note: She was a cheap client anyways so it wasn’t a big deal honestly. But then I was wondering how she moved it without me releasing the webflow files, etc. I visited her same URL and my website is now hosted with that company!!! My question is HOW did this company get my files and also, isn’t that illegal to steal a website layout like that?

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Are you sure that it’s your layout? Can you send links of your website and clients in DM?

To clarify, you build the site, and the client paid for it? And then later the client decided to clone the site and host it elsewhere?

It would be interesting to compare the links to your version (, and readonly link ), and the new version’s public URL to see how much of a clone it is.

My guess is that “cloning” the site here means they downloaded the HTML, JS, CSS and just dropped a static copy of the site somewhere. That’s quite easy to do, but you’d have a static copy of the site. No CMS, no functionality like ECom, Logic, Memberships, not even form submission handling. No designer to make changes. No editor to update content.

But if they do not need those features, and never change the site, a cheap/free hosting provider makes the right sense here.

As far as legalities-

The legalities depend very much on the jurisdiction you’re in. In the US, even different states have different regulations. In Chicago, the consulting work my company did for Citibank, D&B, the Chicago Stock Exchange required “work for hire” contracts that explicitly state that the work we do belongs to them. Other states have a different default, but your contracts will generally be the final word.

I generally approach it this way- if the client paid for the site or development work, then it was a work for hire and they own it 100%. Most likely I’ve put their copyright notice is on it, therefore all of the text, images, CMS content, etc belongs to them.

I build it with that goal in mind.

“Layouts” and site structures tend to be a more blurry area in copyright because it’s much harder to demonstrate originality.

In websites, I handle code a bit differently. Site specific code is part of the site, or a site-specific Github repo, and belongs to the client. General code becomes part of a master library, most of it open source, and is used across thousands of sites.

The client gets a license to use it freely, in perpetuity. But they do not own those shared libraries.

Hosting is a separate arrangement from the site build. I can host it. They can host it. It can be hosted on Webflow, or self-hosted. It’s their car, so they get to decide where to park it.

Not sure if that helps, but it’s how most designers I’ve worked with think. Agencies sometimes try to maintain ongoing control, and that changes the type of client they can work with and the ongoing services they need to provide.

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Oh it’s my layout with very minor changes. is the URL.

so yes, as @memetican said, clients may download layout files and use it on some other CMS / or just use you design and create/recreate it. It looks that on WordPress. Can you show link of your project?
UPD I think thay don’t clone your Webflow project, but just rebuild your layout idea and implement that layout on own CMS. Code don’t have any Webflow’s mentions:

Hi memetican,

To clarify, you build the site, and the client paid for it? And then later the client decided to clone the site and host it elsewhere?


I deleted the website project from my workspace because I no longer needed it. Now, I’m highly regretting that as I have learned, I can’t get it back. Ugh!

I didn’t know you could download HTML, etc files.

The client usually only makes price changes to her site every quarter.

You can see the site at It’s a BASIC site, which is what the client wanted. It has forums.

Man, I wish I didn’t delete the project from my webflow account now. How do you download HTML files?

It’s not about how download HTML files (there are many special programs), but the fact is that I checked the website using the link you sent above and did not find any mention of Webflow in the code. That is, your “clients” made up this site on their own, without copying your Webflow code in any way.

They simply took the layout of the elements on the page as a basis (for example, they took a screenshot of the page and recreate it according to the design from the screenshot).

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Heh heh, you open your web browser and type in a URL. You are downloading every website you visit. That’s what the web is, a big file delivery system, with a pile of data format standards.

If you mean, how do you clone the HTML, CSS and JS of a site, so that they are all downloaded as a directory of files which you can then host yourself, there are tools that can do that. But that’s not particularly useful unless it can create an entire wordpress theme.

In this case as @bro-design noted, it would be much easier to just rebuild the same basic layout.

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Well that website designer is very good at duplicating websites then because it’s very identical. Only thing missing is the catering tab.

So if you were to download website files (save files), can you upload those to Wordpress and Wordpress can basically reuse the code or no?

LOL I guess I meant clone the HTML files. You are right.

Yes, it’s real. But Webflow have some own JS and CSS file structure, also class names in HTML. None of this is present in the code of the website you sent.

So just forget about this client and work on prepaid in the future😌

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It’s refreshing to know they didn’t “steal” my site and just recreated it to look remarkably similar. Thank you everyone for the quick responses.

Happened to me too… I just moved on. The thing is, what they recreated in WP was pure trash, the client gets what he pays for being cheap… :slightly_smiling_face:



it is normal thing that anyone can copy paste website. Client is free to host their website in any hosting provide. But it is bad thing that client not pay for bills.

Now days clients are looking for cheap services. But cheap services always not good. If you provide better services then I hope one day that client will get back you and return.

That’s why you always set up canonicals