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Do I need a Privacy Policy or Terms and Conditions on my Website?

Do I need a Privacy Policy on my website?

This question comes up a lot when we’re designing websites, so let’s dive into what each of these legal documents is & whether you need one.

We’ll also point you to our favorite resource for getting legal documents without spending a fortune.

Note: We’re website designers — not lawyers — and this should not be considered legal advice. You should consult with an attorney about your specific situation.

What is a Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy is a statement on your website that lets your visitors know what you’re doing (and not doing) with their information.

It answers questions like:

  • What information is this website collecting?
  • What do they plan to do with it?
  • What will they NOT do with it?

What are Terms & Conditions?

A Terms and Conditions agreement spells out how visitors are allowed to interact with your site or service.

It includes information like:

  • What visitors can & cannot do on your website
  • Disclaimers that limit your liability as a company
  • Copyright & trademark notices that protect your IP

While a Privacy Policy is meant to protect your website visitors, Terms and Conditions are meant to protect you and your business from abuse, copyright infringement, and other liabilities.

How do I know if I need either or both?

If your website collects any information from consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires you to have a Privacy Policy.

“Collecting information” includes advertising, comments, reviews, newsletter sign-up, an inquiry form, or even cookies your website places on your readers’ browsers.

The short answer is: Most websites operating online today are legally required to have a Privacy Policy.

A Terms and Conditions agreement isn’t required by law; however, your website (and your business) is not legally protected until you have a Terms and Conditions policy in place.

Where do I get them?

We use and recommend The Contract Shop for all our legal documents. You can download an attorney-prepared template that’s easy to customize for a fraction of the cost of a real lawyer (and with way more coverage than those freebie templates we’ve all used from the internet).

We recommend this Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy bundle. It’s GDPR and CaCPA Compliant, which is especially important if you’re collecting email addresses.

If you’re selling online courses or digital products on your website, you’ll want to get the bundle that’s specific to Online Courses and Digital Products. And if you’re selling physical products online, you’ll want the bundle that’s specific to E-commerce Stores.

Can I use a free online generator instead?

There are several websites that will generate a free Privacy Policy or Terms and Conditions for you, such as the Shopify Privacy Policy generator and Terms and Conditions generator.

If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that a free generator may not cover everything you need to be legally compliant, nor will they help you understand which laws actually apply to your business.


If you’re collecting any customer information on your site, you are legally required to have a Privacy Policy.

A Terms and Conditions agreement is not required, but is a good business practice to keep you legally protected.

If in doubt, consult with an attorney about your specific situation. Better safe than sorry when it comes to legal issues!

Where can I get a website that looks as good as yours?

We’re so happy you asked!

We design custom brands & websites for small businesses.

Check out our Services page to learn more.

Note: This article may include affiliate links to products we use and highly recommend.

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