Terms of Use vs Terms of Service

If you want to create a website for your business, you must have heard of the various legal documents you need to make your site compliant. Some of the legal documents you need include a privacy policy, terms and conditions page, Disclaimer, EULA, etc.

The challenge for many website creators and users is to tell the difference between the various legal documents. For instance, what's the difference between a privacy policy and terms of service? What about a terms and conditions page and a disclaimer?

hands on a laptop

Even more confusing are the three terms sometimes used interchangeably. These include terms of service, terms of use, and terms and conditions. Some people will tell you that terms of use apply to all visitors of a website, while terms and conditions apply to certain site users, especially those required to pay for a product or service.

What are the differences between the various legal documents?

Terms and Conditions Vs. Terms of Service Vs. Terms of Use

When creating a website, one of the things web creators contend with is the most appropriate words to use between terms and conditions, terms of use, and terms of service.

Are there legal implications on your business or web page if you use one of the options and not the other.

If you search online for their differences, you'll get conflicting results. Some people say that terms of service refer to all users of a web page, while terms and conditions refer to a particular type of users, mostly those who need to pay for products and services on the web page.

terms of service

Is this true?

No, it isn't.

While the three sets of words are used differently by various web creators, they all refer to the same legal document. They are the same legal documents used interchangeably to refer to the same agreement.

Terms & conditions are essential for your web page as they are legally binding and help outline how users should do and not do on your site. It sets the rules of how visitors should behave while visiting your website.

how to behave

By setting the rules, it helps to avoid and deal with legal disputes in the future. If a user takes you to court over an issue on your web page, properly worded terms of use will help you deal with the legal issue.

Otherwise, a competent lawyer can demonstrate to the court how the lack of terms of use or the presence of a generic one led to the user's suffering. The last thing you wish for your web page is legal disputes as they may affect users' trust, which is not suitable for business.

Therefore, although having terms of service/terms and conditions/terms of use is not mandatory by law, it is essential that you have one.

terms and conditions

Why Do You Need a Terms of Service for Your Website?

The web content on your web page will be unique to your business needs and web page type.

Some of the reasons why you need terms of use page on your website include:

  • Limit liability: when you develop a web page, you'll need terms of service to limit your liability from errors in the web content. It is a clause that says you cannot be held accountable if there is an error in your web content. If your web page allows users to post content on your web page, you need to limit the language to prevent offensive postings. You should also add a disclaimer on your site that you don't endorse users, and you are not responsible for any posts done by third-parties.

  • Copyright: regardless of your type of web page, you should include a notice about copyright and web content. The copyright helps to protect your intellectual property, which includes your web content, logo, etc.

  • Set governing laws: your terms of service should also mention your jurisdiction in terms of where you operate and under which laws you operate.
man in suit

How to Create Terms and Conditions 

Creating terms of service page can seem overwhelming, especially if you don't have a legal background. However, creating one for your web page is simple and straightforward.

Some of the ways you can develop terms of use for your site include:

  • Using terms and conditions generators: If you search online, you'll get several websites that promise to generate your terms and conditions for you. Some of the websites are free and offer comprehensive features. Therefore, it helps a lot to get your terms of service generated within minutes and at no cost. The terms and conditions generator will help you come up with suitable terms of use that you can further customize to meet your business needs and web page type.

  • Enlist a lawyer's services: if you are dealing with a large enterprise, company, or organization, it will help a lot of you can use a legal professional to draft your terms and conditions. The terms of service for a large organization are more sophisticated and complex, and a terms and conditions generator may not capture all the needed details in depth. A lawyer will also give you legal advice on making your terms conditions legally binding and how to protect your business. The only downside with using an attorney is that the legal fee can be high.

  • Do not copy: people spend a lot of time on other areas of the web page, such as making an appealing bio, and overlook the terms and conditions as they don't consider them essential. Others will just go to another web page, copy the terms and service and paste them on their website. After all, every company has terms and services, and nobody seems to read them. As much as this is tempting, you shouldn't try it. First, copying of the content can be regarded as copyright infringement. Additionally, the agreements from another site may not fit the needs of your website. Therefore, you may not use them to protect your business in court.
man and laptop

Privacy Policy Vs. Terms and Conditions

The most significant difference between a privacy policy and a terms of service agreement is in each agreement's purpose.

The privacy policies are concerned with the data you collect from users, how you collect it, store it, and what you use it for. If your website collects personal information, then you are legally required to have a privacy policy.

The policy ensures that any data that can be used to identify an individual, including height, hair color, etc., are secure. The privacy policy should be easily accessible and clearly visible to the user. It should also be written in plain English and avoid legal jargon to make it easy for users to read and understand.


On the other hand, the terms and conditions are a contract between you and the website visitor. The agreements outline the requirements, limitations, and standards in using the site or mobile app.

Unlike privacy policies, terms of service agreements are not required by law. Although it is not a law requirement, it's not recommended that you create your website or mobile app without the agreement.

Terms and Conditions Vs. Disclaimer

The difference between a disclaimer and a terms of use agreement is in the liability they address.


Terms of service are rules that define how a user should behave while visiting your web page. This helps to prevent abuse of your site which may lead to legal disputes.

On the other side, a disclaimer is a more specific agreement and deals with a particular type of liability.

While terms and conditions are conspicuous on the website, disclaimers don't stand alone. Terms of service can contain general disclaimers.

The disclaimer helps to protect your website in a court of law in case of any legal dispute. The disclaimer can remove the responsibility from you for any web content. It can outline that you are not liable for any loss caused on the user due to the user doing or not doing something as a result of reading content on your site.

Disclaimers are common on websites and apps that deal with specialized information.

external disclaimer

Terms and Conditions Vs. EULA

The difference between the EULA) and terms of use are in how they deal with the license of use.

The End-User License Agreement (EULA) establishes the rights for your website visitors to use your software. The agreement also establishes the rules on how users should use the software.

On the other hand, terms and conditions are more extensive.

If you sell an app or software, you need a EULA. When a user downloads your app or software, they get the right to use the software, which requires you to establish rules on how they should use it.

rules for behaving

Mobile apps or software that operate on cloud systems work well with terms and conditions agreement as they are more like SaaS apps.

The EULA agreement deals with a copy of the software product, and it covers some topics such as making copies of the software on other computers and reverse engineering.


Is there a difference between terms and conditions and terms of service? No, there is none. The set of words are used interchangeably to refer to the same agreement. The terms and conditions agreement comes in handy in protecting your business in court. It also sets the rules on how a user should use your website.

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