A 'startling' number of web professionals are using pirated or unlicensed software, according to research conducted by .net magazine and Fasthosts.

Web hosting provider Fasthosts surveyed 500 of web designers and developers who read .net- which, like TechRadar, is published by Future - and found 59 per cent had admitted to using unlicensed software.

"Great web projects can often rely on the latest software and at times businesses may be tempted to cut corners with their software licenses," said Steve Holford, CMO of Fasthosts Internet Ltd.

Sub -standard

"Web designers should not struggle with sub-standard software or more importantly jeopardise their future by using illegal software," he added.

The report points out that unlicensed software can be a false economy, with users facing bugs and not able to lean on support services - and that it is employers who need to take a fresh look at their budgets.

Dan Oliver, Editor of .net magazine, comments, "With tight deadlines, and tighter budgets, it's understandable - though clearly not recommended - to hear of people being asked to use pirated software. It's unrealistic to put the onus on employees, the message needs to get through to employers."