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#1 O'Niel   User is offline

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What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 03:37 PM

Hi

So other people designing websites always ask 'maintenance costs'. Which in my opinion is just a way to have
some extra passive income. ;)

There is nothing wrong with that. But are these people actually maintaining something?

I also design websites and more complex webplatforms including registration, payment systems,... but I never ask maintenance costs.
When I put my simple design-websites on my hosting, I never ever have to maintain something.

If it's running, it just works.

Same for the more complex webapplications, I put them online, and it just works... The database gets filled with registrations, payments get into the correct bank account,...

I really have nothing to maintain, I just upload it to the server and don't look at it (unless someone reports an issue).

So my question is, if you're someone designing web-related stuff, what are you maintaining exactly that you're asking maintenance fees?
And is it something I should start doing too?

Thanks! Just curious. :)

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Replies To: What are you maintaining?

#2 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 04:22 PM

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View PostO, on 23 July 2020 - 06:37 PM, said:

So other people designing websites always ask 'maintenance costs'. Which in my opinion is just a way to have
some extra passive income. ;)

You've obviously never applied a patch that didn't work. Have you ever restored from backups?

View PostO, on 23 July 2020 - 06:37 PM, said:

If it's running, it just works.

Then quit paying them, & host it yourself. See how much 'nothing' it takes to keep it online.

That's always the fun thin about a service. When everything is running fine, it's all "What am I paying you for?" When it's down, it's "What am I paying you for?"
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#3 O'Niel   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 05:00 PM

I - and I think other webdesigners as well - don't host the sites ourself. I just resell the hosting. So it's only a matter of paying the hosting company (which does all the maintenance) a small fee per month. Of course the client pays that hosting fee via me.

So still, I don't see why almost all webdesigners ask yearly maintenance costs of a few thousand euro's a year when they don't have to maintain anything... It's the hosting company that's maintaining the servers.

PS. "Then quit paying them" To be clear, I am not asking as a client why I should pay maintenance costs. I'm asking as a webdeveloper why all my colleagues are asking maintenance costs, and if they really do any maintenance or it's just an extra way to get more money out of a website. I'm not asking about people having a whole serverfarm either... I'm talking about the people who make basic HTML pages, let the hosting be done by someone else, and still ask high maintenance costs...

This post has been edited by Skydiver: 23 July 2020 - 08:01 PM
Reason for edit:: Removed unnecessary quote. No need to quote the post above yours.

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#4 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 05:05 PM

View PostO, on 23 July 2020 - 08:00 PM, said:

I - and I think other webdesigners as well - don't host the sites ourself. I just resell the hosting.

Then add to the agreement that you will host & maintain the code yourself. Since it 'just works', remove them since you're paying for nothing. Problem solved.
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#5 O'Niel   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 05:21 PM

This is what I mean. What code is there to maintain?
If I write a HTML page today it'll still work in a year.

I don't see how anyone can actually 'maintain' a HTML page. What exactly are you changing every month on that HTML page so
you ask a few thousand a year?

This post has been edited by Skydiver: 23 July 2020 - 08:02 PM
Reason for edit:: Removed unnecessary quote. No need to quote the post above yours.

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#6 Skydiver   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 08:12 PM

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If it's just a plain old static HTML page, very likely there is little to maintain.

Now if you start having some active code like Javascript running on the page, are you keeping up to date with the latest updates for the libraries/packages that you are using?

Are you keeping up to date with the latest exploits/attacks and looking back at your old code to make sure that your old code is not vulnerable to those types of attacks?

If you have a code on the backend, are you keeping up with the latest patches for what that backend code depends on? Are you keeping up with the latest security trends to make sure that your back end code can't be exploited?

As for your databases and backends, good security dictates that you are maintaining audit logs. Who is responsible for reviewing the audit logs? Who is responsible for trimming the audit logs, and the database tables to make sure that they are not growing out too much?

Are you going to do all of the above security patching and monitoring for free? Or is your plan to wait for your client to contact you after they've been pwned?
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#7 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 08:42 PM

I was coming by to write up something that echoed, palely, what skydiver was saying. All key points.
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#8 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 23 July 2020 - 11:21 PM

View PostO, on 23 July 2020 - 08:00 PM, said:

PS. "Then quit paying them" To be clear, I am not asking as a client why I should pay maintenance costs.

& I'm not suggesting you shouldn't pay them. I'm saying that if you do it yourself, you'll find out EXACTLY what it is you are not taking up your time doing, & what exactly you are paying them for.

View PostO, on 23 July 2020 - 08:00 PM, said:

I'm talking about the people who make basic HTML pages, let the hosting be done by someone else, and still ask high maintenance costs...

Have you ever mitigated a DDOS attack?
Do you know what geolocation load balancing is?
Have you ever had to bring a server online at 3:am after a disk failure? (or since disks are not really a thing with VM's now, a CPU spike that takes a VM offline)

Doesn't matter if you're talking "Hello world", an API server, or eBay. These things still occur.

You're saying they "let the hosting be done by someone else". If your phone isn't ringing from a customer because 'x' isn't broke, & all of that is handled beyond your control, that's what you're paying for. You are paying to retain your time. You're using simple terms to describe a complex situation. "Just works", "lets someone else host it", this is time you're not spending to solve issues, or filed complaints. This is what you are paying for. If it's not worth your time, then host it, & maintain it yourself.
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#9 BenignDesign   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 29 July 2020 - 12:06 PM

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We (read: my employer/department) charge maintenance fees because someone has to maintain the backups for all the code, someone has to keep content up-to-date (not everyone wants a CMS), we have patches to run, twice annual security scans, then the subsequent repair of any security issues we find, plus databases and reporting, perpetually ensuring that everything out there is both HIPPA and FERPA compliant, the list goes on and on and on...if you're building sites, loading them to a third party server, and never touching them again, you're eventually going to lose clients to someone who charges maintenance fees.
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#10 Craig328   User is offline

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Re: What are you maintaining?

Posted 30 July 2020 - 04:41 AM

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I've been a builder of web applications that do all sorts of complicated stuff for many years now. Your post had a bit that went "database gets filled with". I like to think I'm a pretty clever guy when it comes to my skills but anything I build that has anything to do with a database (which, for me, is 100% of the things) requires supervision.

Tables fill up, databases hit size limits, queries that worked well against small tables start to chug when those tables get large. Shipping logs, backups, scheduled jobs, rethinking a query to make it run more efficiently, new reporting requirements, database (or web server) product upgrades, patches, point releases, data replication...and around a thousand other things that can and do go wrong whenever you involve data management...those things cost the client not only to maintain but to have a person who is familiar with their setup, data schema, security and so on be available immediately if something goes wrong.

From your description of "web designer" and your bafflement of why someone would charge maintenance fees tells me that if you are indeed actually putting together websites you're likely not writing the code yourself but probably using plugins someone else wrote. I could also write something that "just works" and would likely never break but it'd be damned simple stuff and it'd be better done by someone who can log onto Wix or some other cookie cutter website template constructor.
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