Should I pay a monthly fee to maintain my website?

Should I pay a monthly fee to maintain my website

So a lot of website providers charge you a fee to build the website, set it up and maybe charge you a hosting fee, just to keep it running. You get a log in to the Dashboard, and you can post updates and make sure your latest cat photos and company news are there for all to see.

But some web developers insist on charging a monthly maintenance fee. And it's sometimes quite a hefty fee as well.

Should you pay this?

Firstly, I'm biased. Very biased. Because I'm a provider, and I have looked after websites for people in the past and I'm sure I will do again.

But, you absolutely should pay for maintenance - provided what you're getting makes sense.

The internet is a big bad place. It's full of threats, anything publicly available is under constant attack.

This isn't an exaggeration. There are "bots" (automated apps) that scan for servers and then when they find one, they automatically try a whole series of different attacks to see if they can break in - and then if they can, they use that server that you're paying for to spread more maliciousness across the world. And of course, as it's your server, you're legally liable for the stuff that it's doing.

So, if your provider offers a maintenance service that ensures that your server and all apps that run on it are kept up to date with the latest security patches and updates, you should take it. Some months, this is a trivial task - just run the update routine and make sure it completes OK. But some months, it can be a bit more in-depth, as the security patches cause knock-on effects - and those fixes need to be carried through as well.

Which is a long way of saying - yes, pay for the maintenance.

Take Action: Ask the person who maintains your website when they last installed the security patches for the software and operating system. If it’s more than an month ago, ask them why.

Rahoul Baruah

Rahoul Baruah

Rubyist since 1.8.6. Freelancer since 2007, dedicated to building incredible, low-cost, bespoke software for tiny businesses. Also CTO at Collabor8Online.
Leeds, England