Should web designers host websites for clients?

For web designers and developers, it’s tempting to host your clients’ websites. It’s an extra service that can attract customers and simplify things for them.

Hosting seems like an easy way of increasing margins too. Reseller or VPS hosting plans are often not much more expensive than individual hosting, and there’s the bonus of recurring revenue from hosting renewals.

However, hosting websites and email for clients is a big responsibility, which continues long after your initial website project ends.

Do you really want clients on the phone every time their email is acting up or their website is down? You could spend significant time going back and forth between host and client about problems outside your control, leading to client frustrations and you being out of pocket.

Then there’s a limit to what the hosting company will provide support on. Issues specific to the website may not be covered and server admin tasks could be your lookout. Many web shops don’t have sys admin expertise at their disposal, and could end up having to pay costly management fees to the hosting company. Worse still, some hosts don’t even offer these services.

The more sites you host, the bigger your exposure. If a host’s reliability or customer support deteriorates, moving a large number of websites and email to another provider is a lot of hassle.

So think long and hard before you take on the responsibility of hosting websites for clients. It may be best all round for the website owner to be the hosting customer instead. This gives the client full control and transparency, and you avoid the risk of getting stuck in an infinite loop of hosting support.

Comments

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08 Oct 2014 10:15:03

Having experience of doing hosting for clients, I can relate to this article! My conclusion has been, that if the client wants “affordable hosting” they must look for it by themselves. If I “provide” the service, I expect them to pay more so that I can shift most of the responsibility to a web host that is truly dedicated in website monitoring and customer service.

Best wishes,
Tim

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08 Oct 2014 15:22:07

Thanks for your input on this Tim. Your approach sounds very wise!

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30 Nov 2014 15:48:15

Some great points here. The hassle cannot be understated. We stopped hosting for clients years ago and it was a good decision. The amount of additional time required for maintenance (and even basic education) far outweighs the extra margin.

Letting clients manage their own hosting should be par for the course. It allows you spend more time doing what you do best.

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01 Dec 2014 11:05:22

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Dave and hope all is going well at Redfly :)

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