There is a common misconception in the industry about website maintenance fees. When customers buy a website, they have this wrong expectation that it will work flawlessly forever.
Your computer and your website are very much like cars. They both need maintenance to keep running smoothly.
When your computer starts running worse, gets viruses, or can’t run the most modern programs at an adequate speed, you feel like it’s time to run some maintenance tasks on it, usually by a tech-savvy person/company.
When your car is acting strange, moving slower, making loud noises, you take it to a mechanic.
Both of those services aren’t free. They are taken care of by trained professionals who charge hourly rates.
When your site is acting weird, or not acting at all, you talk with your web design agency. Depending on the warranty period you have in your contract with them, and presuming you do, they have to run some tasks to detect the source of the problem.
Why do websites break down?
At Navega Bem we always ensure that our websites are as secure as we know how to make them when they reach the public. But they don’t stay secure forever.
Like a brand new computer, and a brand new car, without proper maintenance they will both slowly gain new problems. In the case of your car, you’ll have to replace some parts. In the case of your computer, you might have to replace some parts, or fix your system.
When it comes to a website problem. The problems are usually related to one of these two things:
- Security Exploits on the site’s software
- Hosting with outdated server software
Most modern websites that we build run on Content Management Systems. Those systems depend on specific type of software that runs in the webhost. Hackers, and other people with malicious intentions often discover vulnerabilities in software, both for computers and websites, and will attempt to take advantage of the said vulnerabilities for as many sites as they can.
The only way to prevent this is by keeping both your hosting server’s software, and your site’s software updated. You are not responsible for your hosting server’s software, neither is your web design agency. The only thing the agency can do is verify if the software is relatively up-to-date and communicate that to you.
If your site was simply hacked, and taken down, your web agency may be able to restore it, and update if they need to have a recent backup of your site – If you want to maintain your website and computer files healthy you need to make regular backups.
It is likely, though not certain, that your agency has an old version of your site with outdated content, but only your webhost is responsible for making backups of your site. And they usually charge for the retrieval of a backup.
If your site’s software is outdated, the agency will download the most recent version and update to the most recent and secure one.
So whose fault is it when it breaks down?
No one’s in particular. No one can predict how soon or late your site might become compromised. The companies that maintain the software can only keep it secure after a few sites become compromised, yours can be one of the first, or one of the last.
It’s your web design agency’s duty to give you a secure product when they deliver it to you.
It’s your web hosting’s company duty to insure that your site is backed up regularly, runs smoothly, and runs on updated software.
It’s your responsibility to insure that someone maintains your site’s software updated, and let you know if your webhost is keeping up with their end of the deal.