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Discussion on: Have you used Netlify for real client projects?

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alexabruck profile image
Alexa Steinbrück Author • Edited on

Up until now, I've used Netlify's Free Tier for a couple of client projects. In terms of features and capacity, it has everything I needed. But then if you look at the Pricing page, they say that the Free Tier is for "personal projects, hobby sites or experiments". Which doesn't exactly describe the business-critical sites I build for my clients.

The next tier is the Pro Tier which is pretty expensive if you just want to host 1 static site with them.

It seems to me that Netlify's plans are not really suited for developers or small agencies who develop websites for small businesses. What do you think?

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Stu Finn

Hi Alexa, I have been running into this lately too.

Until now I have kept client sites on my own Netlify account. So far it works because they are small businesses with low traffic but I can see it causing issues down the road. I would prefer to hand off everything to the client, but retain access to the account for support. The Netlify Pro plan is definitely overkill and too pricey for my use-cases.

The only alternative option I can see is to create a new free account for them and have them add me as an ad-hoc team member for $15 US a month. Still not ideal. Have you found a better solution to this since you posted about it?

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alexabruck profile image
Alexa Steinbrück Author

Hi Stu!
The workflow that works best for me now is the following:

  1. During development, I keep the project on my own Netlify account
  2. Once it is ready, I ask the client to create a (free) Netlify account and pass me the password via onetimesecret.com
  3. Then I transfer ownership via a request to the Netlify support

2+3 seems a bit hacky, but it works. Paying the $15/month for an extra team member doesn't seem necessary to me, since the clients themselves probably won't work actively on the Netlify setup, and your work as the developer will be finished at a certain point.

I also explicitely asked Netlify if the Free Plan is reliable for small business projects (and not “personal projects, hobby sites or experiments” only), and the answer was YES. You can read the thread here

I am planning to write a blog post about this (and the practical implications of using JAM stack for non-technical clients). Hopefully soon!

Cheers!

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Taylor Page

Do you have continuous deployment linked up to these kinds of websites? I've been wondering about this use-case method myself with some Gatsby and now an 11ty site that I'm working on for some clients. Was curious about the handoff with site ownership and how this should be handled. Would be nice if they had site owners and dev access as separate things rather than paying $19/member.

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alexabruck profile image
Alexa Steinbrück Author • Edited on

Yes, I usually have CI/CD from Github in place. In this case I also create a Github account for the client. I am still struggling a bit with this approach, because it feels like it involves the client a bit too deep into the infrastructural/development part of the project. Seems like this is a side-effect of the JAM Stack...

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Jarick

Hi Alexa,

A year or so later are you still using Netlify's Free tier for client projects? I'm beginning to run into this conundrum myself. I read their reply to your question about the TOS and it's hard to know if that still holds up. Some other threads seem to say for commercial use they want you on the Pro plan.

I've started using NextJS and I love it. But realizing when it comes to hosting a small business website, Netlify and Vercel (especially) have awkward pricing. It's either overly expensive if you want to setup an account for each client, or you have to deal with TOS uncertainty (more explicitly commerce requires paid plan in Vercel) if you keep them on the free tier. Sure I could upgrade my own account to Pro and host multiple websites but I don't always want to maintain the client site. But making a small business pay $20/month for hosting a small site when it could be hosted more "traditionally" for much less feels strange.

Maybe I'm overthinking this whole thing. I love both Netlify and Vercel and their services (and their generous free tiers) and understand they need to make money, but it sure seems like they could have a cheap "lite business" plan or something where only 1 site is allowed with much smaller limits.

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Alexa Steinbrück Author

Hi Jarick, thanks for sharing your experience! Yes, I am still using Netlify one year later, also for client projects. It feels like we are the only people who view it from a critical angle, so maybe we're overthinking it (like you said) :-D I will add an update to this blog post if I ever run into problems with Netlify free tier.