Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I think I'll leave out self hosting for now. With maintenance though, has that been worth it for you with clients as opposed to just helping them get setup and then leaving any hosting issues that arise to the client and the hosting provider?
It depends a little on what is meant by "maintenance". It's very rare for a website to be finished and then require no work going forward. More likely there’ll be a continuous stream of things to be done, ranging from content/design/structural changes through to software updates and OS/hardware updates, and dealing with unplanned outages.
Some of that work (content, new functionality etc) results in tangible benefits to the client. Other things (security pactches, hardware replacement etc) is pure expense. My experience is that things are better all round when I can focus on the former. But that means putting in place a setup where there's a clear division of responsibilities, and one where I trust the hosting supplier to provide a good service to the client. I find PaaS products more suitable than VMs in this regard.
If something goes wrong I don't want to leave my client in the lurch, but equally there are times when I won't be immediately available to them. The arrangement needs to cater for that.
Yeah, I'm thinking I'll definitely go with setting the client up with a reliable hosting platform instead of doing that myself. I'll also offer 30 days of clearly defined support (content changes). Then after 30 days if the client wants more work added I'll draft up a new contract. Maybe I'll just offer the client to pay a monthly price and that'll cover me updating content and making simple style changes...but that could get tricky with the client not knowing the difference between a simple content addition and an entirely new site component.
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