I think my friend's small company might be getting ripped off. I need advice as to what is acceptable pricing for building and running a couple of websites.
So my friend works for a 3 person outfit. They required a simple, no fuss website, which they can easily add content to for news updates, etc. usual stuff, but constant attention to the content is important, and new sections to the site might be needed at the drop of a hat, when new projects are implemented.
They chose a particular design company, who also setup and run the hosting of the site. The first year of hosting was free, but they had to pay for the design and implementation.
The site is good, but misses some key features they have asked for. They find it doesn't quite
fulfill all their needs, and not being very technically savvy, they also run two or three other services (such as a NING community) to fill in the gaps.
They ask me to help them out with tech stuff occasionally. I hadn't realised how spread out their web presence was until they showed me. I am torn as to the advice I should give them.
The design/hosting company sent them an email after a year saying:
"Now your free year of hosting is over you will have to pay £50 A MONTH".
I said that this was a lot, especially since the design fee was paid ages ago and the site doesn't really live up to all expectations. I said they could do a similar job with a wordpress site, in fact, they could use wordpress to seamlessly link all their different web needs together. Cheaply. I believe this is true, and that hosting it elsewhere would be much cheaper, but I am also aware that for a small outfit time is important. They have neither the time nor the tech knowledge to deal with backend website stuff (like implementing wordpress).
They sent a message echoing my concerns to the company, who replied this way:
"The two sites are hosted on our shared infrastructure. I understand your colleague's comments about hosting charges - hosting for simple web sites can be purchased for as little as £5/month.
However, both the sites are built using Plone (http://plone.org/) which requires slightly more complex hosting than static or PHP based sites. I realise that of course I would say this, but £25/month for hosting a Plone site is well below the average market rate.
The service is made up of the following:
* Space on our shared servers
* Guaranteed bandwidth of 10Mbps
* Unlimited data transfer each month
* Nightly full backups, retained for 30 days
* Access to our outbound email infrastructure
* Access to our DNS infrastructure
* A share of the operational cost of running the server
* Regular security patching of the application stack
* Regular security patching of the underlying operating system
The key point is that we manage the entire process for you rather than, say, one of the cheaper PHP hosts where you would have to manage the security of your own application."
Again, I believe most of these features are pretty standard on a regular hosting account. They are s small outfit and don't need shitloads of bandwidth. the company know this, or they should.
Are they getting ripped off? I'm sure PLONE is great, but is it necessary, especially for a small outfit? Should they demand a backup of their site and move on to wordpress etc? Or should they stick with the company, but ask them for a much more dynamic design and an update for their money?
What do you think?