Who’s responsible for setting up a website hosting for my client? nuAnswers

“nuANSWERS” is where we feature an actual question submitted by one of our students and the answer we gave them.

This week’s question comes from Fern, who wants to know how involved you should be in setting up a website hosting for your client

Fern wrote:


Thank you for writing an excellent, straight forward article [referring to Create a WordPress Website in 15 mins]. WordPress has always been somewhat of a mystery – but you explain it very simply (I enjoy your casual writing style).

One question I have is – how do you go about setting up a wordpress site for a client – do you have them purchase the hosting and domain or does the designer take care of it all?

Also, would I host multiple clients websites all on one host account? or do they each need separate hosting accounts? Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world.

Here’s my response:

Hi Fern, thanks for your warm words!

Your question is great. On the one hand, you don’t want to purchase things for your client. It feels awkward to use your credit card buying services for someone else, right?

On the other hand, your clients might not know how to do that themselves, which means they’d be happy if you help them with it. Hey, that’s more value you can give – meaning you could earn more. Nice.

It took me a while (and quite a few trials) to figure out the best strategy for this one. I think I have a winning formula – and I’d love to share it with you. Here’s the whole deal.

Hosting is a long time relationship

You don’t want hosting to be your responsibility. The reason is that it is a recurring payment that you don’t want to take care of forever (or until your clients’ website dies with the end of the Internet, hence, the end of the universe known to mankind).

Other than the recurring payment, hosting is a long-term thing. Your client might want to upgrade to a faster or bigger server, might want to migrate to a different hosting provider, change domains, etc.

If you’re the one responsible for it, it means you now have a long term relationship with that client, without getting paid. Not a good idea.

Setting up hosting is a great way to provide more value

Then again, most of my clients are not technical at all (to say the least), which means they have a hard time setting it up themselves, and they will often ask for my help anyway. Sounds like a business opportunity!

But it takes them ages to do that themselves

In addition, usually it takes them ages to decide which domain name they’d like to have.

They think it is their most important decision (which is wrong thanks to everyone using Google), and they can spend two weeks going back and forth with cute/boring/crazy names for their cats pajamas website. This will hurt your ability to start working on the project – so you don’t want that.

Lastly, even when they have the domain name ready, you might want to test the website before you publish it to the world. So hosting the website on the real domain is not a perfect solution for testing anyway.

So here’s my winning formula that I’ve been using for years now:

First, I make sure that the contract with my clients includes a paragraph that explains that hosting is THEIR responsibility to set up and maintain. I don’t want that on my shoulders.

I have my own hosting account, where I set up websites for my clients, temporarily.

It’s a single inexpensive account (here’s how I set it up), that can hold as many websites as needed at a very low price. I set up their WordPress on my account, and use it for testing until they decide on a domain name.

When the website is almost ready to be published to the world (=Google), I help my clients set up a hosting account for their real and finished website. I ask them to use their credit card (I either send them the link to purchase or help them over the phone).

I then transfer the WP from my domain to their domain. This step might be annoying at times, but still worth the pain since I’m being paid for that (what? oh yes!).

BTW, it’s less painful when you move the WordPress on the same hosting service (e.g. Bluehost to Bluehost or 1and1 to 1and1).

Get paid for your setup services

In my proposals (and then if I win the project in the contract), I include “set up hosting for testing”. I charge them for two things:

  1. The time their website sits on my personal account. This covers my hosting hosts (even though those are super cheap)
  2. Helping them set up their own hosting account – I include those hours on my proposal as an option.

You know what? I’ve had zero clients who wanted to set up hosting themselves, and so they are happy I’m there to help. And I’m happy I’m there to get paid.

 – Lior

Sharing is Caring

Get new posts to you email:

Good stuff is on the way.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form :(