Is it legal to use DO to host client's websites, and charge them for maintenance?

July 20, 2016 1.9k views
Billing DigitalOcean

This may seem like a trivial question, but I'm unfamiliar with the business side of web development and don't want to make any rookie mistakes.

I really like DO for hosting my own website, and would like to use it to host my client's websites. Rather than instructing each client to make a DO account, and request access so I can set things up, I feel like it would make more sense to host them all under my own account.

In order to do that, however, the client's would then need to pay me to cover the cost of the hosting (basically, clients pay me each month -> I hand that money off to DO each month). On it's own, I think this should be fine, right?

What I'm a little more uncertain about is the maintenance part. One reason I like the idea of using DO for clients is that I would then be able to charge them for performing regular maintenance on their servers (like you do with a droplet). This would mean them giving me MORE money each month than the droplet costs. I think this makes sense on it's own, but it feels slightly wrong to me. I don't want it to look like I'm reselling DO's services for more money.

So that's where I need answers. Is the scenario I just outlined legal? Is it ethical? Is this just a bad idea, and I should have them all use their own hosting companies?


1 comment
2 Answers
mpontes July 21, 2016
Accepted Answer

Definitely not illegal in any way. As a bonus, not even a violation of the DO Terms of Service.

But there are a few legal-gotchas I'll throw out there:

  • Don't cross the streams, use a separate DO account just for your clients
  • Get everything is writing
  • Keep records

Pretty exciting stuff. Maybe we'll be reading your DO success story someday soon?

Those of us who actually use the DO infrastructure or interact with the community and staff already know the grass is green here. If you have clients who are already paying you to engineer their sites though, then I have to wager that they are paying you because you're good at what you do. Not because of the cloud hosting company you use.

Best of luck.

It mostly depends on your country's law - you definitely need to pay taxes on money you earn this way almost everywhere in the world.

As long as you provide maintenance services and aren't reselling raw virtual machines, DO (and your clients) should be fine with that. Remember that it'll sometimes pay off to have a couple sites on one server, or split a bigger application/client's site to many machines (load balancer, web servers, database backend).

  • Thanks for the reply and info. Yes I forgot to mention in the original question that I live in the US.

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