Sep. 25th, 2014

The other day I was chatting with a non-technical guy who was curious about web development, and he asked me: "Say I make a website, and it has everything I want, and I just want it to stay on the internet. What all do I have to do to keep that website up? Is it a daily maintenance thing? weekly? yearly?"

I actually thought this was an interesting question, because there's so many variables at play here, and most of them aren't particularly obvious when you're just starting out. For fun, here's a rundown of some of the perils you'll face if you're "just" trying to keep things running.

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I guess the big lesson here is that, lots of folks imagine a web site is something like a painting. Someone paints it, you buy it, and then you invite all your friends over to admire how pretty it looks in your living room, and that's that. But it's more like building a house. Or rather, it's like building a house in some alternate universe where time is going by ten times as fast. All these people keep coming in and scuffing up the floor! There's too much junk in the attic! There was a huge flood and now some of the wood's starting to rot away! The kitchen sink is broken!

You can avoid worrying about a lot of these problems, by paying other people to take care of your house, but at the end of the day, someone is doing a lot of work to just keep your site running.