The Difference Between Maintenance & Bug Fixes

The Difference Between Maintenance & Bug Fixes

We offer pretty comprehensive support for clients who are hosting their nine10-built websites with us. Included in the support is both a warranty against bugs in the software, as well as technical support for using it. But sometimes a point of confusion lies around what’s considered a bug fix (which is included under the warranty) and what’s considered maintenance (which is billable work.) This short article explains the difference.

Bug Fixes Make Existing Software Features Work Properly

The support included with our hosting covers fixes for bugs in the software that prevent it from working the way it was originally designed to work.

For example, if a website has an events calendar and an control panel to add events to it, it should display the events in the calendar when an editor updates it.

If for whatever reason the calendar is not displaying the events,  this is a bug and is covered under our support. If it was because of user error (e.g. the editor didn’t know to check the “visible” checkbox to make the event public), then we show them how to do that and it is covered under technical support.

Anything Else is Maintenance

Changing something about how the website works, what it contains, or how it looks, is all maintenance, which is billable. These actions either add, remove, or alter features, content, design or other things.

The distinction is simple if you think of the website like a car. When you buy the car, you expect it to turn on, drive, signal and have working locks. The warranty on a car ensures the car stays working as it was originally designed while the warranty is active. However, if you want to add 18″ Chrome Spinners, a Cold-Air Intake, and to remove the stock radio—these are all improvements to the vehicle which you need to pay for on your own.

P.S. Changing Your Mind is Not a “Bug Fix” 🙂

Sometimes our clients change their mind about how something should work or look. This is fine during the course of the project, and why we have approval stages, but after the design or website has been approved, these become billable changes. They’re not bugs (existing features not working the way they should), they’re just a change in taste or preference. We’re totally OK with changing anything you want, but just know we will charge for our time.