Website Development Question

This is a general question regarding website development.

If you are asked to develop a website on a companies server, should you as a developer be required or expected to install and setup all of the services you need?  For example should you be expected or required to install and setup MySQL, MySQL Workbench, PHP etc...
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Daniel WilsonCommented:
The consultant's favorite answer applies: That depends.

Basically, you need to know going in whether you're developing on an existing platform or whether you need to set it up yourself.  The latter takes more time ... therefore more money.

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Ray PaseurCommented:
+1 for Daniel Wilson's excellent answer.  I'd like to approach the question from a slightly different angle...

Should you, as a developer, cultivate the knowledge and skills to setup all of the services you need?  I think the best answer is "yes."

And at the same time you can depend on a hosting company to support you in this regard.  Keeping a data center up and running 24/7 is no easy thing.  You cannot do this by yourself, so you would naturally turn to Amazon Web Services or a similar hosting company to provide the platform.  But knowing how to install and configure the tools for web development is a core competency for a web developer.  You must have these skills or you must buy these skills because without these skills you cannot really meet client needs for turnkey support.

My $0.02, that's all.
Also +1 for both of the above. Just bear in mind that if you're new to setting up the platform, then you shouldn't be configuring the production platform. If you want to set up your development environment and gain some experience and comfort while doing that, then that's great. Like Ray said, it's a core competency. But you should really be a veteran at configuring these components before you try to set up a production environment.

You don't want to set up a public-facing website that is going to crash under too much load because of some missed settings and then you look bad in front of the client. It never hurts to ask for help or bring in a person who knows how to do it properly, and then shadow them so you get an idea of why they are configuring things in a certain way. Pretty much every one of us has had to do that. Take lots of notes, then implement them in your development environments. Understanding the details will eventually get you to a point where you can speak with confidence and experience on the topic and make sure things are done right.
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Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
+X for all above because I'm too lazy to quantify X right now.  Also, no points for this answer.

But you should really be a veteran at configuring these components before you try to set up a production environment.

And even then, I would not take a job where I am expected to set up/maintain anything other than my testing environment if I'm already expected to develop the site.  In my mind, sysadmin and web developer are two separate positions and need to be staffed as such. Yes, good developers should have the ability to creating a testing environment and great developers can be decent sysadmins but ideally you want the best in both positions and a single unicorn is hard to find these days.

That being said, I purposely aimed my consultancy at small/medium 501c3 and 501c6 non-profits so the likelihood of getting a gig with one that's going to do their own hosting is pretty slim.  

tl;dr I may have no idea what I'm talking about, but take me seriously anyway.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
And +Y.  Find out what the production system / environment will be and duplicate it as much as you can for a test environment.  But other network specialists should be taking care of the production environment because it involves a lot more than setting up a web site.
Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
I'm with Jason on this one - a web developer is NOT a sysadmin - that's a complex and advanced career in it's own right. Get it wrong on a production server, and you can bring a company to it's knees. As a developer you will more than likely liaise with a sysadmin and tell them what you need.

Setup the server: No
Configure the Services: Probably
Tweak the Services: Definitely
Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
At face value, I would say you shouldn't be expected to make their server production ready, that should already be done.  If you have the expertise for that kind of thing, then charge extra for that portion.  

Going with it depends...  When a client says, "their server" are they talking about a web hosting service they pay for?  Or are they talking about the talking about the server they have in the closet they use for the office and probably  pay $2,000/month maintenance and just want to get their full $$ worth ?  

If you find out they have a hosting service like or or some other major hosting service, your decision on how to proceed is going to be easier.   Otherwise, I would say you get it working on  your server and your contract stipulates the version of php, mysql and whatever else you need to make the site work.
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