Is the Free Tier "safe" for client projects?

The terms of service say about the Free Tier: “We reserve the right to disable or remove any website project on Netlify’s Free Usage Tier without notice”.


This might not be that dramatic for personal, experimental projects. But for real-world client projects, this is quite problematic. From what I heard quite a lot of people build websites for clients and deploy it on the Netlify free tier. Is this a bad practice then?

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hi there,

thanks for checking in about this.

TLDR; Don’t break the rules outlined in the TOS and we won’t need to take anything down.

More:

The important thing to take a close look is our section on Acceptable Use from the TOS:

Acceptable Use

  1. Netlify does not allow any of the following content, or links to such content, to be published on the Service on:
  2. Content of an illegal nature (including stolen copyrighted material).
  3. Pirated software sites, including cracking programs or cracking program archives.
  4. Content with the sole purpose of causing harm or inciting hate, or content that could be reasonably considered as slanderous or libelous.
  5. Users posting any of the above content on their sites will be notified using User’s current email address on file. Normally a grace period of 48 hours to make corrective actions will be given, but User risks immediate account suspension, if Netlify deems this necessary. A violation of this policy or this Agreement, can lead to cancellation of service with no refund.
  6. In addition, Netlify does not allow any of the following:
  7. Users may not use the Service as a remote storage server only.
  8. Except where intended as via the API and CLI, and services such as integrations and search engines, users may not access the Service through automated methods. Use of robots or other computer code which calls the Service, except where explicitly allowed, is absolutely forbidden.
  9. Users must exercise caution when hosting large downloads (>10MB). Netlify reserves the right to refuse to host any large downloadable files. Users may not send unsolicited messages (also known as junk mail or SPAM) to promote any website published on the Service.
  10. Users deemed to be using Netlify solely as a remote storage server will have their account immediately terminated and will have all files associated with their account permanently removed.
  11. The final choice of whether an account is in violation of any of these policies is at the sole discretion of Netlify.
  12. Violation of any of these policies may result in tracking information being stored to identify the offending user, and permanent restriction from holding an account on the Service.

we do reserve the right to take down a site if it is found to be in violation of the Acceptable Use policy, yes. If that is a concern for a client, it would be wise to consider that before hosting on our service.

If you have specific questions “does content x violate the TOS?” you could ask here first, like this person did:

and we’ll do our best to give you our thoughts ahead of time - that evaluation would be non-binding, as in, it is guidance only - we’d take action based on what we actually saw deployed to our servers as opposed to what you described to us ahead of time.

Does this make sense? I’m happy to keep clarifying!

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Thank you, Perry, for the clarifications!

I would like to specify my situation, as it’s not so much about a risk of violating the Acceptable Use Policy. The client projects I am hosting with Netlify don’t violate the Acceptable Use Policy. It’s about sites for small traditional businesses (like a hotel). Or a portfolio site for an artist or an awareness raising campaign of an NGO.

What I was wondering about is the type of project, since these don’t really fall under the category of “personal projects, hobby sites or experiments” (as Netlify suggests on the pricing page for the Free Tier).

When I deliver a website to a client (which is critical to their business), I need to be sure that I choose a hosting option that is reliable. I was wondering if the site can be taken down just because it’s for a business and uses the Free Tier.

So do I understand that correctly: I can host sites for businesses on the Free Tier as long as they don’t violate the Acceptable Use Policy?

Hi, yes, you can host sites on the Starter/Free tier that don’t violate the acceptable use policy! :+1:

(“Businesses” are obviously very varied - Microsoft is a business, and so is Hank’s Hotdogs down the road, so, when providing vague guidance, we try and generally point people towards the right package.)

If you have any other questions, let us know :smiley:

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Haha, that’s true! That answers my question perfectly. Many thanks!

of course, any time!

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