Doc Pop’s News Drop: Are Developers Responsible When a Plugin Breaks a Site?

Doc’s WordPress News Drop is a weekly report on the most pressing WordPress news. When the news drops, I will pick it up and deliver it right to you.

There’s a great conversation on r/Wordpress (lowercasing is their theirs) about what happens when a plugin update breaks a clients site. Is it the developers job to fix it for free or should they include a monthly maintenance fee in their contract?

We also share some news on the semi-semi-final round of Plugin Madness and hear some great news about WordCamp Europe.

Love WordPress news but hate reading? My name is Doc and this is Doc Pop’s News Drop.

When a plugin breaks a site, is the site developer beholden to fix it?

That is the question asked by cag8f on r/WordPress, Reddit’s popular WordPress forum.

The original poster says that six months after developing and launching a site for a client, a plugin accidentally broke the sites functionality after a change made remotely by the plugin’s developer. Obviously the website owner wasn’t happy about having a broken site and expected the website developer to fix it for free.

The developer fixed the issue for free, but asks reddit users for advice on how to handle this situation in advance.

A user named MyWorkAccountIsThis suggested adding a monthly maintenance contract to your contract. This addendum would say there is an agreed amount due open completion of the project, and any additional work down the line would be an extra expense. Although there are some great ready made contracts for free online, MyWorkAccountIsThis says the contract text can be a straightforward paragraph such as

“In the event a third party plugin causes an issue after deployment – from updates or otherwise – the time required to fix the issue will be deducted from your monthly allotment of support time or you will be billed $X per hour in no less that 15 minute increments with a one hour minimum.

Another great resource fro web designers is, which offers free and ready made contracts for freelance developers. These contracts include that monthly maintenance fee clause.

One of the things the developer was struggling with was finding a similar analogy to help the client understand that the deal was for the delivery of a working product and that also relies on some 3rd party content that may at some point break or need to be updated.

On commenter offered auto-mechanics as a good analogy. “You can install a new part from a manufacturer, but you cannot guarantee the life span of that product yourself. A paid or custom built plugin can be more reliable, like a car part with a warrantee. A free plugin will save them money, or speed up deployment, but all web sites will need maintenance at some point, and no auto mechanic does maintenance for free.”

I’ll share a link to the full reddit thread in the comments below, there’s lots of great advice in there, but beware, Reddit is a not our own software, and we are not responsible for any broken or asinine comments found within.

It is week 4 of our Annual Plugin Madness Tournament and this is the most exciting year yet. Last week we officially broke all of our previous records and are well on tract to have more voters this year, than our previous two years combined!

It’s the semi-semi final round with 8 plugins in 4 brackets. One of those brackets pitches two of our previous Plugin Madness winners against each other which is amazing. WPMUDev’s Smush plugin, which won our 2017 tournament, is up against Advance Custom Fields, Elliot Condon’s popular plugin that won our 2016 tournament. Last week, Smush was paired up against Hummingbird, which was another one of WPMUDevs plugins, leaving only one of their plugins in this round of the tournament. And now Smush is facing off against ACF. No matter what happens this round, one of these two previous champions will not make it to the next round.

To vote for your favorite WordPress plugins, go to today!

And finally, WordCamp Europe is just 3 months away and I’m excited to announce that Emily, the editor of Torque, and myself will both be in attendance. Each week before then, Jenny Beaumont, WCEU’s lead orgainizer, is sharing a behind the scenes video about the event.


Thanks Jenny, we’ll see you in three months.

That’s it for this week’s News Drop. What are your predictions for the next few rounds of Plugin Madness? Share your bracketology in the comments below and stay tuned next week for more on WordCamp Europe, Plugin Madness, and the latest WordPress news.

Doctor Popular is an artist and musician living in San Francisco. As a full disclaimer, he is neither a doctor nor popular.

The post Doc Pop’s News Drop: Are Developers Responsible When a Plugin Breaks a Site? appeared first on Torque.

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