Client called a year later and wants website files
I build Drupal websites for a consulting company as a freelance job. I'm a Drupal Developer/Admin at a University by day.
What's everyone's general practice for post-project file storage? I normally don't keep files more than a few months at most unless I am wanting to keep something as a demo site. Recently, a client for a very small website that we built (< 25 hours Dev time) called and was frantic because "somehow" his GoDaddy hosting plan had been cancelled and all files deleted. He immediately requested all of the files for the website when it was initially build a year ago because he was moving it to 1and1 (you can see where this is going). The only files we had were the PSD files for the design as the designers generally hang onto those. He became angry and proceeded to question how we weren't obligated to keep these files for him and I tried to explain to him that I build a product and deliver it to the customer and what they do with it beyond that is their own responsibility. Granted there wasn't a handoff of physical media at the project close but all files were transferred to their server hosting plan with GoDaddy and made live.
In the future I do plan to go ahead and copy down the DB backup and website files and zip them up and archive them somewhere just to make it easy if this were to happen again, however I did offer him a very discounted price to rebuild it to the same condition that it was in when it was handed off the first time and after settling down, he appears to have agreed to that. I told him I'd require full payment up front this time.
You were not expected to store anything unless your contract required you to do so. I generally keep all my projects but I put no guarantee on that and I have lot a number of them since the completion date. I wouldn't store if asked to, they can pay third party services for that.
I agree with VG--if your contract says nothing about storing files for the client, you're not required to do so.
On the other hand, if you're not comfortable handing the client all files and all access once you've finished work. . .and there are many freelancers who believe that doing this encourages a client to tweak the site himself or to hire Cousin Goofball, thereby ruining your reputation...then you really have an obligation to hang on to the files forever, or at least until the site is taken down on purpose.
There is no compulsion to save files of websites developed long back... But it is always safe to save all the files for future... And yes, like Handdy had mentioned, you can charge clients in such situation...
Also, make sure you mention all your terms and conditions is contract properly...