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Risks of hiring freelance programmer

freelance programmer, steal

6:33 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone,

I started a social network website few years back just because I was learning programming for my intrest... The website got popular but now I don't have time to work on it anymore. (working as coding and adding new feature and etc.)

So I was thinking to pay a freelance programmer once in a while to do the job that is needed.

But here is the problem, How can I ask someone to do the job without giving him my website codes/scripts?

I don't want to risk that someone steals my website...

Or is there any better ways of doing it ?

Thanks :-)

6:53 pm on Oct 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Most freelance programmers have their own servers. Give him/her the html/css files and for scripting purposes, it's not that hard. Tell him/her they'll be pulling data from these table names with these column names. Tell him/her what variables need to be passed to other pages you've designed. Tell him/her what variables would be passed to the page that's being built. You can fill in the database connection info yourself later on. Once they've built the page on their own server they can hand it to you to test for yourself.

There's no one you can trust in your server files, even your friends.

1:25 pm on Oct 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Oh, I agree you should be working on a DEV or STAGING copy of the site, hosted on localhost or a different server (not the live one). And while building and maintaining the site, always work with a copy of the database, not the real one.

But I think sOh31l is asking how they can ensure a freelancer doesn't steal the source code to start their own clone site?

Hire someone who lives nearby (ie don't outsource it across the globe), get a lawyer, draft a DNA (non-disclosure agreeement), a NCA (non-competition agreement), and have them sign the contracts.

And choose your freelancer wisely. Choose someone with the skills for the job, with a reputation for honesty, and mature enough to have a lot to lose if you sue them for cloning your site. You may want to hire from an agency.

3:51 pm on Oct 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies :-)
3:45 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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.ftpaccess is your friend. Lock his access only to those parts he needs to access and block everything else off.
7:54 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As a programmer myself, I have worked several projects that made me out to be an idiot (I can do this on my own, I don't need any help, thank you) due to this kind of "protection." I was only privy to specific areas and had no knowledge of the effect it would have on other areas.

For example, a simple change to an .htaccess file breaks something that I was not informed of, didn't even know existed, and the reaction was that I should have been psychic enough to "just know" it would break something.

If you hope to get the best work out of your programmer, complete and total disclosure is absolutely essential, especially if the site is complex and large. They need to be made aware of every nuance and detail so a seemingly harmless action doesn't initiate self destruction.

And yes, there are a lot of B.S. programmers out there, ones who, rather than take the time to review the code, understand it's logic, work with it, will just say it's a pile of outdated amateur crap and needs to be built from scratch (this should be your first red flag, whether or not the statement is true.) So your concern is legitimate.

It boils down to one thing: reputation and trust. Find someone who has a history. Review it. Ask if you can speak with some of their clients, personally I'd completely agree with this if asked. Like it or not, you need to trust your programmer and system administrator as you would trust your spouse, if not more.

If you do find someone of this caliber, after a common NDA is agreed and signed, your first step is to have them LOOK. Don't touch. Look, build a report. Pose some questions/problems/tasks you absolutely know the answers to, gauge their response. See if they overlooked anything you think they should have caught. See if they have ideas you'd never thought of, which would make them a very good asset.

Then if it all works out, marry them - err, write up a contract. Same thing. :-)

A reputable programmer would never risk "stealing" your web site in exchange for their reputation. Personally, the only things I gain, other than compensation for services, are the new ideas and knowledge I learn by working with a new project.


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