Last Updated: 19 Oct 2011

   |   

Author: dordal

Website Launch / Relaunch Checklist

This checklist is useful when you're launching / relaunching a website or webapp. It doesn't substitute for a full QA; it's more of a 'don't forget to…' list.

Pre Launch

  • Verify that QA is complete and there are no outstanding issues / tickets.
  • Verify server settings. Vhosts must be setup and ready. The domain must be pointed at the new server (or have a 300s TTL if you're still pointing to the old server until launch).
  • Make sure you've migrated the old .htaccess file, including special settings and any redirects included there.
  • Go through the old site root and make sure you've copied other important files (Webmaster Tools verification; sitemap.xml, robots.txt, etc.)
  • Do a final spot check of pages or your app (preferably in IE) and make sure nothing looks broken; all pages have title tags, meta data, etc.
  • Make sure Google Analytics is installed, including any advanced tracking (virtual pageviews, e-commerce, event tracking, etc.)

Launch

  • Make sure you have a written launch procedure, as well as a rollback procedure. These can be simple - a few steps written on a napkin for the launch, and just a 'restore backups' step for the rollback. But make sure you actually have them, and have them written down. Launch is no time to ad-hoc important system changes.
  • Things you'll probably want to include on the launch plan:
    • Making backups of files and dumping databases.
    • Running your CSS/JS minification scripts (if you have them).
    • Putting your app into 'maintenance mode'.
    • Updating/installing any needed server side software (e.g. an updated version of curl)
    • Pushing out your actual code.
    • Making specific file or filesystem changes needed for launch (e.g. creating a needed symlink or changing a specific config file)
    • Running database update scripts.
    • Running one-time scripts, e.g. a permissions fixer script or something.
    • Setting up needed cron jobs.
    • Making any needed changes to Google Analytics goals, etc. as you go live.

Post Launch

  • Spot check the website again, probably in IE, to make sure everything looks good. Also spot check functionality (e.g. registration, login, contact forms, basic functionality in your app).
  • Make sure httpd access and error logs are going where you think they should be. Review the files and make sure no unexpected errors are showing up.
  • Spot check a few redirects (e.g. from old pages) to make sure they work.
  • Set TTLs back to 86400.
  • Check Google Analytics and make sure you're still getting tracking data and goals, etc. are still working. Note that Google typically takes ~3 hrs to update data.
  • Make sure any monitoring you've setup is showing everything is online and operational.

Discussion

Enter your comment. Wiki syntax is allowed: