Launch Checklists

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Here are some various listings useful to release and launch of a Drupal site.

Pre-launch Checklist

Launch Checklist

Post-launch Checklist

This listing is courtesy of the Urban Insight blog:

1. Disable old site on server Once the site is live you will want to turn off the old web server. Turn it off for a few days before actually destroying it. If the server was doing anything you didn’t expect it will be obvious during this off time and you can recover and move any needed assets.

2. Review Google Webmaster Tools for index issues Making sure a site continues to be happily indexed by search engines (especially Google) is vital to ensure client confidence during a launch. A quick check of Google Webmaster Tools will let you know if there is any old content that needs to be migrated, if Google is having problems indexing the site, or if your sitemap is not working as expected.

You might also consider checking the search site map in Bing as well.

3. Report top pages not found Site launches often involve migrations of content or changes of URLs for content. A quick check of the common 404 errors in the Drupal log will let you know if you have missed anything major.

4. Enable and review slow query log Review the MySQL slow query log as a great way to tell if you have any bottlenecks under production traffic.

5. Turn off unused modules There are many modules you don’t need on a production site. Post-launch is a good time to make sure they get turned off. (Example: If the client isn’t going to be changing views, why not turn off the Views GUI?)

6. Perform load testing Nothing beats a load test on a production environment to validate the server will remain stable during load spikes.

7. Test your backups! Perform a full restore test of backups on the production database and files directory (to a temp directory of course) to make sure what that your backups indeed are doing what you expected.

8. Review MySQL configuration and adjust as needed Now that MySQL has been running under production traffic it’s a good time to see if you need any MySQL configuration changes. One option is the perl script mysqltuner.pl.

9. Check key server settings Make sure Apache max_clients is set correctly and that the memory setting for APC is right (meaning it’s not filled up under production use).

10. Run a fail-over test Like backups, until you test the fail-over you haven’t set it up.

11. Deploy stage site If you have plans for post-launch support and development now is a good time to setup a stage server.

12. Setup vulnerability scans Use an automated scanning tool to periodically ensure various servers and sites don’t have any security vulnerabilities. Now is a good time to add the site to this tool.

13. Capture SEO benchmarks If you made SEO improvements in the new site now is a good time validate them. Hopefully you captured data before launch so you can compare.

14. Prepare emergency support instructions If you are providing monitoring and support after-hours for the site this is a good time to prepare emergency support instructions which detail the process one goes through to troubleshoot and communicate during an unscheduled outage.