May 1, 2012 | By:

Five Things that Happen Before a Site Launches

One of the many services we offer at Ilfusion is the development and launch of your company website. For many people this site will be their first impression of your business, making it as important as having an attractive storefront or a solid menu. The process is serious and to do it well may take some time. Once the design and development phases are done, it’s time to launch your site.

This process can be quick and painless or a great toil depending on the work flow. At Ilfusion we try to take care of the whole process for you, and making it go smoothly relies on being prepared. Here are some of the matters that must be dealt with before a site can launch:

1. The clients, designers, developers, and copywriters finish building the site. Obvious, right? But make sure every typo, error, and tweak has been handled before the site launches!

2. All of the files that make up the site must be transitioned to the appropriate location. That means they need to be uploaded to your web host (it’s easiest if we host your site ourselves, but we work with other hosts as well). If a database exists, that will need to be configured and moved as well, especially if there’s a content management system (CMS, like WordPress) involved.

3. Once the files (HTML, PHP, CSS, etc) are in the right place, all files, links, and other info must be checked again to ensure that nothing went wrong in the transition. This is to ensure particularly that there are no broken links. At this phase (and possibly the previous) you may preview the development site at an address that contains a long number, the “IP address.”

4. When the site is fully functional, it’s time to set the domain name. In reality, a domain name is simply a shortcut for the browser to visit a numerical IP address, and your Internet service provider uses a domain name system (DNS) server that maintains records of all of these shortcuts. So, you point your domain name to the right IP address, and in a matter of hours (as few as 2 and as many as 24) all of the DNS servers will update to include the new shortcut.

5. If we haven’t already set up all email addresses and servers, now’s the time to get it done. These include updating the MX records (the domains responsible for processing your emails), CNAME records (domains that manage your files, such as FTP), databases, 301 redirects (additional domain names that point to your site), and other information. If you have an IT team who wishes to maintain full control over the DNS, they can simply create an “A record” to point to an IP address- this will allow email and other records to stay as they are while allowing the new site to go live seamlessly.

Once all the DNS servers update (or “propagate”) you can view your website at its domain name and everything should be working properly. You can try clearing your browser’s cache to see if that resolves to the new site a little faster.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to make a clean transition for you and your customers!

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