Something that is overlooked by a lot of web designers and developers is what is actually involved in the deployment of a website; the process when you’ve finished developing the site, tested to make sure it works, and are ready to push it to a live web server.
In a lot of cases, you will be dealing with clients who are getting their website for the first time, and there is nothing for you to really consider apart from the hosting solution to set them up on. As time goes on, you will start getting larger clients that may have existing websites already, or who have more complicated needs. You may find yourself in a scenario where the outcome could be a very unhappy client with data loss and a whole company’s worth of missing emails and site assets. Here are some basic steps that will ensure that you have covered all the bases for a smooth website deployment.
Step 1: Preparation
There are a few things to consider when you are finalizing a website, and they all depend on what type of deployment you will be completing.
The three general scenarios of a website deployment is:
1. The client has nothing (i.e. this is their first website)
2. The client already has hosting and you will be deploying the site on their server
3. The client already has hosting but you will be moving to a new server
The first scenario is the most desired because you are starting with a blank slate. Scenarios 2 and 3 are a bit trickier and involve a more thoughtful deployment process.
Once you have worked out what your deployment scenario is, you will be able to better prepare yourself for everything you need to do in order to carry out a smooth transition from the old website to the new one.
If you are dealing with scenario 1, then all you need to do is register their domain name and purchase (or provide) web hosting. Simple and fast deployment.
Scenarios 2 and 3 require some information gathering. You need domain management credentials for the existing web host so that you can manage the DNS records (more on this in a bit). You will find that, in many cases, the client has no idea what these are or where to get them, so you will need to do as much as you can before you approach your client.
So let’s gather information on our own. We can use a tool like whois.domaintools.com to find out some information about the existing domain name.