Drupal: steps before launch website

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Before launch our website from local development environment to production, we must perform checks to save future problems. Usuarlly, the most typical are check broken links, watch styles on different browsers and devices (some day will die IE7 and IE8?), configuration of local version versus production environment, etc. 

This article focuses on letting your Drupal project ready before launching.

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Security

  • Set the appropriate permissions for files

A common mistake is not check files permissions on web projects, leaving the door open to hackers attacks. For example, make sure that the configuration file 'settings.php' can't be read or modified by someone else than Apache user. This is well explained on Drupal website: http://drupal.org/node/244924

  • Check permissions for each system role

One of the problems of constantly use the root system user is that you bypass all permissions, so, you don't check every role for each web section. It's typical skip some permissions if you don't check every place with every role. 

  • Disable system errors

It isn't very professional to have a website in production and watch red errors messages when accessing to certain pages. It's desirable to completely disable all display errors to public users from: 'Configuration > Development > Logging and Errors > None'.

  • Ensures administrator account

The administrator account should be used as little as possible. It can do too much damage in no time. The best option is create another role like "Editor" or something like that to manage the content, thus avoiding potential disasters.

 

Web Server configuration

  • Set system Cron

Drupal needs to run scripts from Cron for somethings like has updated the search index, search for security updates, etc. Therefore, it's highly recommended to activate it on the server, as shown in its official documentation

  • Check your email recipients

Make sure that all system emails are correct, such as the system account, users, contact forms, etc.

  • File upload size and execution time for scripts

If you have permission to edit these parameters in the server, it's a good idea to give them both a revision to suit the project.

 

Maintenance

  • Make an maintenance page

Sooner or later, will come a moment when you need the website offline for minutes or even hours. The ideal is to have a proper maintenance page at that time, the default Drupal page is unsatisfactory.

 

Performance

  • Enable system cache and Javascript / CSS optimization

It's mandatory to activate Drupal cache when the web project is launched, the performance is better. Normally it's not enough with activate in 'Configuration > Development > Performance', you should review each page or block created by Views module because they usually come with the cache disabled. Also is essential activate Javascript and CSS optimization, reducing in that way the numbers of files and HTTP requests.

 

Statistics and SEO

  • Activate statistics module

Is always a good idea to have active Drupal own statistics module, having available more data of what's happening in your site. For a more comprehensive monitoring of the project and, to improve search engine optimization (SEO), there are more options here

 

It's recommendable to check these tasks before launch our web site. We will avoid unpleasant surprises, don't you think?