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8 Things To Check Before Launching A Drupal Website

It takes a lot of effort to build a Drupal website that meets the high web design standards the customers have come to expect nowadays.

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You have been working tirelessly with your Drupal developer who has been coding for weeks together to finish your Drupal website. And now, the most important day has arrived – the day of the launch! 

This is the time for you to cheer and celebrate as all your hard work is finally going to pay off.

Hold on for a sec though. 

Are you sure you have done everything to ensure your Drupal site will not run into any unexpected problems once it is launched? 

It is always best to have a checklist handy a few days before the launch to ensure everything is in place and that your website is clear of any risks.

What? You do not have a checklist yet? 

Well, we have compiled a list to help you track key tasks before the launch of your Drupal website.

#1 Configure Cron jobs

Cron jobs are time-triggered actions that can help you automate things like re-indexing your search mechanism, checking for site software updates, retrieving various feeds like Twitter, processing message queues, performing routine maintenance tasks like backups and archiving, and notifying other websites of updates. 

Work with your web developer before the launch to automate as much as possible so you can reduce human errors and make your life easy.

Configuring well-chosen Cron jobs also leads to improved performance and security.

#2 Protect Your Root Account

Your Drupal developer would have probably used the admin account during web development. This root account will have unrestricted access to the entire website. 

You need to secure this admin account.

Hackers can create havoc if they somehow get access to this account. So, the root account name must be changed before the launch to something that is hard to guess, and it should be protected using a strong password.

#3 Optimize For Performance

It is not enough to build a Drupal website using the best web design standards. There are many things that your web developer should do to optimize the performance of your Drupal website.

There are many ways in which your website developer can optimize the performance of your website. 

A Drupal website has many CSS and JavaScript files. This results in increased number of HTTP calls being made for each page. Your Drupal developer should enable compression of these files in the performance section before the launch.

Configure caching on your website to boost performance. Caching is turned off by default for some modules such as Views – ensure it is turned on before the launch.

#4 Hide/Remove Unpublished Contents

Web developers often forget to check the status of nodes before displaying custom code for creating views. This may lead to draft work appearing on client browsers after the site has been launched. 

Therefore, your developer must ensure that these filters are applied on all the views. He/she should also make sure that any custom SQL includes tests to check the status of columns.

#5 Configure Statistics

“Reliability” and “Security” are a huge concern and so is “Monitoring”. You can use Drupal’s core statistic module to get the job done. You should go through the “Advanced Statistics” settings companion module before the launch. You can also consider using services such as Google Analytics to monitor site usage.

#6 Search Engine Optimization

Make sure you tune your robots.txt before the launch. Also, ensure that the relevant sections of the site are excluded from crawlers. 

Page loading is an important SEO aspect – pay special attention to things like meta tags, , image optimization, lazy loading and browser caching.

Your Drupal developer should make use of Global Redirect Module in combination with PathAuto. This will check the current URL for an alias and do a 301 redirect to it in case it is not used. This helps you with better SEO rankings.

#7 Configure Security Updates

Drupal automatically receives security updates for modules that are enabled. Make sure you configure this before launch, else the security releases will need to be checked and updated manually.

#8 Turn Off Error Reporting

You may have noticed ugly PHP and Drupal specific errors being displayed on live websites.  

Before the launch, go to Site configuration > Error reporting and set the option to write errors to logs. This will prevent the errors from being displayed on client browsers.

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