Drupal Deployment Checklist

Your Drupal development site is finished and it’s time to push it into a production version. Here are some things you should know about live sites and some checks you should do for your site before the deployment.

Before Site Goes Live:

Functionality

  1. Is your Home Page descriptive enough? A couple lines of text doesn’t constitute a good landing page for your site. Try to make sure you’re explaining who you are, what you do and possibly how to contact you or where they can go to find out even more information.
  2. Images & Videos – double-check any custom blocks you may have created that contain links to images or videos. 
    • If you see a blank spot where the media should be embedded, double-check your embed code.  If your media is stored within your Drupal site, also double-check the file name for spaces, capitalized extensions such as JPEG, or non-alpha-numeric characters.
    • For video content, we strongly suggest using the Video Carousel with Lightbox Feature.
  3. Check for hard coded links – If you have hardcoded links instead of using the CMS Link tool they will be broken when the site is pushed live. Please avoid using hardcoded links.
  4. Navigate through your whole site; make sure everything is working the way you want it to.

Compliance

  1. Are you using a main menu navigation along the top of your site? While this is by no means a necessity, it’s kind of a site convention and contributes to a consistent OSU web user experience.
  2. Are you aware of the Brand Identity Guidelines for OSU web content? Web Communications has put together a comprehensive information site that will help you guarantee your site meets these guidelines.
  3. Another important part of Brand Guidelines is Accessibility. More information regarding accessibility can be reviewed here.
  4. Does your site have Forms for gathering visitor/member information? If so, are your forms CAPTCHA enabled to help avoid your form being spammed? You can find more information about setting this up on your Drupal site here.
  5. Do you have contact emails for staff/faculty/club members in your site? Are you using mailto tags inside HTML to generate these emails? This type of setup opens the emails up to getting harvested by SPAM bots crawling the web. You may be inviting increased junk emails to your contacts listed inside your site. There is an alternative Contact Email form which can be setup inside Drupal.
  6. Have you filled out the Footer Content? One of the must haves is information available to site visitors on how to contact you or whoever maintains the web content for your site.

Theming

Here are some example sites using the different themes currently used by University sites:

These are simply examples of how sites can be structured in different Drupal themes, we’re by no means endorsing one over the other, just letting you know what’s out there.

After Site Goes Live:

  1. Once the site is pushed live you will be contacted with the connection information to the new site. The method of making content edit/updates is identical to the development environment, except now the changes will be made on your production site and be live instantly.
  2. Check for broken links – We find many broken links caused by pages being linked back to the development site. You can use a link checker to assist in finding broken links.
  3. Images & Videos – Go through your site looking for broken images and check to make sure your videos play and display. Again issues arise with these if they are pointing to files on the wrong server.
  4. Check your site again, make sure everything after the production push works the same way it did in your development site.

Next Steps:

  1. Update any bookmarks or saved links you have on your workstation, make sure they don’t point toward the old Drupal development site. Anything that has drupaldev in the URL is still pointing to your development site and will break once the dev instance of your site is removed.
  2. It takes time for search engines to find new sites or re-index your existing site for the new content. Search results will not be updated right away.
  3. Central Web Services will disable access to the Drupal development site once it is moved to production. After you site has been live for 1 week with no reported errors, we will delete the development site and removed from the server.

If you have questions or issues that aren’t covered here, don’t hesitate to contact us. Central Web Services can be reached at 541-737-1189 or online through our HelpTicket application.