Before Uploading Your Website: A Checklist

by Matt Montaruli on February 16, 2012

Once you’ve finished coding a site, the steps you must complete prior to uploading can be a little fuzzy.

Between testing, creating server files and general review, it can be confusing to know which steps should be completed prior to launch, and in what order.

Below, we present a suggestion for some pre-launch tasks that should be completed to help ensure a successful launch.

1. Check All of Your Links

Ensure all location references for external files are correct–check your stylesheets, images, javascripts and especially anchors to ensure there are no broken links in your navigation between pages.

These issues must be fixed before anything else can be tested.

2. Get Design Approval

If different people design and code, ask for the designer to review the live site before proceeding any further.

Completing any of the below pre-launch steps before this could force you to to go back and complete those steps again if your designer has an issue with the rendering.

3. Test Different Window Sizes

Ensure changing the window size doesn’t break the layout. Fix any percent, em or fixed widths or margins to ensure a change in window size won’t misalign site elements.

4. Change the Page Zoom

You also want to make sure that changing the page zoom won’t break the layout, either. Changing the page zoom may often cause elements to float around or overlap where you wouldn’t want them to.

5. Cross-Browser Test

Start with Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. The rendering differences between these four browsers should be minimal.

Next, test in IE9 and IE8. IE8 won’t render CSS3, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve progressively enhanced from CSS2.1. Other than this, test these two before moving on to IE 7 and 6, as fixing rendering issues in IE8/9 should be relatively easy and often won’t require a separate stylesheet.

There is a decent chance you’ll need to create a separate stylesheet or two for IE7 or 6. Add styles accordingly with conditional html comments and external stylesheet linking.

6. Check Your Site on Tablets and Smartphones

A pixel or two might be off when viewing on tablets or smartphones, which may break your layout. If this is the case, see if the issue can be fixed by tweaking the styles. Worst case scenario, use media queries.

7. Prepare Your Server Files

If everything looks good at this point, prepare your htaccess, robots.txt files and others as applicable. This would be a good time to determine if you’ll want the www prefix, and how you’ll want your pages to redirect. You should also determine which pages should index in the search engines.

Are there any steps we missed? Would you re-order any in this list? Let us know in the comments.