Developing and designing a website is one thing. It is, no doubt, a taxing and time-consuming task. But there is one thing a lot of people don't realize, which is also quite complicated: deploying a website.
After all, once a website is all designed and ready, it has to be put up somewhere on a public network for everyone to access it, right? It might seem simple, but each client has different requirements.
From fresh websites being put up onto a hosting service to entire ready-made websites being migrated from one hosting service to another. There is a lot that goes into it, such as keeping the website framework intact and making sure the data is preserved and backed up. And that is exactly what we will be looking into in this blog. How is a website published fully? What are the steps? And what you should be keeping in mind when doing so.
Which Of The Following Identifies The Five Steps In Web Publishing?
So, let’s say you’ve finished designing and building the website. Now, you will move on to the preparation step. Here you will have to consider the state of the website. Did you build it from scratch? Or did you modify it?
And from there, three scenarios arise:
● The client does not have hosting (completely fresh publishing).
● The client has a personal server that you will be publishing onto.
● The client has third-party hosting, and you will be migrating the site to a new server.
Pretty much all web designers prefer the first scenario because it is the most convenient. They will not only be building and designing the site from scratch but also deciding on the best hosting service and setting up the website server using their own method, which is not only convenient for them but for the client and their requirements too.
As for the second and third scenarios, they are a bit less preferable because the designer will have a trickier and more complicated job on their hand. They will have to take more factors and variables into consideration before moving on with the deployment and publishing process. Here's how you deal with all three scenarios.
Since this is a blank slate that you are getting, you have carte blanche. All you need to do is get a domain registered and purchase a hosting package. Once that’s done, you can move on to deploying the website. It’s that simple.
Scenarios 2 & 3:
Here’s where it starts to get complicated. If there is pre-existing hosting, then you won’t be able to get access to it just like that. You will need access to domain management credentials to get access to the hosting space.
You might think that you can just approach the client for this, and in some rare cases, you can, but most of the time, the client doesn't concern themselves with these things. They will have delegated this task to the administrative or technical department, the IT guy, for short.
The recommended practice is that you do your homework before approaching the client about this, or don’t approach the client in the first place. Websites like whois.domaintools.com can help you get the necessary information about a certain domain to where you don’t have to reach out to the client at all.
You can directly reach the hosting administrator and ask them for the domain management credentials without much hassle.
All you need to do is type in the domain name into the bar, and it will bring out all the necessary information for you. You can even find the registrar who registered the domain name.
So, once you have that information, you can contact the domain’s administrative or technical contact and ask them for the relevant credentials so that you can get on with your work.
2. Managing The DNS Records
So, if you’ve done everything right so far, you will also have access to the DNS management administration. This is good because it will be important for step 2, which is setting up the DNS records. Here’s how you go about it.
First of all, you will create an "A" record, which is also known as the address record. This "A" records imprints the domain name onto the IP address of the server. This is done first and foremost to get a live preview of the site, which can be edited in real-time.
If you prefer your work to be convenient, you can always ask for access to the domain registration service account that they have. From there, you can always map the domain name to the IP through GUIs, which makes the process quite simple.
3. Set Up a Live Testing Site
So, you’ve figured out the hosting and the DNS records. Now, it’s time to simulate the website in a liver server environment and see if it works correctly. What a lot of people do is set a subdomain URL up to see if their site works the right way.
Though, it should be remembered that if you set up a subdomain on the host, it will create an entirely new directory. This will also affect the DNS settings that you have so carefully configured. So, create the subdomain so that it acts as a completely new website. This is known as a domain alias or a CNAME record.
So, what this does is it sets up the website in the same place as your main domain. And from here, you can work on setting up everything and testing all the things that should be tested to see how the site would behave when it was taken live. From backend settings to front-end design and UX factors, everything should be tested to ensure the quality of the site.
Here’s a tip: If you have uploaded a new site onto a server that was holding the old website, then you don’t have to worry about any issues. As long as you set up a subdomain DNS, everything should go smoothly, and your tests should come back positive.
4. Set Up Email Accounts
This might sound unnecessary, but it is an important step that so many developers overlook. You can be sure that the client will care about where their email hosting is and if it’s working correctly or not?
If it’s on the same server that you are going to deploy the new website, then there’s not much to worry about. All you need to do is take all the email data and create a new account that is mapped to the new website. So, it’s much more of a transition than an overhaul of the entire email system.
The entire matter becomes more complex if the email hosting is based on a third-party server or a private mail server completely separate from the website server. Then it’s a matter of getting the right MX records and making sure they are all updated.
You can ping the mail server with a request, and if the IP that comes back from the mail server is different from the website server, then you know that the mail hosting is based somewhere else that you will need to work on to migrate all the records and credentials the right way. You also need to keep in mind that the domain administrator knows about this entire process. For this, you can use a software called MxToolbox, which will provide you with all the relevant information about the MX records.
5. Backup and Go Live
We finally come to the last step. As every coder and designer knows, making a backup is one of the most important things you can do during the entire deploying process. So, once you’ve set everything up, you should make a backup, including all the data that you take from the old website and keep it somewhere safe. This is done to ensure that your entire web deployment timeline stays on track and that there are no delays.
Once that's done, you just need to change the A record for the domain name by using the credentials you had for the DNS records. Set the IP address to the server where your new website is based, and soon, you will have a live and ready version of the website for the entire world to access.
If you encounter any problems, you can just switch it back to the old website while you test and analyze the problems. Don’t worry if you encounter any problems, but you should remember that when testing, if the problem is the Name Servers, then it can take somewhere around 72 hours to get everything back on track. Just keep an eye on everything, and you should have the live version up and running without any problems soon enough.
So, by following this detailed five-step guide on how to locally host a website or externally, you can be sure that your deployment will stay on track, and you will have a great and live website in no time.