Dave McCourt thinks some thoughts...

WordPress site launch checklist

Posted in: WordPress

My process for developing, testing and launching a site is currently all in my head so I thought it would be useful to list it here for reference. This doesn’t include the ins and outs of the design or approval stages.

Initial set-up

  • Set-up local development environment
  • Set-up server account (shared, VPS or scalable cloud)
  • Transfer domain names and email set-up if required
  • Configure DNS for developing on staging server
  • Configure Cloudflare WAF and CDN
  • Set-up a Bitbucket Git repository
  • Install latest WordPress core version and basic starter theme
  • Set-up WordPress revision limit in wp-config.php
    define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3);
  • Disable file editing wp-config.php
  • Permalink structure and date format
  • Add favicons
  • Ensure basic WordPress security practices in place with .htaccess
  • Install key plugins: WP No Category Base, Advanced Custom Fields, Analytics (Google or other), ManageWP, SEO (Yoast or other)
  • Set-up Custom Post Types as required
  • Install security plugins (WordFence, Ninja Firewall, Sucuri)
  • Set-up off-site backup (Codeguard)
  • Configure plugins
  • Decide on required libraries (jQuery) and CSS frameworks (Bootstrap, PureCSS)
  • Create additional WordPress templates if required
  • Set-up 404 page
  • Set-up and test site search
  • Set-up and link social media accounts
  • Visual check on installed browsers for visual and functional issues
  • Test on Browserstack for wider range of browsers
  • Test on iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and other devices


  • Accessibility checks
  • Final content checks with client (ensuring accessibility/privacy/cookie policy is in place)
  • Run validation checks for HTML and CSS using the W3C validators
  • Run through an HTML 5 outliner to make sure the structure is logical
  • Set-up Google Webmaster tools
  • Configure malware scanning if required
  • Install two-factor authentication with Clef or Duo Security if required
  • Redirect old URLs if required
  • Update URLs in the database to new domain
  • Change DNS


  • Post-launch warranty bug fixes
  • Create technical manual
  • Check all services are working (Cloudflare, Sucuri, Codeguard, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools)
  • Client training if required