Phase 3: Revision & Launch

Phase 3: Revision & Launch

Finishing Up

As we launch your website, there are a few last decisions that we will need your help making regarding hosting and ongoing maintenance.

Pre-Launch Checklist

Website Hosting

Hopefully, by now we have already made a decision about your hosting plans. But if we haven’t, here are some things to consider.

We would be happy to host your website or migrate the website to another server. Keep in mind that in rare cases migration can be a lot of work, creating launch delays and increasing the cost of the project if migration was not covered in the original website build scope.

Our hosting rates are typically  $20/mo or $240/yr, but can be $30+/mo for special storage, bandwidth, and hosting portal needs.

You can certainly find cheaper options among companies like Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc., but these servers are usually significantly slower and less secure than our servers.

If you choose to host with ArcFires, we will assume shared hosting is sufficient for your needs. However, if you want our fastest option, we can put your site on a dedicated server. Just let us know what you prefer!

[DNS setup] Please set up a Cloudflare account for your website and point your DNS records to our server IP address (contact us to get that IP address). We’re happy to help with this process if you’re unfamiliar with Cloudflare or DNS records.

To have us host your website, please click here to create a hosting subscription using the rate provided in your hosting quote. You can pay for hosting by check or another non-card method if you pay annually. Monthly payments can only be made by card.

NOTICE: You will need to create separate payments for the website build and the hosting subscription. If you accidentally use the entire website build invoice amount into the hosting subscription, the form will create a recurring payment of the full invoice amount. That error can be refunded, but its best to not make the mistake in the first place.

In a best case scenario, migrating your website to a different host will take about 10 minutes and we would only need admin access to your WordPress environment. However, depending on how the other server was built, things can get complicated and as a precaution we will need file access to your host (FTP, cPanel, SSH, etc) to guarantee that the migration goes quickly and smoothly.

Use this information if you need to share access to anything with our team.

Pay Your Invoices

If you haven’t already, you will shortly receive an invoice for the work completed on your website build and a separate invoice for hosting (if you are hosting with us). Click here to view payment options and pay the invoice balance.

Click “Host your website with ArcFires” above to read about paying for website hosting. Creating a hosting subscription will require a separate payment from paying an invoice.

Ongoing Maintenance Strategy

Beyond the scope of hosting, your WordPress website will need to be regularly updated and maintained. Updates are absolutely essential to maintaining the design, functionality, and security of your website. These updates can be processed automatically or manually by your team or by a website developer.

Automatic Updates

There are significant pros and cons to using automatic updates as part of your website maintenance strategy:

Pros

Cheaper for ongoing maintenance (less time spent by your team or a developer doing manual updates). Helps keep your site secure if you don't log in often and are likely to forget to manually run updates.

Cons

Riskier (susceptible to spontaneously breaking the site without you knowing). Your website is among the first to 'experiment' with a brand new update and it could crash or experience major glitches until a new update is available. Manual maintenance is more time-consuming and potentially more expensive.

The WordPress environment will need to be updated periodically. These are less frequent than plugin updates and are usually less significant (less likely to break the site). However, when WordPress needs a major update it can conflict with plugins that have not yet been tested with the newest WordPress version.

Plugin updates can both solve and cause glitches, so updates need to be managed carefully or your site can break. Updating a plugin is very simple, but knowing when and how to update to avoid issues is something that requires some specialization.

Some plugins are specifically designed to help with backend tasks, such as security and performance. Performance plugins help your website run quickly and efficiently. Your website can be optimized and secured a great deal using free plugins, but advanced features often cost money.

Most of the plugins powering your website are free and can be updated automatically. For most websites, there are typically 2-5+ premium plugins that need licenses in order to be updated automatically. You can purchase your own licenses at full price or sign up to use our ArcFires licenses at a discount.

As we get ready to launch your website, we will let you know which premium plugins your website will need to maintain. We strongly recommend that you read more about plugin licenses here.

The website theme needs to stay updated to stay secure.

If you had our ArcFires team build your website then we most likely used the Hello Elementor theme. This is a very minimal theme that needs very infrequent updates. Updates to this theme are usually insignificant and have a low risk of breaking the site. Other themes are usually more risky to update.

The database stores all of the information for your website, such as the website content, settings, colors, products, etc. The information in your database is what makes your website different from another WordPress website with the same theme and plugins, etc.

Plugins often require updates to the database to improve the way newer versions of the plugin interact with the database.

 

WordPress websites are powered by a programming language called PHP. The language receives security and performance updates from time to time. This generally doesn’t need to updated more than once every year or two.

Summary

You’re either going to invest the time and money into making updates manually, or you’ll need to have your web developer. The managed WordPress maintenance fees are more consistent and predictable than occasional fees for fixing a broken site.

We recommend scheduling regular backups, setting updates to automatic for minor plugins, and then having a developer or team member manage major updates. Major updates (WordPress core, major plugins, php version, etc) should always be made *after* a backup is taken of the site.

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