The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist

About to launch a new website? Make sure all bases are covered with a comprehensive checklist you can't be without.
Dan Zambonini


What to check before your launch

We’re developing a checklist that all websites should be checked against before launch. Let us know if we’ve missed something out, or if something needs further clarification. Some well-known and well-documented tasks (such as validation and accessibility testing) are not explained in detail. Add your suggestions in the comments.

Our checklist

Content and Style
Typography and layout  
Check for incorrect punctuation marks, particularly apostrophes, quotation marks and hyphens/dashes  
Check headings for where you could potentially use ligatures  
Check for widow/orphan terms in important paragraphs  
Spelling and grammar  
Capitalisation (especially of main headings)  
Tense/Style of writing  
Recurring/common phrases (e.g. ‘More about X’ links)  
Variations in words (e.g. Websites vs Web Sites, or UK vs US spelling)  
Treatment of bulleted lists (e.g. periods or commas at end of each item)  
Check for hard-coded links to staging domain (i.e. ensure all links will change to ‘live’ URL/domain when site is launched)  
Ensure no test content on site  
Check how important pages (e.g. content items) print  
For re-designs, ensure important old/existing URLs are redirected to relevant new URLs, if the URL scheme is changing  
Check all ‘Hidden Copy’ (e.g. alt text, transcriptions, text in JavaScript functions)  
Standards and Validation
HTML validation  
JavaScript validation  
CSS validation  
Search Engine Visibility, SEO and Metrics
Page Titles are important; ensure they make sense and have relevant keywords in them.  
Create metadata descriptions for important pages.  
Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to should be reduced to a single consistent style)  
Ensure content is marked-up semantically/correctly (<h1>, etc.)  
Check for target keyword usage in general content  
Check format (user/search engine friendliness) of URLs  
Set up Analytics, FeedBurner, and any other packages for measuring ongoing success  
Create an XML Sitemap  
Configure Google Webmaster Console and Yahoo! Site Explorer  
Functional Testing
Check all bespoke/complex functionality  
Check search functionality (including relevance of results)  
Check on common variations of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.), version (6, 7, 2.2, 3.1 etc.) and platform (Windows, OSX, Linux)  
Check on common variations of Screen Resolution  
Test all forms (e.g. contact us, blog comments), including anti-spam features, response emails/text, etc.  
Test without JavaScript, Flash, and other plug-ins  
Check all external links are valid  
Configure backup schedule, and test recovery from backup.  
Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)  
Use robots.txt where necessary  
Security/Penetration test  
Turn-off verbose error reporting  
Check disk space/capacity  
Set-up email/SMS monitoring/alerts (e.g. for errors, server warnings); consider internal and external monitoring services  
Load test  
Check image optimisation  
Check and implement caching where necessary  
Check total page size/download time  
Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files  
Optimise your CSS: use short image paths; make full-use ‘cascading’ nature of CSS, etc.  
Check correct database indexing  
Check configuration at every level (Web server, Database, any other software e.g. Content Management System)  
Configure server-based logging/measurement tools (e.g. database/web server logging)  
Finishing Touches
Create custom 404/error pages  
Create a favicon  
Social Marketing: Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc.  
Submit to search engines  
Set-up PPC/Google Adwords where necessary  
Check formatting of site results in SERPs  
Monitor and respond to feedback (direct feedback, on Social Media sites, check for chatter through Google, etc.)  
Check analytics for problems, popular pages etc. and adjust as necessary  
Update content  

Special thanks

Updated 17 Feb ’09, 15:21 Added notifications (@keeran), Hidden copy (@jennybee) and Test search (@bwass).

Updated 18 Feb ’09, 17:18 Added testing of backup (Edinburger), Google Webmaster Console (josefresco and Mark Alves), External monitoring and internal logging (Fernando and Karan Bhangui), and Consistent lists and UK/US spelling (Pierre Far).

Updated 24 Jan ’12, 10:01 Added updated PDF version.

Updated 7 Apr ’09, 10:20 Added link to French translation.

Download a PDF version: The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist. (PDF, 75KB)

French Translation: La checklist ultime pour le lancement d’un site web. (external link)


Add a comment

  • 17 Feb 2009 14:45

    Great list Dan, thanks! I think the only things I'd add would be SMS/email alerts for exception notifications and server monitoring. K

  • 17 Feb 2009 14:45

    Unique title tags for each page… Partly for deep SEO. And partly because I just favourited this on Delicious and it didn't automatically have the title of your post! Thanks – very useful.

  • 17 Feb 2009 14:58 Box UK Staff

    @Carl Morris – Argh, can't believe these posts don't have unique titles! They should have; will get that fixed asap. @Keeran Ta, will definitely add that, and sort out the URL issue…

  • 18 Feb 2009 12:03

    You don't really need to submit to search engines – they will find you thru the link. And never pay to have your site submitted to "1000 search engines"

  • 18 Feb 2009 12:07

    For consistency: 1. Full stops (periods) at the end of list items. 2. UK/US spelling for English. Also, make sure there is a copyright statement in the footer, with the correct year (I still see copyright statements for 2008.) Pierre

  • 18 Feb 2009 12:11

    I think a good addition would be "Set up detailed server logging at all points of failure (database, web server, etc)". I think it's a very important think in case something goes wrong live, if you haven't already done so during production. It's also a nice complement to front-end analytics (as already listed)

  • 18 Feb 2009 13:36

    An "Availability" section: – Set up external web site monitoring (uptime)? – Set up an internal measuring tool too (cacti, nagios, monit etc) not only for alerts but to get some graphs for better optimization

  • 18 Feb 2009 13:59

    Validate your site in Google Webmaster Tools. This includes running diagnostics, turning on enhanced image search, verifying any Google sitelinks and confirming your sitemaps status.

  • 18 Feb 2009 14:08 Box UK Staff

    Thanks all for more great suggestions; I'll wait until the initial Hacker News traffic has calmed, then aggregate the suggestions and update the list. Keep them coming!

  • 18 Feb 2009 14:28

    I would add checking your contact form works. We just moved servers and it took us a couple of days to realise we didn't update the mail settings!

  • 18 Feb 2009 14:29

    Thanks for this list. Also thanks to all those who have added their own points to the list. It really helps to have such kind of information in one place. — Leroy Fernandes

  • 18 Feb 2009 15:00

    Awesome! Def gonna use this

  • 18 Feb 2009 15:41

    Checklist as PDF or ODS?

  • 18 Feb 2009 17:17

    would be great to have this as a PDF

  • 18 Feb 2009 17:54 Box UK Staff

    Carlos Kirkconnell: I kind-of agree (we still have a list of about 30 items left to 'refine' for this website which we launched last week), but I'm personally all-for obsessing over every detail. Jonathan Ive is known for 'obsessive passion … about attention to detail' (, and I know whose products I prefer between Apple and 37S.

  • 18 Feb 2009 19:26

    Great list! Maybe you can add a .PDF version?

  • 18 Feb 2009 20:34

    Great… Could have used this last week. Oh, well. I have it now for future projects. It is truly a great list, especially for team projects.

  • 18 Feb 2009 21:24

    Thanks to creators and contributors. I made it into a Google Docs: You can download a PDF version, print or whatever from there.

  • 18 Feb 2009 23:19 Box UK Staff

    Thanks all. Wow, loving the Google Docs version! Will possibly do another update tomorrow depending on number of new suggestions. (PS This is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike

  • 19 Feb 2009 00:18

    hi there are, to my mind, many more points to be covered in the check list.. off hand i'm listing just a few which i comes to mind now.. ( based upon my own experience in a corporate ): 1. arrangements with the service it your own leased line or hosted server.. security of the server, the possibility of running applications on the server ( database access, mailing lists, newsletters etc.etc.) 2. the arrangements for any payment gateways, their terms and handling of sales etc. 3. organising for updating the content from time to time 4. organising and setting up standards for handling the visitors emails and complaints of non working of certain functions 5. payment gateway arrangements ( where applicable ) regarding security, ssl digital signatures etc.. 6. whether the site should be in other languages, if so the managing of the fonts etc.,

  • 19 Feb 2009 09:50

    Just sent your post around the office – as an SEO guy I'll expand upon the bit about search engines but I think the idea is great.

  • 19 Feb 2009 10:29

    Nice check list, and one I'll get our team to refer to. Just wanted to echo a previous comment that there's no need (or benefit) from submitting your site to search engines any more. Just get some other sites to link to it and the search engines will find it in days (if not hours). I'd add a post-launch/marketing point to include a linking strategy – especially if you want to rank strongly on Google.

  • 19 Feb 2009 14:23

    Thanks . its very nice list.i gonna use this.

  • 20 Feb 2009 02:59

    Great list Dan, some additions: 1. Configure Windows Live Webmaster Tools 2. Submit the Sitemap you've created (Google/Yahoo/Windows Live/Ask)

  • 20 Feb 2009 14:06

    Good idea. Dan I can email you a checklist I use if you want? It's relatively extensive and based on checklists gathered by other web designers. If you are then let me know if I should use the main contact form or a specific email.

  • 20 Feb 2009 14:07 Box UK Staff

    Ryan, that would be amazing, thank you! My name is 'dan' and I work '@' '', so if you add those together you should get my email address… Thanks!

  • 20 Feb 2009 14:19

    Wow, great list! I've bookmarked this for future reference and all other webmasters should!

  • 20 Feb 2009 15:38

    If this is supposed to be an 'ultimate' list should it not break out points like Accessibility into relevant checks? You certainly go down to this level for SEO etc.

  • 20 Feb 2009 16:07

    before beginning, there could be a couple of points regarding hosting details, files/folders that have read-write access, etc.

  • 22 Feb 2009 07:02

    Thank you for making this list!

  • 22 Feb 2009 07:23

    What an awesome list – you should get a PDF version online before others steal it. Also, you have great website – illustrations are beautiful.

  • 22 Feb 2009 18:48

    Cool This is an amazing compilation. Many Thanks :)

  • 22 Feb 2009 19:14

    maybe SQL injection test :)

  • 23 Feb 2009 09:24 Box UK Staff

    Thanks all. We'll be uploading a PDF later this afternoon; in the meantime you can get it on Scribd: I'll also update the checklist later this week with any new suggestions.

  • 23 Feb 2009 09:29

    Handy list. Can't say I do everyone when I launch a website, but I try to do most!

  • 24 Feb 2009 01:19

    Should 'Check in text-based browser (e.g. Lynx)' be added to the Ultimate Website Launch Checklist? Why? It's a great and simple accessibility check. Plus, it uncovers tabbing problems for people who like to keyboard-browse your site.

  • 24 Feb 2009 06:05

    Hi Dan great list, i would like to include one more point to the list which is checking browser compatibilty and internal linking of all pages so that they can get crawled easily.

  • 24 Feb 2009 19:07

    Thanks an awesome list. Really useful.

  • 25 Feb 2009 10:24

    Nice list. I particularly like that you focus on content first (so many people seem to forget that.) When possible I'd set up things like Google Analytics and search engine submissions as early as possible. (1-2 weeks pre-launch) If using a testing server during pre-launch this isn't doable, but for new sites/domains that can publish pre-launch it can give you a leg up. I recently did this with a new site and found it helpful that Google had indexed the pages by the time I announced the launch. That said, obviously this can't be done until you have a preponderance of pages created, and can't be done if you need to keep site secret until the launch, but it's nice to get a bit of a head start.

  • 26 Feb 2009 14:58

    Great list. Didn't read all the comments to know if anyone's suggested adding checking DNS records (mail forwarding, etc.) when moving to a new host environment, but it's not so great when you hit the switch and your client loses their email access!"But look how great your new site looks!" never seems to go over particularly well in those instances.

  • 26 Feb 2009 19:01

    great list guys! besides validation, i would pay attention to the site being viewable in Chrome too. it's happened to us recently

  • 27 Feb 2009 19:05

    I miss 'user tests' and in this context ongoing 'navigation tests'. Another point is 'check landing pages' if affiliate programs or AdWord programs are used to promote the site. Very useful list. Bookmarked and posted to my site.

  • 01 Mar 2009 15:36

    This is a thorough list, excellent! Thanks.

  • 03 Mar 2009 05:00

    Excellent list! Too often we have most of these "To-Do" items in our heads but there's no way to get to all of them and more without a checklist such as this. Will definitely be utilizing this for all my future projects.

  • 06 Mar 2009 19:41

    Great list. How about testing your 'web2.0 and social networking features'. I.e. 'user generated content', 'social bookmarks', 'widgets', 'shared/posted links', 'user account set-up/settings', esp. OpenID/Facebook Connect, 'management & admin systems', 'mashup performance', 'embeded content', e.g. YouTube Videos, etc.

  • 10 Mar 2009 13:40

    Love this list. Great work guys! Stu.

  • 27 Mar 2009 10:14

    ok, what do you charge for checking a particlar website before louncing on internet…. Regards Eva

  • 02 Apr 2009 21:05

    I guess your handling 'usability' outside of this model. I don’t think anyone has mentioned functional testing for internal network sites/applications Make sure you test your site/application across the same environment that your customer’s workforce(s) is/are using. Thin client based Citrix environments throw up all sorts of problems outside of standard accessibility testing. Have fun with lists … Nice to see people working together!

  • 08 Apr 2009 01:07

    Thanks for the list. this is great.

  • 08 Apr 2009 02:54

    Excellent resource, thank you for sharing!

  • 10 Apr 2009 23:53

    Mmhh…I have downloaded the .PDF…Sigh…Here goes my weekend!

  • 14 Apr 2009 02:47

    And this checklist would also make a very good addition to any checklists or milestones you have created within your preferred Project Management system too. I plan to implement huge chunks of it in my boilerplate web site project template in activeCollab. :)

  • 14 Apr 2009 14:24

    Thanks a LOT!

  • 23 Apr 2009 09:43

    I was wondering if this could be formatted into an Excel checklist? Of course, only if you have the time.

  • 30 Apr 2009 15:12

    @EmmaB – You can save this page in your browser as html and open it up in excel. You'll have to do a tiny bit of cleanup, but the list is there.

    Great list by the way, Dan. I've been thinking of how I can incorporate it to my workflow. Not as a piece of paper on my desk, iykwim.

  • 13 May 2009 12:20

    I wish I had access to such good info when starting out our website. We learned as we went along and cut some corners which were tough to get back around. Nice list.

  • 27 May 2009 00:10

    Thanks for the great post. It would be great if there were links with the associated list items to either pages with more info or hints. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

  • 02 Jun 2009 02:55

    That is a great checklist indeed.

    Under marketing, I'd add 'create an XML site map' and replace 'submit to search engines' with 'begin link building process.'

    Doing the social marketing you mention and/or link building will get the site indexed in every search engine, so submitting is not necessary.

  • 29 Jun 2009 05:38

    Hi Dan, that's a really great list. I wondered if you might consider adding a link to my new website, Launchly is all about getting new websites the feedback they need to succeed and I would love to see it included as an optional step in the launch process!

  • 29 Jun 2009 18:21

    Functionality: Does the logo in the header link back to the domain name?

  • 03 Jul 2009 11:58


    here its one of the best needed checklist present.

  • 05 Jul 2009 21:27

    That is a very comprehensive list. Good job!

  • 20 Jul 2009 20:40

    Thanks, great list.

  • 22 Jul 2009 22:23

    How about adding – "Check for color scheme consistancy" to the content and style section.

  • 23 Jul 2009 17:31

    Wish i had done it before, thanks for the tips

  • 26 Jul 2009 20:05

    Great work, Thanks… Keep up your work work

  • 01 Sep 2009 12:28

    Good checklist, will use it for my website if the time has come. One small addition to the Security/Risk section should be to check the access rights to the folder/files and to tighten them as much as possible (that is: restrict access to outsiders).

  • 07 Sep 2009 12:47

    The post you made and the list is awesome. Screen resolution is a must!

  • 07 Oct 2009 11:10

    Thanks very much for this checklist. I had no idea there were so many different things to look at. I guess you only have one chance to make a first impression so it's worth taking the time from the beginning.

  • 10 Oct 2009 12:03

    This is quite a comprehensive list. I like the fact that you mention some of the things you are doing to get the site noticed by the search engines. Having great content and good design of course is very important. I would put having an online presence as the next item of importance on the list.

  • 12 Oct 2009 09:53

    Everyone absolutely need to follow a list like this when thinking about what their website will be like. Too many time we get caught up in how t will look and what bells and whistles it will have to impress people and show how clever we are. Remember that a website is there for a reason other than to boost your ego. If you want it to do the job you intend it to do successfully do the homework and follow a guideline like this one. It saves a whole lot of work later. Best to do it all first and spend extra time than tear it all down and do it over.

  • 03 Dec 2009 17:27

    good list! is the pdf version already available??

  • 04 Dec 2009 00:33

    Thanx so much, I was doing like 3 projects and got overwhlemed and this list helped me a lot, i tried coming up with one my self then i decided to get one in the rush of time. GREAT. Also remember to check your server limitations, so that u don't run out of allotments such as: max number of database connections and so on. Remember to secure your secret scripts that u use to either monitor or administer ur site! Login area sometimes is not enuff to protect, use a specific URL and only access it fr ur PC or u can remove or change it if u access it elsewhere.

  • 04 Dec 2009 23:31

    The checklist is really good and detailed.
    How about testing your 'web2.0 and social networking features'. I.e. 'user generated content', 'social bookmarks', 'widgets', 'shared/posted links', 'user account set-up/settings', esp. OpenID/Facebook Connect, 'management & admin systems', 'mashup performance', 'embeded content', e.g. YouTube Videos,

  • 14 Dec 2009 09:37

    I’d been taught that left-aligned labels are preferred, to support the prototypical F-shaped eye-tracking heatmap of web browsing. The idea is that it supports easy vertical scanning.

    But this study revealed this to be incorrect!
    IT solution

  • 04 Jan 2010 01:52

    What about a comms (communications) strategy?
    Probably not a concern for small sites, but a must for larger, very public sites like Banks etc who need to pre-warn customers their site is changing (so it doesn't look like the sites been hijacked on launch). Therefore, I recommend a complete comms strategy at least 2 months prior to launch for larger corporate sites. This would slot in around 'performance' entry in the above timeline.

  • 05 Jan 2010 01:08

    Great List. A bit short on detail with the performance and load testing. I'd add test performance from major centres. Stress test including leaving sessions open, rapid refresh etc.

  • 19 Feb 2010 10:39

    I put some thought into information security aspects for website releases and published it here:

    (Linking back to your great list at the end).

  • 14 May 2010 12:42


    Another critical check – whether Home page downloads within 10 seconds on dial-up connection

  • 18 Jun 2010 04:24

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for this really comprehensive list. I have been looking for something like this for a while. By the way, I came across this awesome web app called LooseStitch that is ideal for sharing checklists with others. So I have created a document on LooseStitch and entered the points from your checklist into it. Here is the link to the document:

  • 20 Aug 2010 16:06

    This is an impressive list.

    I've started sending my clients here so they can really put me over the hot coals, and also so they will appreciate how thorough I am with their sites.

    Thanks for the list.

    Best regards,
    Lex Fitz

  • 10 Sep 2010 15:42

    Nice post

  • 15 Sep 2010 20:03

    I don't agree with capitalization of headers. Knowm more difficult to read: see web design articles.

  • 20 Sep 2010 13:24

    nothign about SSL certs in there

  • 10 Dec 2010 14:44

    Great and Thank you so much Dan .Best wishes.

  • 22 Dec 2010 07:08

    thank you.

    Meery Christmas & Happy New Year

  • 18 May 2011 18:58

    Used this on several projects and loving it. I wish that it was HTML instead of a PDF though.

  • 02 Jun 2011 12:01

    I would add a autoresponder/newsletter from the beginning. Anyway nice list and thanks for putting it up, it’s very handy for every new launch. It helps you not forget some important steps.
    scary maze

  • 04 Jun 2011 07:42

    This is helpful.Thanks fro publishing the list.

  • 04 Jun 2011 08:43

    Nice share, thanks man.

    get her back

  • 07 Jun 2011 06:01

    This is what I have been searching for a checklist for launching a site. So glad to came across your site, you answer all questions thats running through my mind.

    Katty Perry

  • 13 Jun 2011 05:56

    Thanx Man, it’s very useful for me

  • 13 Jun 2011 14:21

    This a much more complete checklist than the one I created for myself and my readers. I’m going to borrow some from your list but won’t publish without permission.

    google tablet pc

  • 13 Jun 2011 14:25

    Using a check list is a great idea and will use this one as my template going forward. <

  • 15 Jun 2011 06:31

    Thanks for this list, I’m going to bookmark it for future site launches

    local scholarships

  • 15 Jun 2011 06:32

    This a much more complete checklist than the one I created for myself and my readers. I’m going to borrow some from your list but won’t publish without permission.

  • 21 Jun 2011 12:47

    wow, great blog, will be returning for much further reading to gain more info on

    this subject. Thanks – keep up the great work!

  • 27 Jun 2011 20:07

    Do you have any idea how to convert xml to pdf? I need to do a huge presentation next week, and I have no idea what I’m doing! Should I use ?

  • 14 Jul 2011 03:13

    I truly enjoy looking through on this website , it has wonderful posts.small business search engine optimisation

  • 31 Jul 2011 14:55

    a great, comprehensive list for the development of a site. I tend to subscribe to the idea that this is an ongoing process during development, but still incredibly beneficial even if you can only do it once pre-launch. I do much of this now, but it’s very valuable to have a list to reference in the heat of it all. Thanks!!

  • 07 Mar 2012 09:04

    Thank you so much, this has saved me a lot of time and trouble!

    Off to see a client now to get a content & branding brief.


  • 20 Apr 2012 08:32

    I was last here 2009, got your list. Brilliant. Its been a staple of mine since. Top download, thank you for providing this as download.

  • 12 Jul 2012 15:27

    Great list. It’s very important to make sure that everything’s working right before launching a website for a client. This definitely helps to make sure everything is touched upon. Thanks.

  • 13 Aug 2012 04:19

    I have been just reading through your site it is very well crafted, I am looking around on the net searching for the best way to start this blog thing and your website happens to be extremely professional. Webdesign Landshut

  • 21 Aug 2012 08:44

    If in the UK or Europe, make sure your site complies with the EU Cookie control directive.

  • 14 Sep 2012 06:45

    Great list, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    We also add post live 404 checks using a crawler (mostly just for reassurance ), submit site xml to search engines (webmaster tools) and testing on mobile platforms.

    Once live, we also reanalyse whether the sites aims that we initially created the site for are being achieved and if not why not.

  • 25 Sep 2012 14:51

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve
    got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or
    2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • 17 Oct 2012 05:57

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like
    to shoot you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  • 18 Oct 2012 15:16

    ingrid of which blog you are talking about , if you are talking about this blog so yes, this blog has contact us page. you can find contact us page top in navigation bar

  • 30 Jan 2013 08:56

    Thanks Dan for such a nice list.

    I would suggest that we number the item though.

    Let me know what you thinks.


  • 30 Jan 2013 09:32

    Hi Dan,

    Yahoo! Site Explorer is no longer active.
    Bing Webmaster should be used instead.


  • 30 Jan 2013 16:18 Box UK Staff

    Hi Eric, thanks for your comments! We released a new version of the checklist last year that includes some new and updated points, you might want to take a look:

  • 05 Feb 2014 12:09

    Thank you for time in putting this up! I have found it very useful.
    Ta very much!

  • 28 Feb 2014 12:16

    Hey! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make
    your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my
    apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!

  • 08 Mar 2014 00:04

    I was looking for list like this for a while, but I still miss checking for responsive layout of website here. Anyway thanks a lot!

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