Bringing your website under management

Once you have purchased a Website Management Plan, we run a structured onboarding process to assess the health and any hidden issues with your site before migrating.

We then perform a more detailed assessment before suggesting improvements and adding to our maintenance schedules.

 

To bring your website under management, we follow a structured process designed to ensure nothing important gets overlooked and that the website migration happens in a controlled and predictable manner before adding your site to our maintenance schedules.

As a distributed team we use modern collaboration tools to work with you.  As well as our ServiceDesk for managing requests, we use video calling for face to face meetings in which we screen share to demonstrate work and easily describe issues or recommendations.

Once the site has been migrated, we use the Staging website to assess and make changes to security, performance and website software before placing the site under management.

 

Setup

Accounts

We will create a new ServiceDesk account for you so you can request support immediately.

We will create a new request to start gathering details and preparing to move the website under management. If we don’t already have them, we’ll ask you for the following:

  • A website administrator account.  We recommend a new account which we can use to avoid needing to share or reset your own password
  • A hosting control panel login.  This is needed for many requests to verify files and permissions and download code for review
  • Confirmation you have administrative control over the domain name and who will be making any DNS changes

 

Website Health Check

As soon as we can access your site, we will install a management plugin called GorillaHub Technical Support.  We require this to access and monitor your website.  Please do not disable or remove this plugin.

The first thing we do with your website is a quick Health Check to make sure there are no unknown issues that might present themselves during migration or security/performance optimisation activity.

We take a high level look at the major website components such as site, files and database size.  We also run security and malware scans.

 

Hosting Setup

We set up the new hosting environment and ensure we are ready to receive your site.

Key items & milestones:

  • Accounts
  • Website Health Check
  • Hosting Setup
Migration

Website Migration

On completion of the Health Check, we will run a backup of the website and database ready to install on your new hosting environment.

If access to your current control panel access is not available to us we will need a backup if the website to install from your current supplier.  We’ll advise you how best to request this.

We will set the website up exactly as it is currently and then test it locally.

When we are happy the site is ready to migrate we’ll request the DNS A record for both sitename.com and www.sitename.com is made to point to the new IP address.  If you are unsure about doing this, we can make this change on your behalf if you supply a login.

This will trigger the propagation of the address which could take up to 24h.  If you have an e-commerce site we will place a Site Under Maintenance page on your current site to ensure that no orders are taken by the old website.

Once the site is live in the new location you can make arrangements to cancel your old plan.

Staging Website

One of our most important tools is our website replication system that ensures each day we have an exact and fully functional clone of your live website.  This provides us with an exact copy of your Live site each day to troubleshoot reported issues and perform maintenance on.

We use this for all testing and all development to protect your live website.

We password protect this to prevent the site being seen by visitors and Google until you are ready to apply the changes to the Live website.

This is hosted on one of our management servers under our domain and will be called yourdomain-staging.gorillahub.net.

As this is password protected and you’ll receive your login details from the ServiceDesk. Simply enter the details into the login box to see your site.

Each night, an automated routine will synchronise your content, media, design, plugins, data and user details to Staging.  If we are working on the Staging site, we place the replicator in Manual mode to prevent changes from being overwritten.

Key items & milestones:

  • Website setup
  • Testing complete
  • Migration complete
  • Staging website available
Assessment

Once the site has been successfully migrated, we carry out an assessment and Website Report.  This builds on the Health Check and looks at a number of areas in more detail including:

  • Website performance
  • Security
  • On-site SEO configuration
  • Software and Plugins

We will review this report and make any recommendations to address the issues we find.

 

Key items & milestones:

  • Assessment Complete
  • Website Report
Security

We will check your WordPress website against a set of security recommendations from iThemes Security.  We’ll apply any required and test on Staging before applying to your Live site.

We will notify you of any recommendations that may impact users (such as password policies) and request approval to proceed.

If the site is not fully secure (HTTPS) we will recommend a site conversion using your available Support Time

We will also install our recommended security plugin.

 

Key items & milestones:

  • Security changes complete
Performance

A website is very much like a car.  There are cars that are designed to be as practical and functional as possible.  There are racing cars that are stripped down to nothing and designed only to do one thing very quickly.

Some websites require complex dynamic data manipulation, external services and a number of plugins to deliver required functions while others can be tuned like a race car as they have a simpler set up.

Our objective when onboarding a new website is to assess what options we have to try and safely improve website performance.  We start with measuring the Staging website performance using a number of tools such as GTMetrix, Pingdom and Google Pagespeed Insights to gather a clear picture of the current website performance.

We will make a number of changes on Staging and test and measure the performance gains.  

Some of the more fundamental improvements such as caching and image optimisation are generally safe and predictable in nature so can be quickly tested.

Others, such as javascript optimisation, may break functions or pages and require more in-depth testing and these will be scheduled in at a later date.

 

Key items & milestones:

  • Initial Performance Report
  • Performance Optimisation Complete
Management

Once the Security and Performance changes have been applied to the Live site, it is said to be Under Management and is added to the maintenance and management schedules set out for your relevant service.

 

Communications

All communications are run through the ServiceDesk.  You can either reply to any email you receive or use the Web Portal at https://support.gorillahub.net

Please note every email sent to  [email protected] will create a new request, so only reply to the original note to avoid duplication and any messages being missed.

You can use the web portal to check on the status and see updates for all your requests:

 

Time Management

All plans, apart from Site Basics, come with support time included.  Please refer to the Website Management page for more details.  Requests for support are submitted through the ServiceDesk and an initial estimate of the time required will be provided for your approval.

After further investigation, this estimate may need to be revised so please be aware sometimes additional time may be required.

Time is tracked in 15-minute increments against your monthly allocation.  Should additional time be required you can simply top it up by purchasing a Support TimeBank or Support Plan.

 

Website Maintenance

We’ll upgrade and test your website against the latest WordPress, PHP and plugin versions within 1-4 weeks according to your site’s allocated maintenance schedule.  Once you are happy we’ll apply the changes to the Live Website.

Routine maintenance is performed monthly (weekly for Site Management).

 

Website Review

After approximately 4 weeks of the site being under management, we’ll get in touch to talk about any issues or recommendations to agree on any remediation or improvement plans.

This enables us to be proactive in suggesting improvements that can be made each month using your Support Time.

Review Calls can be arranged each quarter (Site Essentials) or monthly (Site Management)

Key items & milestones:

  • Site under management
  • Website Review