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So, you've been working hard on making your Drupal site look and feel the way you want. It has all the functions you think you'll need, at least to start. Now, it's time to launch. As it happens, Drupal requires little or no additional work to go from development to public use. In fact if you've been secretly developing your site on a public web server, all you need to do is announce its existence and wait for the hordes to arrive. But here are a few tips that could help ease that transition. First of all, if you're moving from one server to another or from your home computer to a server, review the requirements that we outlined in the video, checking Drupal's requirements. If you have any questions or can't get the site to work properly, contact the system administrator.
Secondly, check all the permissions. The best way to do that is to go through the registration process yourself the way that everybody else will and see what parts you can and can't see. Is it the way you expected? If not, go back as the administrator and make the appropriate changes. Third, have a beta period. Invite your friends to check out the site. See what complaints and compliments they may have. You'll be surprised when you've more eyes looking at your site. Fourth, before you launch, make sure that your backup routine is perfect on your new system.
You may have to change some things. For example, if you were developing on a desktop computer and are now on a server, you'll need to use an FTP program to get your files to and from that server. Don't just practice backing up; actually restore your site from a backup at least once to make sure that that works. Remember, a backup is only as good as your restore routine. Finally, here is the procedure to move your site to a server. Go back to wherever you first installed Drupal. I'm going to do that by clicking on the Finder and hiding everything else.
I've the Drupal folder here, but I actually need to grab the entire folder. So, I'm going to go up one level, on the Mac you go to Go and Enclosing Folder. On the PC, you'd just click on the icon that goes to the Enclosing Folder. This is the folder that goes to your server, typically be an FTP program. We named our entire folder Drupal. You may have named it something else such as the name of your site. Whatever you named it, the entire folder has to go. You may also need to speak with the system administrator of that server. Inside the Drupal folder, there's one folder in particular that may have permissions problems, that's the Sites folder. Inside here, all and default maybe read only and that may cause problems if they're not copied to your server correctly.
If so, Drupal will tell you. Once that folder has been copied to your server, you also need to upload and SQL database. I'll show you how to export it now through phpMyAdmin. If you've phpMyAdmin installed on the server, you can import it the way that we show you in the backing up your site and restoring your site from backup's videos. To launch phpMyAdmin on your local computer, go to MAMP or WAMP if you're on a Windows computer, go to Open start page and then click on phpMyAdmin. To export the database, scroll down and choose Export and then choose your Drupal database. Scroll down to the bottom of that screen, select Save as file and then click Go. You can then take that file and bring it to your server to phpMyAdmin or whatever other MySQL administrative tool you use.
That covers the technical points, but there are also social points to look out for when you launch a site. First, assume that people will try to abuse the site. You can always give people more freedom, but it's hard to take it away. So, start with very little permission given to the ordinary user and then add more as you start to trust them more. We've shown you several ways of protecting your site and controlling permissions, but I also recommend that you look through a part of the Drupal site which has security modules, that's drupal.org, then go to Download, Modules, scroll down and Security. Remember to filter according to Drupal core compatibility. To do that, you need to sign up for the drupal.org website and log in.
Next, have realistic expectations, remember, you may have been working on this site for weeks and months and it maybe your entire world, but to somebody who doesn't know about it, it's just another site on the internet. Things may start slow, don't be disappointed, just work on making it bigger and better. Next, make sure that you've a feedback loop, so that when people see something that works wrong or right on this site, they'll tell you and you can improve the site further that way. I recommend in fact that you add a forum that's specifically for feedback in the site. I'm doing that now by going to Administer and Forums, adding a forum and just call it Website Feedback of something like that.
With this forum, you'll not only have feedback, but it will be public feedback which other users can comment on and then based on public feedback, you can decide what changes to make. Finally, expect to be surprised, there's such an enormous diversity of people in the world and they all have access to your website. You might be surprised that exactly who comes, perhaps a different age group than you expect or a different interest group than you expect. Try to follow the crowd, but still remember, it's your site and make it what you want. Launching a site involves a major switch in the skills you use everyday, up to this point, you've had to focus on design, configuration and of course, content.
Those skills are still needed after you launch. But now, your primary job is to be a social manager. Unlike in the world at large though on your Drupal site, you make the rules.
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