There are several steps in preparing for and carrying out your live eRATEX store launch. This article will provide an overview of how we launch / migrate your store:
- When you're ready to go live, we'll ask you to complete a survey which will guide you through testing your staging site to make sure everything looks/works as expected. You'll check each box to indicate that you've tested the staging site, and that you don't have any further changes to make to the design or store configuration prior to launch.
- When we receive your completed survey, we'll ask Ratex to begin integration testing. They'll test things like VR, Verba, textbooks, order processing, and any authentication you have set up on your live site. Depending on your store configuration, Ratex may need your help to adjust some firewall rules which will enable them to conduct some of those tests.
- Ratex will work with us to resolve any issues identified during their tests, then they'll let you know when they've passed all tests. You'll have a chance to conduct your own order testing at that point as well. Once you're ready, Vortx will reach out to schedule a launch date with you.
- Before you go live, we'll have uploaded the new website code and the contents of your current live site /images folder to a new production hosting environment we've set up for you. Your /images folder stores all product, category, manufacturer, distributor, and department images, as well as any images you've uploaded through content editors (on topics, for instance) to the /images directory or sub-directories. This process can take several hours depending on the size, so we typically do this a day or two before the live launch so that we can keep your down-time during launch to a minimum. This means that a couple days prior to your launch, you'll want to make sure you're not adding/editing images on your live site - they won't migrate over!
- When we begin the launch process, we'll take your live site down for maintenance - we'll have a generic 'down for maintenance' html page in place so that we can prevent any new orders from being taken / new customers signing up. The maintenance page we use is attached to this article, if you'd like to edit a copy of this and provide to us to use for your store, please feel free! If you have specific changes you'd like us to implement (like adding your store's phone number), please let us know before your planned launch and we can help to put that in place.
- Once your live site is down, we'll generate a new live site database backup - this will give us a completely 'fresh' copy of your live site database (where all of your content, orders, customer history resides) - generating and downloading this database backup takes anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on size.
- Once we have the fresh database backup downloaded from your live site, we'll upgrade it to the latest version, install the new site template, and re-apply any changes to the site template that you've asked us to during your project, and then upload it to the production hosting environment on our servers. We'll connect the database up to your new version 10 software which we'll have uploaded prior to launch. Note that any changes you've applied to the store admin console over the staging environment will NOT be automatically preserved. Files you've uploaded via topics, and any changes you've made to your topic contents will need to be manually re-applied following your store launch.
- We'll then ask you to change your domain's DNS records (or we'll do it for you, if you like) to point your live domain away from Ratex servers and instead to Vortx servers. DNS can take some time to update everywhere (we typically see the changes reflected within an hour or two, but this can sometimes take up to 48 hours to be reflected in some locations), but at that point your new site will be live.
- We'll ask you to click through the store to test things out and make sure everything looks and works as expected. We'll ask you to place a test order to ensure that payments are processing and that your integration(s) are functioning as expected.
- We'll continue to host a separate staging site for you one month after launch. You can use this to test out any additional changes you might want to make to the store skin before you update the live site.