Go Live Checklist

The process of “going live” refers to the process of building out your website and making publicly accessible. You can easily track these steps with the “go live checklist”.

Items in this checklist will display a green checkmark when completed, allowing you to track your progress and know which steps should be done next.


Locate Go Live Checklist

To locate the go live checklist:

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Select the environment name
  3. Click Go live checklist

Connect and Secure

This section consists of five steps to help you connect a domain to your website, as well as secure that domain with an SSL certificate. Completing these steps will make sure your visitors can find your website and securely interact with its content.

This process is essential to having your website found by visitors and listed on search engines.

Add Domain and Set as Primary

Adding your domain name in the User Portal “links” it to an environment and ensures the domain knows which environment on WP Engine the server should route visitors to.

In addition to adding your domain to the User Portal, setting it as “primary” tells the system which domain is preferred. This will mostly help with SEO and with backend processes, such as copying the website.

Learn how to add your domain in the User Portal and set it as primary.

Domain Connect

When adding your domain to the User Portal you may be prompted to automatically have your DNS configured with a feature called “domain connect”. This feature will ask that you log in to your DNS host so we can automatically configure your DNS records on your behalf.

When using domain connect we can also set your domain as primary, update the URL in WordPress, and even order an SSL for you!

Learn more about domain connect in our guide.

Configure DNS Records

Configuring your DNS records is done with your DNS host and tells the domain name (EX: mycoolsite.com) that it should send traffic to WP Engine’s servers.

In many cases the DNS host is a service like Cloudflare or Sucuri, in others it may simply be where you bought the domain name.

Learn how to point DNS to WP Engine in the extended guide.

NOTE: If you’ve purchased Global Edge Security be sure to see the DNS guide for GES instead.

Add SSL Certificate

Securing your website with an SSL allows your domain to show “https” and is important to protect anyone who may send information through your website.

For example, your checkout or login pages should be encrypted to protect sensitive user information. An SSL encrypts website data and protects everyone who interacts with the website.

To learn more about SSL options and how to add one, see our full SSL guide.

Update WordPress URLs

Updating your WordPress URL is required on any WordPress host and tells the WordPress software which domain should show up in the browser. This is an important step and prevents issues with redirects and even SEO.

Learn how to update your WordPress URLs.


Build

A website is more than just a domain name. After your domain is all set up you’ll need to build out the website itself. This portion of the process is focused on helping you create content and complete your website.

Log in to WordPress

In order to start filling in the “meat and potatoes” of your website you need to log in to the backend, usually referred to as the “wp-admin” or “admin dashboard”. In the wp-admin you will manage your website’s content as well as the look and feel of the pages.

We will have sent an email when the environment was completely set up and is ready to use. Within this email you will find a link to set your password for the first time.

If you don’t see the email, or prefer an easier way to log in, enable the seamless login feature. You will then simply click “wp-admin” in the  User Portal to automatically and securely be logged into the wp-admin of your website. No separate passwords to remember- Just a quick and secure way to log in to your wp-admin from the WP Engine User Portal.

Learn about seamless login and how to enable it.

Change Your Theme

Included at no additional cost with every WP Engine hosting package is a variety of StudioPress themes built on the Genesis Framework.

See the themes listing to check out which themes are available and to view a demo for each. When you’ve chosen a theme and wish to install it on your website, simply click “Quick install”.

Learn more about getting started with Genesis and StudioPress here.

Add Content

Once a theme is uploaded to your website, you can begin adding pages and posts within the WordPress admin dashboard. 

  1. From the wp admin dashboard menu, select either Pages or Posts
    • Pages — Content that will always be relevant and should in the navigation menu of your website, such as About us, Pricing, Menu pages
    • Posts — More topical and current content, such as an announcement for a new restaurant location or a recipe
  2. Select Add New
  3. Add a title, content, media and anything else you may want to display
  4. Click Publish

Page Performance

Test the performance of your website by executing a page-level speed test. If there’s any areas that may need improvement we’ll bring them to your attention along with some helpful suggestions to fix them.

Learn which steps are needed to go live with a website on WP Engine and where to find the go live checklist to see your progress.

Learn more about WP Engine’s Page Performance tool.

Site Health

The site health check shows critical information about your WordPress configuration and items that require your attention from the wp-admin dashboard of your website.

Click the link in this section of the go live checklist to go straight to the health check test.

Keep Plugins Updated with SPM

Smart Plugin Manager (SPM) keeps your environments secure by automatically updating all of your WordPress plugins. SPM can be customized to update plugins at a specific time of day and can even restore to a backup if an update causes an issue.

Learn more about SPM, how to activate it, and SPM settings in the extended guide.


Bonus Round

The steps in this section aren’t considered essential to launch a website, however they are highly recommended. Items listed here will ensure you have the tools and confidence to successfully run your website.

Explore Plugins

Plugins come in many varieties and are designed to expand and customize what your WordPress website can do.

View WP Engine’s recommended plugins.

Optimize SEO

Optimizing your website for search engines means it will be more likely to rank higher in search results making it easier for potential visitors to find. There are many factors that go into SEO, such as page speed, site content, and security.

Explore how to increase your SEO rankings.

Reach Fifty Unique Visitors

Reaching fifty unique visitors is a great milestone. This means your website is successfully live and being found by users through avenues such as search engines.

Make a Site Backup

Backups allow you to restore to a previous version of your website. If you are making edits on your website, making a backup first can help you swiftly bounce back if there are errors.

Learn more about backups.

Clear Cache

Clearing your website’s cache ensures that users are seeing the most current version of your site. Clearing cache is especially important when making changes to your theme or plugins.

Learn more about cache.

Enhance Security with Global Edge Security (GES)

GES is a security and performance suite partnered with Cloudflare that extends the security benefits already realized by WP Engine’s platform. GES is purchased as a plan add-on and requires DNS be pointed to a specific IP or CNAME address.

Learn more about GES.

Automatically update plugins

WP Engine's Smart Plugin Manager keeps your site secure by updating plugins for you. It also uses visual regression to automatically revert to a backup if an update causes issues.