Getting started with your GovCMS build, including forklift instructions

Follow the guidance below to start your GovCMS Software as a Service (SaaS) site build.

Set up steps

1. GovCMS distribution

Download the GovCMS distribution from:

  1. your service provider’s development environment,
  2. Acquia Cloud Free, or

2. GitHub account

Your agency needs to create a GitHub account. You’ll use it to store GovCMS code files, such as your site theme. Creating a public repository is free. Once your site theme is uploaded, your account administrator needs to invite the 'govhosting' user as a collaborator (govhosting only requires read access).

3. Theme options

You can clone an existing GovCMS public theme from, such as 'GovCMS whitesites’, or your agency can choose to maintain a current site theme.

Development steps

1. Website in development

  1. Provide the GovCMS Team with the following details:
    1. Technical contact(s) for the website (full name and email address)
    2. Site domain name (URL)
    3. Tentative forklift date
    4. Tentative launch (go-live) date
  2. Respond to the email you'll receive from our service provider about your SSL certificate. When the URL is confirmed, the GovCMS Team will arrange for the URL to be added to the GovCMS SSL certificate.
    Note: the provision of an SSL certificate can take up to 7 days.

2. Website completed

Allow a minimum of 2 weeks leading up to DNS switch (go-live) following completion of the site forklift.

  1. Provide GovCMS with the following details:
    1. Your GitHub Theme Repository URL (or branch tag); and provide access to govhosting [at] (Subject: Hello%20again) (if theme was not set up under the GovCMS GitHub account)
    2. A copy of your site audit report - to obtain it, run the site audit script: URL - There is a GovCMS profile to run (govcms_saas).
      See documentation on Github that shows how to run this: php bin/site-audit audit:site [alias] --profile=govcms_saas
    3. Site database access. Please provide in a drush archive. Ensure at least one person is assigned to a 'Site Builder' user role when removing the Admin user role. (See guidance for Service providers at:
    4. Drush archive is uploaded to Google Docs account and access is provided to: [at] (Subject: Hello%20again) .

Forklift steps (GovCMS Team to action)

The GovCMS Team will arrange the forklifting (moving) of your site to the Acquia Cloud Site Factory - SaaS Platform).

Note: these details are not included in the GovCMS Launch Plan and Checklist document.

  1. Forklift (allow 3-5 business days)
    Once completed, the GovCMS Team will provide the URL and Shield (username and password) for your agency to commence user-acceptance testing (UAT).
  2. Site Audit (allow 3-5 business days)
    Any issues will be reported back to the agency. (Any Site Administrator permissions will be removed).

Launch plan and checklist

  1. When you have submitted the CNAME details to your DNS service provider for the DNS switch (see page 2 of GovCMS launch plan and checklist), please raise an Acquia Insight support ticket to confirm the launch date and time.
  2. You may need to request your DNS service provider to complete a redirect service as GovCMS can only list one URL on the SSL Certificate. You may also need to request your DNS servicer provider to complete a redirect (for example redirecting to For further information on DNS change for GovCMS sites, please see the GovCMS Community post Configuring an agency domain for SaaS hosting.
  3. Prior to the DNS switch, remove the Shield (username and password) by following these steps:
    1. Login to GovCMS site
    2. Go to Configuration
    3. Select Shield
    4. Un-tick Enable shield module
    5. Select Save

Once the DNS switch is completed and the Shield has been disabled, the site will be live to the public.