Building a new website

Building a new website

There are many things to consider when starting your website project. Find out more about building on or off the GovCMS platform.

You can build a website on or off the GovCMS platform. Each method has a few differences in process and terminology. The decision to build on or off the GovCMS platform will come down to the individual circumstances of your website project. If you are unsure, contact the GovCMS team or connect with other organisations through the GovCMS Community.

GovCMS hosts Drupal websites only. As a new website on GovCMS, your site will need to be on Drupal 8.

Sandbox

When developing on the GovCMS platform, the environment the website project sits in is known as a sandbox. A sandbox environment allows for the secure development of content, theme and code for the website.

Sandbox environments are charged monthly and will be discussed as part of the proposal for your website project.

The sandbox environment will have a shield enabled that requires a username and password to access. The shield stops the website from being visible to the public. It also blocks search engine web crawlers from indexing the site to appear in search results.

Migration

When your website build has finished, the website needs to move from the sandbox to the production environment before it can go live. This process is known as migration.

Each production environment includes a master branch and can have up to four additional branches. Any further development or testing occurs in a branch of the production environment. Technical information on setting up and using branches in GovCMS are provided during the onboarding process.

The GovCMS team will check on your website project’s progress and arrange a date and time for the migration. On the day of the migration, a short content freeze will be requested by the GovCMS team. This ensures that content updates aren't lost during the transfer process.

Forklift

When developing your website off the GovCMS platform, transferring it to the production environment is known as a forklift.

During a forklift all project files, databases and a site audit report must be provided to Salsa Digital to add the website into the production environment. You must provide these at least two days before the forklift date. Information on how to transfer the files for a forklift are provided during the onboarding process.

If the site audit report reveals problems, the forklift will not continue into the production environment. Any identified issues must be resolved before the forklift is complete.

To ensure enough time to resolve any issues in the site audit report it is recommended that a forklift occur at least two weeks out from the proposed go live date for the website. The process for booking a forklift is like a migration.

The GovCMS team will check on your website project's progress and arrange a date and time for the forklift.

You will need to have content authors and editors in place. You will then need to ensure these people have access to the website so they can add content.

When you create or migrate a website to GovCMS you will have the ability to use the GovCMS redirect service for your alternate domain. For example the www.govcms.gov.au site would have its non-www, https://govcms.gov.au, redirect to https://www.govcms.gov.au.

Redirects are arranged by the Finance onboarding team during the build phase. Additional information will be provided.

This service does not support additional redirects for legacy domains. Any legacy domains you wish to redirect need to be organised separately.

When created, all environments on GovCMS have a shield enabled that requires a username and password. The shield stops the website from being visible to the public. It also blocks search engine web crawlers from indexing the website to appear in search results.

Shield credentials are separate login credentials for the website. Content editors or site builders need further credentials to login and update the website.

The primary contact will receive the shield credentials via a secure channel once the project environment has been created. This happens at the beginning of the build phase on the GovCMS journey.

Instructions to remove the website shield will be given when your website is preparing to go live.