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.

On this page

Building on or off the GovCMS platform

You can build a website on or off the GovCMS platform. 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 GovTEAMS community.

GovCMS hosts Drupal websites only. As a new website on GovCMS, your site will need to be on Drupal 9.

On platform development


The project environment used when developing on the GovCMS platform 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.

Off platform development


When developing your website off the GovCMS platform, it will need to be transferred to the production environment. This is known as a forklift.

Forklifts take time. In order to schedule a forklift you will need to raise a ticket within the GovCMS service desk with at least 10 business days’ notice to secure a booking.

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. 

Creating and managing website content

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.

URL redirects on GovCMS

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 site would have its non-www,, redirect to

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.

GovCMS website shield explained

GovCMS enables website shields during the project provisioning process that requires a username and password. This 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. 

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

This page was last updated on Wednesday 25 August 2021