The ORS Group’s website had been untouched by a developer for some years and the website platform had not been maintained and consequently was out of date at version 3.5.
My project was to upgrade the website platform from version 3.5 to version 4.5 without breaking any of the special functionality the original developers had built into the website.
This was achieved by downloading the website into a local development environment on my computer, and running the website from a special address of www.orsgroup.dev, which is not a publicly accessible website address, it exists purely on my computer.
Once the website is in the local development environment the upgrade process could commence without fear of breaking what web designers call the “production” website of www.orsgroup.com.au.
The upgrade process involved:
- Upgrading carefully from 3.5 to 3.6, from 3.6 to 3.7 etc, all the way up to 4.5.
- Upgrading the theme which controls the page layout.
- Upgrading some of the website plugins to latest versions, to ensure all security holes are patched
- Replacing other plugins which had been abandoned by the plugin developer, with different plugins that do the same job and which are actively maintained by the plugin developer.
- Once the development website was working on my computer, I could upload the development site to a staging website: staging.orsgroup.com.au which ran on the same web server as www.orsgroup.com.au. Uploading to staging first meant I could test the fully upgraded development website would run on the web server the production (www) website was running on .
- Once testing had been completed on the staging website, the old production website was retired and the new staging website moved into production.
When The ORS Group contracted me to upgrade their website platform it saved them about $10,000 to $20,000 based on quotes received from large web development companies.
Other task completed for The ORS Group include:
- Increasing the speed of the production website using caching techniques.
- Building a ‘mini’ site to act as EAP (Employment Assistance Program) ‘portal’, where client companies can login, create user accounts for their employees, so that their employees can login to the EAP Portal and receive EAP assistance.
- Building new page templates for the website.