Site testing, maintenance and pre-launch issues

Hi to all you gurus,
I am not a developer but a client. I’ve contracted an overseas developer to develop a website. The website is quite complex. It has ecommerce functionality, a forum, flash elements, live chat, feedback forms, contact us forms, photo gallery, member registration functionality etc… The site is near completion, but before launch I want to make sure I know all critical/important issues in running and maintaining a live website. (I’ve never run a website before).

Besides testing the site for functionality, load, stress, performance and security issues. Can someone please advise me of any other important issues I need to look at before site launch and after site launch, to ensure it launchs and runs successfully?

What is the best free (and paying) stress/load testing tool I can use on my website?

Is it adequate to keep contracting the current overseas developer to maintain the site once launched or is it advisable to employ a local developer either part-time or full time to help with site maintenance…should there be any.

Is it recommended to use another party besides my developer to test the site before launch, for stress, loading, security and to assess overall the coding and development of the site?

Is it difficult to change servers once the website is launched and has alot a traffic?

If you can advise on any of these questions I would be appreciative. I intend to ask my own developer, but I always find it useful to have third party independent advice.

Thanking you much,
Ashley :wink: