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3 min read WordPress Website Maintenance

Everything You Need To Know About WordPress Website Maintenance

Key Takeaways

  • The basics of WordPress maintenance include regular backups, updating themes, plugins, and WP core.
  • SEO-related website health is integral, too, with broken links and functionality issues crucial to keep on top of.
  • It’s essential to use strong passwords, deactivate plugins or themes you’re no longer using, and remove accumulated data.

Word­Press web­site main­te­nance is extreme­ly impor­tant. In fact, keep­ing your Word­Press healthy, safe and opti­mized is essen­tial if you want to keep your vis­i­tors and search engines hap­py. Find out every­thing you need to know about Word­Press web­site main­te­nance basics!

What happens if you neglect WordPress website maintenance?

If you don’t main­tain your web­site for a longer peri­od, you’ll be risk­ing all sorts of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and func­tion­al­i­ty problems.

The pos­si­ble major con­se­quences are:

  • code con­flicts result­ing in 
    • design break­ing
    • numer­ous func­tion­al­i­ty problems
  • vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to hack­er attacks
  • slow load time
  • decreased search engine rankings

 pur­plenote: The #1 rea­son a Word­Press web­site gets hacked is due to out­dat­ed code.

The Word­Press core is a very secure piece of soft­ware if you are updat­ing it reg­u­lar­ly. How­ev­er, even if you do reg­u­lar core updates, themes and plu­g­ins also present a high-secu­ri­ty risk. If a theme or a plu­g­in is not devel­oped with­in the Word­Press cod­ing stan­dard, it might break your website.

Before installing any new plu­g­in, always check:

  • if a plu­g­in is com­pat­i­ble with your Word­Press ver­sion (Hope­ful­ly, you already installed the latest!)
  • if there are known exist­ing issues
  • rat­ings
  • reviews from oth­er users, espe­cial­ly the neg­a­tive ones

If you dis­cov­er any­thing sus­pi­cious, move away from the plu­g­in, and find a more appro­pri­ate one.

WordPress website maintenance basics

Schedule regular backups

There are nev­er enough back­ups! Use mul­ti­ple back­up sys­tems, such as back­ups from your host­ing provider, auto­mat­ed back­ups, and even occa­sion­al man­u­al backups.

Back­up everything!

Your data­base, themes, plu­g­ins, and uploads.

Store back­ups not only on your web­site but also in a cloud stor­age like Drop­box or SpiderOak.

Update your WordPress version, the theme, and all active plugins

The most impor­tant Word­Press web­site main­te­nance task is updating.

If you don’t care about fea­tures that come with new Word­Press ver­sions, have in mind that every update brings impor­tant secu­ri­ty fix­es that will keep your Word­Press web­site safe.

Avoid pos­si­ble con­flicts between your theme and plu­g­ins, and do the updates in the cor­rect order:

  • Word­Press core – A good idea is to set an auto-update, as it rarely breaks the web­site, but even if it does, it will indi­cate some­thing is wrong with the theme or plu­g­ins you are using.
  • Your theme – If you are using a well-cod­ed and secure theme, the newest update should run with­out prob­lems on the lat­est Word­Press ver­sion. If you need to do any changes to your the­me’s files, avoid updates to over­writ­ing files by using a child theme.
  • All plu­g­ins – Always update your plu­g­ins man­u­al­ly, and do it one plu­g­in at a time. If the web­site breaks while updat­ing, you will know which plu­g­in has caused it.

Use strong passwords and avoid obvious usernames

Nev­er use pass­words such as “12345” or gener­ic user­names such as “admin”. You would be sur­prised how many Word­Press users do that. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, hack­ers will exploit this to install mali­cious mal­ware or dam­age your web­site some way.

Be cre­ative when pick­ing a user­name, and choose long pass­words which include dif­fer­ent sets of characters!

Uninstall themes and plugins you are not using anymore

Word­Press comes with pre-installed themes. It is easy to deac­ti­vate a plu­g­in or a theme and for­get about it.

Inac­tive Word­Press themes and plu­g­ins are a secu­ri­ty risk. Delete every­thing you are not using.

Processing comments

Respect your read­ers, and answer their com­ments reg­u­lar­ly. If you are not using com­ments, turn the func­tion­al­i­ty off.

When it comes to spam com­ments, it’s best to pre­vent it with a qual­i­ty plu­g­in like Akismet.

Maintain and optimize your database

Over time, your Word­Press data­base will accu­mu­late a lot of unnec­es­sary infor­ma­tion which can slow your web­site significantly.

For some rea­son, peo­ple tend to neglect this task, despite the fact every sec­ond of your load­ing time is beyond pre­cious.

If you are unfa­mil­iar with MySQL, or just don’t like the idea of main­tain­ing the data­base man­u­al­ly, you can always use a plugin.

Monitor your website health and security

Use Google Ana­lyt­ics and Google Search Con­sole infor­ma­tion to check on the per­for­mance and health of your website.

Keep an eye on:

  • load­ing time
  • bro­ken links
  • brows­er and device compatibility
  • forms and nav­i­ga­tion functionality
  • 404 errors

purpleplanet Mission Control

If you are over­whelmed with Word­Press web­site main­te­nance tasks, or just don’t want to take care of every­thing by your­self, we can help you!

Our Mis­sion Con­trol ser­vice uses a secure web-based con­trol pan­el to mon­i­tor the ele­ments that make up your web presence.

Find out more about the pur­ple­tools main­te­nance ser­vice.

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