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WordPress Maintenance Beyond Updates

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wp-maintenanceI’ve been working with WordPress for over two years now.

I’m not a WordPress developer, I’m more of an administrator.

I can build set up a basic WordPress website. I can also work with a few lines of code if needed. Hand me those DIY articles, and I’m good to go.

But WordPress maintenance, for me, is a totally different ball game.

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But it’s all about Updates isn’t it?!

The first step towards maintaining your WordPress website, is to update your theme, plugins and WordPress core.

It’s what every article on WordPress maintenance will tell you.

Now, the actual process of updating files in WordPress is easy. If you can install a plugin, you can surely update it. And WordPress provides One-click Updates which makes the task pretty simple.

But, you need to be aware that some plugins might not *behave* as expected. So, backing up your database should in fact be the first step.

Having regular backups in place is good practice. Having the most recent copy of data before updating your files is a must.

(And during your scheduled maintenance tasks, you have to remember to put your site in maintenance mode, in case something goes wrong.)

9 out 10 times, updates won’t affect the functioning of your website. Surely, regular testing will tell you that. But then, in the worst case scenario, you’ll need to restore the database backup to ensure everything’s working well…. and test again.

meme-wp-backup-restore

And even though it’s time-consuming, you can’t ignore updates.

Afterall keeping your WordPress site up to date, is needed to ensure that your website is clear of any security vulnerabilities.

But mind you, some updates might introduce vulnerabilities, through buggy code. Sure most of these plugins end up releasing a security patch sooner or later.

But what happens till then? What if a security patch is never released?

The thing is, updating WordPress core, plugin and theme files is just a part of WordPress maintenance.

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Backup, Monitor, Analyse, Optimize

Backups

Regularly backing up your content (database) along with your files (plugin, theme), is an important part of maintaining your WordPress website.

Now, you might not need to backup all files; only those which have been changed (for example, functions.php) need a copy saved. But if that’s not something you’re aware of, then it’s better to backup all your files rather than none at all.

Security Scans

Security monitoring is an integral part of maintaining a WordPress website. Software vulnerabilities can be identified by regularly security scans. Identifying vulnerabilities is the first step towards fixing any issues.

There are of course other steps you can follow, to make sure your WordPress website is secure, so that maintenance becomes fairly easier to do. Sumit – our security expert, here at WisdmLabs- has listed some great points on ensuring WordPress website security.

Uptime Monitoring

Monitoring uptime is not a scheduled task, it’s a continuous process, and is also part of website maintenance. Monitoring uptime can help identify server issues, DNS problems and software errors among others.

Database Optimization

Optimizing your database involves getting rid of spam comments, unused tables, images, and more. Your WordPress website maintenance involves keeping your database clutter free. (If you’re up to doing this task yourself, this article on optimizing your WordPress database manually can make for a great read!)

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Surely there are plugins which do this?!

Yes!

WordPress provides several plugins which can be used to automate maintenance tasks or to monitor uptime and security.

Picking the right plugins is key. At times services could prove to be better alternatives.

For example, for automated backups, a plugin I’d recommend is BackupBuddy or UpdraftPlus (if you’re on a budget). But for uptime monitoring I’d recommend a service like Uptrends.

[su_note note_color=”#ffffba”]DIY Maintenance Tip: Here’s a fair warning by someone who’s burnt their fingers on automated maintenance plugins which use the WordPress cron- do not rely on a WordPress cron! Pick a plugin that allows you to set up a server cron.[/su_note]

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What about Maintenance services?

Now, when working with plugins or with automated services, you need to know corrective measures which need to be undertaken for security breach notifications, white screens, failed updates, downtime notifications, and such maintenance related issues which can crop up.

Here’s where website maintenance services play a key role.

oct-and-fish-hackers
Octy thinks marking emails as spam will block hackers!

“Maintenance Services boldly go where no Plugin has gone before”

If you do not have a team or a dedicated developer handling the maintenance of your website, you’ll have to go hunt for one and ask them to investigate the root cause of any issues which creep up; this can take up quite a bit of your time, and your website might be affected or at risk till the issue is resolved.

A maintenance service team or developer can quickly address any issue and can ensure smooth functioning of your website. In fact, our clients have reported a 79% reduction in maintenance efforts by employing our maintenance services.

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How do You Handle WordPress Maintenance?

The way I see it, handling WordPress maintenance on your own might not be for everyone. You can employ plugins, go with a free or premium maintenance service based on your requirements, and on the importance of your website.

Plugins can provide for a low cost solution, but there’s effort involved. A maintenance service is stress free, but at a higher cost.

If you have a lot of functionality on your website, high traffic, or your website being down for a minute could cost you hundreds of dollars, undoubtedly go for a maintenance service.

If it’s a personal blog, or a website with limited functionality and plugins, go for plugins which can automate your maintenance tasks.

How do you handle maintenance on your website? Do you manage it yourself, or have you employed a service? Let us know in the comment section below!

Namrata

Namrata

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