How to maintain your WordPress website

Why maintain your WordPress website?

In this article I’m going to explain why you need to maintain your WordPress website, and show you just how easy this is to do

I can appreciate that you’re super-busy all the time, which makes it all-too-easy to put off maintaining your website. But that leaves your website vulnerable to getting hacked. And when your website is critical to your business, that’s the very last thing you need.

The 5 point maintenance agenda is exactly how I keep all my websites one step ahead of the hackers

If you build this into your regular routine, maintaining your website should take no longer than 15 minutes per week.

So let’s dive straight in

There are lots of bad people out there who would just love to hack your website. There are many reasons behind this, but these typically all involve installing malware – malicious software – on your website’s server to do things like mine cryptocurrency behind the scenes. And this isn’t just a WordPress thing. These guys will try and hack into any website they can.

Fortunately, there is a large WordPress community out there to counter these hackers. And because WordPress is open source software, there are lots of eyes on the source code checking for security vulnerabilities. There’s a WordPress protocol in place whereby anybody spotting a security vulnerability will report this privately to the core WordPress team, or the developer of the theme or plugin affected, which enables the developer to resolve the issue and release an updated version of the software.

The 5 point maintenance agenda

The steps in the 5 point maintenance agenda are:

  1. Check the backups are running on schedule
  2. Update the core WordPress software
  3. Update the plugins that your website is using
  4. Update your theme
  5. Check that there are no security alerts

So let’s get started.

1 – Check the backups are running on schedule

The first step is for you to log into Google Drive (or your preferred cloud storage) to check that your backups are running on schedule (minimum weekly, but preferably daily). If for any reason they’ve stopped running, then you’ll need to update the settings for your backup plugin (my preferred plugin for backups is Updraft Plus). I would also recommend that you download the latest backup files from your cloud storage to a separate backup folder on your computer (not the one that replicates with your cloud storage). This will give you a spare backup to insure again accidentally deleting the backups in the cloud.

I’ve discussed backups in my post on why you need to take backups of your website, so check this out first if you haven’t already set up a backup schedule.

2 – Update the core WordPress software

Important: make sure that you take a backup before updating your website software

From the Dashboard, you should navigate to the Updates section. This will tell you whether any updates are available. In this example here, you will see that an updated version of core WordPress is available. Clicking the Update Now button will trigger the installation of the latest version.

After the update has been installed, you should check that your website is working correctly. In the unlikely event that there are any problems, you will be able to restore the backup.

3 – Update the plugins that your website is using

Next, you should update any plugins. Simply check the ‘Select all’ box and click the Update Plugins button.

screenshot of the administration dashboard

Again, check that your website is working correctly before continuing.

4 – Update your theme

And it’s a similar method to update the themes.

screenshot of the administration dashboard

5 – Check that there are no security alerts

The final step is to check your security plugin’s dashboard for any alerts, and to check that the daily scan is running (I use Wordfence on all my sites).

And that’s the 5 point maintenance agenda.  Doing this every week will go a long way to securing your website. Whilst this won’t make your website is 100% safe from hackers (no website is ever 100% secure), it will significantly reduce the chances of your website being targetted.

My website care plan

So now you can see how easy it is to maintain your website yourself by following this 5 point maintenance agenda. But you really need to do this every week to keep your website safe.

If that’s too much for you then your best option is to subscribe to my website care plan, and I will carry out the above steps each week as well as monitor your website’s uptime and keep an eye on your page load times. Please contact me to find out more.

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