Continual WordPress Maintenance Is Critical
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, WordPress is my absolute favorite and most recommended platform for not only blogging but as a framework for full website creation. You simply can’t beat the functionality and features offered. However, it’s very important to remember that building a WordPress site doesn’t stop at design and content.
WordPress maintenance and updating is critical to having an efficient, user friendly and “healthy” website. In this post, I’ll share some my basic tips to getting the most from WordPress.
Keep That Version Updated!
The best way to avoid security issues and general bugs found in open source systems is to consistently update the WordPress installation every time a new version is released. Even missing a couple updates can cause trouble down the road, and the longer updates are neglected, the worse it can get.
While WordPress now has the ability to auto-update for maintenance releases, it won’t apply to major changes. I recommend putting yourself on an update schedule, especially for those sites that might not be logged into often, to make sure nothing is missed.
Update Plugins and Themes
Updating any plugins is also just as important as keeping your installation up to date. New releases contain security upgrades that could be vital to the functionality of your site, especially for larger plugins, such as real estate listings or job posting boards. Not only that, but often times exciting new features or settings are released that can give your site a mini-facelift!
Updating the site theme is the same principal. Today, WordPress themes are just as functional as your plugins, as they run code that is just as susceptible to security risks as anything else.
Clean Out Unused Themes and Plugins
I know I often go through a few plugins before I find the right one for the job, especially when trying something totally new. However, it’s important to remember to not only deactivate but delete any plugins that aren’t actively being used. Just because they aren’t seen on the live site doesn’t mean the files aren’t still on your server taking up space and inviting security issues!
The same goes for unused themes. Other than the main theme and its child theme, (see my previous post on the importance of a child) you shouldn’t need to hold onto anything else. The only exception is if you’ve created your site with a third party theme. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep just one updated WP theme to fall back on for troubleshooting purposes. I recommend either Twenty Eleven or Twenty Twelve.
Backup, Backup, Backup!
Getting on a good backup schedule is imperative to running a smooth WordPress website. It might be a good idea to run a complete backup after every update, keeping you on a well-rounded WordPress maintenance plan. Regular backups are important not only for your peace of mind in the unfortunate event of a hack or security issue, but also for that time you might make a change that causes a full on website meltdown.
I recommend not only backing up all your core files, but a backup of the database as well. With these, you can save yourself the terrible headaches involved in trying to rebuild if all data is lost.
In the same way cars require a little TLC from time to time to stay in tip top shape, your website needs your attention too. Avoid having to rebuild the engine by staying on top of oil changes! By proactively monitoring and taking care of your installation and continual WordPress maintenance, you’ll have a functional and fantastic site to be proud of.