A WordPress website isn’t something you can ‘set up and forget’. It’s your digital property, which requires regular maintenance just like any other property you own.
A poorly maintained site can easily get hacked, blacklisted, broken, or penalized by Google – all bad things you would want to protect your site from.
The best course of action is to have your WordPress Development Agency handle your site’s maintenance as well. For one, a WordPress website is made up of a lot of moving parts. And unless you’re technical, all these maintenance tasks will lead to more problems down the road if you don’t know what you’re doing. Two, this relieves you from the hassle of site maintenance so you can focus on growing your business and creating valuable content to attract traffic.
But if you still want to go the DIY route, here is a complete WordPress maintenance guide with 8 tasks to do regularly that will keep your site in good shape.
1 – Take Regular Site Backups
Backing up your site is the most basic task in WordPress maintenance. This is to ensure that if things do go wrong, you can easily restore your site to a previously working version.
The easiest way to take a backup is by using a good hosting service. Managed WordPress hosting services like Kinsta and WP-Engine automatically take regular backups – so there’s nothing you have to do on your side.
Alternatively, you can also use plugins like UpdraftPlus or Backup Buddy to automate this process.
In both cases, it’s best to take manual backups before doing something substantial and risky on your site – like running an update or installing a new plugin. That way if your site breaks after the change, you can restore the backed-up version.
2- Change your WP Login URL
All WordPress sites have the same login URLs by default. So, if your site address is www.mysite.com, you can access the backend of your site from www.mysite.com/wp-login.php.
While it does make it easy to log into your site’s backend, it also means anyone can try to access it. Hackers can try to guess your username and password and brute force their way into your site. By changing your WP login URL, you’ll make it harder for them to locate your login page in the first place. A couple of WordPress security plugins can help you do that easily without changing any core files.
3- Keep a Unique Username and Secure Passwords
The next step after securing your WP-Login page is to choose a unique username that’s different from the default one (Admin) and a secure password that’s hard to crack. If you want to add more security, add two-step authentication to the login process as well.
4 – Keep Everything Updated including the Core, Plugins, and Themes
Your WordPress dashboard displays a message if there are any updates available. These updates include the core, theme, and plugin updates. Most updates are released after the concerned development team discovers some security vulnerabilities and so, release a security patch for that. This means, if your systems aren’t updated ASAP, your site will be exposed to those security holes.
5 – Update the PHP and MySQL Version
PHP and MySQL are important pieces of the WordPress architecture. To make sure your site stays in good health, you should upgrade your site to the latest compatible version of PHP and MySQL.
Both MySQL and PHP versions are set by your hosting company at the server level. Hence, to update them, you should either contact your hosting providers to do it for you or follow their instructions on how to update.
6 – Optimize your Database
When you use WordPress for a while, your database tends to bloat up with unnecessary stuff like spam comments, orphaned metadata, etc. that eats resources and hurts your site performance. To improve your site’s performance, you should optimize your WordPress database at least every 3 months. While there are many WordPress database optimization plugins that can simplify the process, it’s recommended that you do it manually via phpMyAdmin because of security concerns. Giving any plugin the keys to your database can pose a security risk as hackers can use a vulnerability in the plugin to attack your database.
7 – Use a CDN
A CDN or Content Delivery Network is a network of servers located across the world. These servers cache your static content and serve it to your users from a location that’s geographically closest to them.
If you don’t use a CDN, all your website visitors will be accessing the server provided by your hosting company to access your site. If you’re experiencing a surge in traffic, your server can likely get overwhelmed because of too many requests and get crashed. In this case, your site will become temporarily unavailable.
A CDN also speeds up the load time of your site. By serving your site content from a server that’s located closest to the user requesting it, a CDN significantly improves your site speed.
It’s especially important for eCommerce websites to use a CDN to improve their site speed. Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, if your site is attracting a lot of traffic, a CDN is a must-have.
8 – Optimize Images
Image optimization refers to the process of reducing the file size of an image to the smallest size possible without hurting its quality. Doing so can considerably reduce the page load time, improve conversions, and increase SEO rankings as well.
Thanks to a plethora of optimization plugins available, image optimization is quite a simple task. You just install the plugin, configure some settings and it does all the hard work for you. The plugin will optimize all your images when you upload them – allowing you to keep your focus on creating great content without worrying about image file sizes.
Maintaining your WordPress website is as important as setting it up in the first place. After you’ve got your site up and running, your next step should be to layout a maintenance plan and hire the right people to do it.