Just like everything else in life, a WordPress website also requires maintenance to run smoothly.
WordPress website maintenance is more than just using plugins, it is how befitting the maintenance roadmap is for the website to keep it running. To help with maintenance, we will discuss some tips to get your WordPress maintenance on right track.
There can be some tips which you can be familiar with, so feel free to skip them to read suggestions which you are not implementing.
Update your site as soon as Update arrives
Yes, you know it and are probably be doing it after every new release, but have you thought of automating it?
Leaving your plugins and WordPress core outdated can be risky for your website. With every new update, WordPress and plugin providers fix bugs, may add minor changes and add performance tweaks.
Coming back to automation, it is good to update regularly, but what if you are an agency, developing and hosting hundreds of WordPress sites, manually updating them all can exhaust you.
So to automatically update WordPress core and plugins do as follows.
To Automatically update WordPress core, open the wp-config.php file in the root folder of your WordPress installation and add this line to it:
Just to be safe, install WP Downgrade plugin, which forces the WordPress update routine to perform the installation of a specified WordPress release.
Use this plugin in case your theme or plugin breaks after the core update.
To automatically update WordPress plugins, use Automatic Plugin Updates plugin which enables automatic plugin installation. It also has a feature to control which plugins to exclude from automatic updates.
Use WP Rollback to rollback to the previous version of the plugin.
Take regular Backups
They are life saviors in your unlucky times. Before conducting any maintenance activity, have a backup of whole website, that include database too.
With above mentioned rollback plugins, the risk of damage is minimized but in case of any hack or disaster, backups will save your website.
For ensuring safety and rapid action against any emergency of data backups, keep two backups on a server, one on the main server and another on different server, which is not associated with any domain.
Also keep few copies offline, one on a computer and another on external hard drive.
Few WordPress backup plugins are:
Clean and Optimize your Database
When you start using WordPress, the database is all neat and tidy but as the site continues getting visitors/users, junk values starts to accumulate in the database.
The database becomes less organized due to Posts revisions, table overhead, spam comments, installation of new plugins etc. Along with useful data, some temporary data is also generated, which is usually useless and gets stored in a database.
It highly affects your website’s performance and speed.
Few Database cleanup and optimization plugins are:
Renew your SSL Certificate
Recently we wrote a post on installing a free SSL certificate on WordPress website. In that post, we had mentioned about a clause, that you have to renew your SSL certificate after 90 days.
If we do not renew our SSL, following error will show up.
See if there are dead ends on your site
404 pages are the dead ends of your website. Every URL which does not exist, leads to a 404 page on your WordPress website.
The URL can be linked from your website or externally from any other website. You can control broken internal links but controlling external broken inbound links is a bit hard.
You have to contact the owner in-order to get the link corrected or removed.
As a solution, one way is to create an optimized 404 page or 301 redirect (permanent redirect) that redirects the dead links to a new destination or to your homepage.
You can use Google Analytics or Google Search Console to monitor your 404 pages and additionally use a Redirection plugin to redirect dead links the easiest way.
Similarly, you can check dead outbound links on your site using Broken Link Checker plugin.
Broken links either as outbound or as a 404 page on your site is bad for user experience as well as for SEO (to a less extent), so keep them in check on regular basis.
Keep website speed in check
You probably would have implemented speed optimization solutions in the beginning but let me tell you, it is not a one time process. Keep a check on your website speed, including your page speed.
Above mentioned plugins create cache on server or on their server to optimize website’s performance.
It is recommended to manually check for cache so that a new cache can be rebuilt and served to the visitors. Sometimes it happens, that the site is updated but the cache still has old changes saved in.
So these were the important tips for WordPress website maintenance which should be followed as a regime to keep your WordPress website run smoothly.
If you have any additions or experience to share, you are always welcome to comment.