WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist – Everything You Should Know
Website is no longer a luxury like in the early 2000 era. Presently, it’s a necessity for every business trying to reach out to more customers and have a professional image in the market. No wonder why there are over 1.88 billion websites in the world. However, sadly, hardly 18% of total websites are active and supporting business growth.
Having a website is one thing, and churning business from it is another. To make any website work and deliver, extensive website maintenance efforts are required, and only some businesses manage to invest the required money and effort.
If you’re a WordPress website owner and want to learn the nitty-gritty of website maintenance, then this WordPress Website Maintenance guide is just the right thing to refer to.
Why Is WordPress Website Maintenance Important?
Even though WordPress website maintenance is tedious and taxing, industry experts suggest going ahead because it’s important as:
- It keeps the website secure.
Keeping the website secured is not only important from an operational point of view, but it’s a moral duty of a website owner toward the customers or website viewers. The data is at high risk if a website lacks adequate security measures.
With periodic WordPress website maintenance, website owners can prepare the concerned website to deal with new threats, launch security patches, replace outdated certificates, and update the plugin.
- It optimizes the website for speed.
Speed matters a lot in Google ranking. If a website is slow and has a high response time, it will irk both Google and your viewers. As you maintain the WordPress website, you eliminate unnecessary elements, update outdated plugins, and clean the junk data. When all these things are eradicated, the website will have a blazing speed.
- It improves the server uptime.
As you maintain the WordPress website, you update the accessories and support tools. This way, your website’s server becomes more responsive and performs better.
7 Most Important Things To Do For Website Maintenance
“How to maintain a WordPress website” is not an easy question. While a lot goes into maintaining the WordPress website effectively, the below-mentioned seven pointers should be your priority as you plan website maintenance WordPress strategy.
#1 – Backing Up WordPress Websites
Website data is crucial, and you don’t want to lose it at any cost. Even if you have adequate security measures, it’s important to take regular WordPress website backups to avoid losing something important if an attack occurs.
#2 – Updating WordPress Websites
Every component and resource, which is in place to make a WordPress website viable, has to be updated and run on the latest versions. With each version update, you enjoy better security protection and vulnerability patches, which are important for website maintenance in WordPress.
#3 – Creating a Staging Site of your Live WordPress Website to Test Updates and Customizations
You should have a copy or dummy website of your actual website ready and use it to test the viability and security of every plugin and theme you will use for your actual website. This will ensure all resources are on track with your main website.
The process might seem time-consuming and tough, but now there are tools like InstaWP that simplify modern-edge sandboxing for you.
#4 – Optimizing the Performance of WordPress
WordPress website performance should be optimized to be responsive, quick, and engaging. You can make it happen by
- Using Lightweight Themes
Heavyweight themes consume more space and resources while reducing performance. This is not good from any aspect. Hence, you should play smart and pick feature-rich yet lightweight themes. There is no shortage of such themes.
- Removing Unwanted Plugins
Plugin hoarding is not good for WordPress maintenance because such plugins act like a backdoor entry gate for hackers. Ensure that your website is free from plugins that are useless to you.
- Using Caching Plugins
With the help of caching plugins like WP Super Cache, WordPress website owners can cache the posts and pages as static files and improve content delivery. When these resources are saved as static files, they are saved on the servers and are readily available for the next request.
#5 – Improving the Security of WordPress Websites,
To begin with, you need to adopt a few security best practices for your site and maintain them throughout your website’s lifecycle. Here are some suggestions from our experts:
- Use a strong password, combined with MFA, for your website
- Use access control practices and limit login attempts
- Always use an HTTPS-based connection and back the website with an SSL certificate
- Conduct regular security scans and audits to do early threat detection
- Keep a feature-rich WAF in place
- Use the latest version of hosting servers
Besides the above, you can automate the site security and performance/health monitoring procedure using the top plugins. Let’s talk about them next.
Top WordPress Security Plugins
Even though WordPress provides basic website security support, dealing with current cybersecurity threats demands more than usual security assistance. This is why the additional support of a dedicated security plugin is much appreciated. Here are some of the most preferred and loved WordPress security plugins you should check out today.
#1 – JetPack
JetPack is an available tool for WordPress owners. It is perhaps the most widely used security plugin for WordPress websites.
It’s trusted because experts from WordPress.com (Automattic) have developed it. While it offers various capabilities, presently we’re mentioning its impeccable spam and bot prevention. Besides keeping spam at bay, it also helps website owners deal with brute-force attacks and delete spam comments.
We loved how quickly it provides site statistics and a free CDN facility. Accurate downtime monitoring is an added advantage for its users.
#2 – Sucuri
If you’re looking for a WordPress security plugin that will take care of auditing, malware scanning, and security hardening, Sucuri is the right choice. Its file integrity monitoring feature is best-of-the-breed and does a great job of protecting the website by checking the authenticity of every file uploaded to the website.
You can enjoy advanced security features like blocklist monitoring, security hardening, and security notifications. It’s so speedy that it can complete an extensive scan within 12 hours.
#3 – Patchstack
Patchstack is an easy-to-use and fully automated WordPress security plugin that website owners can use to do accurate vulnerability identifications, virtual security patches, and set up alerts.
#4 – Wordfence
Wordfence is worth a try as this security plugin is an easy-to-pair tool offering deeper insights into overall website traffic. You get to enjoy security features like a full-fledged firewall suite, protection against brute force attacks, spam comment filtering, and monitoring of the WordPress plugin repository.
Common Security Risks on WordPress Websites
For effective WordPress security maintenance, getting familiar with the potential threats and risks is important. Fortunately, we have made this easy with this list of common security risks for the WordPress website.
- Outdated, unsecured, and unauthorized plugins, themes, and widgets. When such resources are used, the concerned website always remains on a target list of hackers as they all make the website weak.
- Frequent Brute Force and DDoS attacks are very common for WordPress or any other website. With a Brute Force attack, threat actors try to gain unauthorized access to a website and make certain changes or steal some data. A DDoS attack is a means used to control the ‘Right To Access’ website. The attack involves slowing down the website’s responsiveness so that a user request is not at all proceeded.
- MySQL database exploitation is a threat that WordPress owners have to deal with on a regular basis. Hackers can use file intrusion or SQL injection to access MySQL databases.
- Cross-site scripting or XSS attack is a key threat to WordPress websites. This threat involves stealing cookies or session hijacking so that hackers can steal the data from the browsers.
#6 – Adding An Uptime Monitor on WordPress
Using an uptime monitor is one of the most underrated WordPress website maintenance practices. If the uptime of a server is not up to the mark, WordPress website owners are certain to experience high downtime, lower brand reputation, and reduced impact. Website owners can use many advanced and fully automated uptime monitor plugins and software and enjoy continual uptime monitoring and real-time optimization.
#7 – Setting up Regular WordPress Maintenance Tasks
WordPress website maintenance efforts will only deliver an expected outcome when you have a strategically planned maintenance task. Automating or manually handling the operations in your plan will help you keep your site secure, updated, and fast.
Here, a few aspects need week-by-week maintenance, while some are good-to-go with yearly maintenance. We have categorized the crucial WordPress website maintenance according to their frequency for easy understanding.
- Weekly Maintenance Tasks
Some WP maintenance tasks require frequent occurrences. Here is a list of actions that you must perform weekly to ensure proper WordPress website maintenance.
- Check for updates
Check out which all tools and software updates are available. As you must be using various 3rd party themes and plugins for your website, you may be unable to track the version updates. Even though few service providers inform users about upcoming updates, it’s not true for every tool.
Hence, you need to check for available updates every week. Launch the update as soon as it’s available. There shouldn’t be any delay-dally in this regard as outdated resources only weaken a website’s security and performance profile.
- Log out all users
Prolonged inactive user logging is a threat to your website and its security. It’s observed that many malware insertion incidences happen because of the ill-usage of unmonitored authorized access. Hence, you must ensure that all of your users are logged out if a session remains inactive for a long time. This has to be done weekly.
- Monitor security tools
Ensure you check the notification from security tools like WordFence or Patchstack weekly. Ideally, this has to be performed daily because any missed notification can lead to endless hassles.
- Monthly Maintenance Tasks
Some WordPress website maintenance actions have to be performed only once a month. Mainly, these tasks are related to speed improvement and SEO. Here is a list of such tasks.
- Remove unwanted plugins and themes.
Conduct a plugin and theme audit and try to find out which resources are sitting idle and contributing nothing. As these unused resources are a huge security threat, you need to remove them and download new plugins and themes.
- Optimize the database
With each passing second, the inherited database of an organization increases. As all of your website data is stored on WordPress, it’s important to ensure your databases are optimized completely. With the optimized database, the website will have reduced server load and boosted page load time.
- Check website performance on Google Core Web Vitals or WebPageTest.org.
You need to monitor your website’s performance on Google Core Web Vitals or WebPageTest.Org and determine how your website is ranked online. Google monitors your website and its performance and reduces the ranking as soon as any error is experienced. A low Google ranking is not good for your business. Hence, you need to monitor website performance with the help of Google Core Web Vitals.
You can also set alerts in Google Search Console. You can also take the help of Google Analytics to figure out the SEO positioning of your website.
- Yearly Maintenance Tasks
Subscription renewal, design changes, and post updates are key tasks you must perform once a year. Let’s explain them in detail.
- Renew accounts and services.
Most of the subscriptions come with one-year validity, and you need to review all your availed services and their subscriptions once a year to find out which subscriptions are due for renewal.
To avoid manual efforts, you can also set up alerts and notifications for subscription renewal. You need to renew before the expiry as the website may fail to perform excellently if some of its components are inactive.
- Remove unused pages, posts, and products.
Every once a year, you need to conduct an audit of your webpage, posted content, and other media. The focus of the audit should remain on finding which of these resources are no longer relevant. Spot those content pieces and update/modify/delete them to ensure your website has only the updated content.
- Check the responsiveness of your website design.
As time passes, some website design elements need to be updated. It’s important for any website to have engaging website designs because 38% of website users will stop using a website if its content and layout are outdated.
The more responsive a website design is, the better the user engagement will be. You can drag or resize the browser windows to determine if your website content is still performing better in size variation. You should check the design responsiveness for mobile devices as well.
Try WordPress Website Maintenance as a Service
As the WordPress maintenance checklist explained, maintaining the website is daunting and effort-consuming and can’t be accomplished manually. For effective outcomes, combining human efforts with automation is important.
This is why website owners should look for someone trusted to offer WordPress Website Maintenance as a Service. With such service providers, website owners can have reliable and automated website maintenance with the least possible effort. You can try InstaWP. It’s a privacy-compliant tool offering a money-back guarantee, a free trial, and many advanced features you can’t ignore.
You can’t avoid the maintenance aspect of a website as the ill-maintained website will lack connection, user-friendliness, security, and market presence, as it won’t perform at par. This crisp WordPress website maintenance guide has explained everything crucial. Go ahead and take the help of a reliable WordPress Website Maintenance as Service provider so that your website is winning hearts, not the security alerts or poor performance ultimatums.