Your website is the heart of your business. A website that is down means you are losing out on valuable traffic, sales, referrals, and yes: money and opportunity. The last thing you want is your site down! While it is sometimes unavoidable due to technical issues there are steps you can take to ensure that your WordPress website has protection the most common threats. Performing monthly maintenance on your WordPress website will keep your site running smoothly and ensure it’s protected from common exploits and issues. Plus I’m sharing with you a free monthly WordPress maintenance checklist to help you make sure you are not missing any important maintenance tasks.
Why You Need To Perform Monthly WordPress Website Maintenance
Protecting your WordPress website with monthly maintenance is a necessary and straightforward process. You don’t need to be very tech savvy and can handle everything right from your dashboard. WordPress maintenance comes in two main segments: updating and back up. An updated website is a more secure website. A backed up website is a safe website, and a huge time saver should you find yourself in need of a backup. Backups are essential to save you time, effort, and money down the road. The best time to back up your website is now before you need it.
Monthly maintenance tasks feel like a chore, but just like with household chores they are necessary to ensure the household is livable and runs smoothly. Monthly maintenance is preventative maintenance for your website. It keeps your website safe, secure and running well. Just like you need to change your car’s oil every 5,000 miles and perform other regular maintenance, you also need to keep your WordPress website up to date and prepared for the unanticipated. Updating themes, files and plugins, is the oil change that keeps your site running smoothly. Regular backups are the insurance policy you take out to ensure should the worst happen you will recover quickly.
Backing Up Your WordPress Website
Your WordPress powered website has two main components: the files and the database. The files include things like your themes, media files, and plugins. Your database contains the information for your site settings and the content of your blog posts and pages. It’s important to back up both of these important sets of files!
How Often Should You Backup Your Website?
How often you backup your site should take into account how frequently you add new information or edit existing information. If your site is not updated frequently you need fewer backups, if its daily you will need more. Updates should occur at a minimum on a monthly basis. If your site updates with a new blog post every week you will also want to make sure your database updates every week. If your site files (including theme files) updates weekly, then you should also update your site files weekly. The backup schedule for your site reflects the update frequency of your site.
Full website backups should also occur before you make a major change to your website. Examples of things you should back up before doing are: installing new plugins/themes, updating existing plugins/themes/WordPress files, and editing themes or plugins. Basically, if you are going to change something, back it up first!
How Many Backups Should You Keep?
Do you need to keep all of your old backups? Unless you have unlimited storage space, probably not. 2 backups of recent points in time is a good starting point. Again, if you have a website that is frequently updated and changed, you’ll want to have more. If your site is not updated that frequently you can keep fewer backups.
Test Your Backups!
Do your backup files work? Are they corrupted? Have you tried restoring from them so that you know the process works? If the answer is no you need to put a plan into place to test that now. Backups do you no good if you can’t use them to restore your site! I recommend using a test or development site to practice backing up your site. You can easily set one up on a subdomain and use it as a test platform for your backup process as well as any other website changes you may want to implement.
Recommended Backup Plugin: UpdraftPlus
Updating Your WordPress Website
Just like the operating system on your computer or your favorite apps, every so often there are updates are released for your favorite WordPress themes, plugins, and the core WordPress files. These updates bring you new features, bug fixes, and security fixes. New features are always nice, but the biggest reason you need to update your WordPress themes, plugins and files is for the security fixes. WordPress is the most popular website platform on the internet. This makes it a very profitable target for website hackers. Known security flaws can leave your site vulnerable to hackers, malware, and misuse. Protect your site. Protect your business.
How to Update Safely
Before updating your site, fully back up your entire site and the database. Most updates go flawlessly. However, errors can happen and that can lead to massive headaches down the line if your site goes down because of an error updating or plugin/theme incompatibility issue. Ensuring you have a recent, stable backup that you can restore will help you get your website back up and running quickly.
Next, install one update at a time. This ensures you are able to check your site to be sure that the update has not interfered with its normal function. This allows you to easily troubleshoot any offending themes, plugins or other updates that may cause your site to go down or otherwise not function properly. Be sure to apply all updates, even to themes or plugins you are not using. Themes or plugins that aren’t in use and aren’t updated can still be a security risk for your site. If you plan to never use them, then delete them.
How to Update WordPress
- Log into your dashboard.
- Go to WordPress updates.
- Select the update you want to process and select update.
- Upon update completion, check your website to ensure the update was successful.
- Proceed to the next update, repeating the previous steps until completion.
Get your free WordPress Maintenance Checklist!
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Make sure you don’t miss any maintenance task with this free WordPress maintenance checklist! Download this free WordPress maintenance checklist and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.
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