6 WordPress maintenance tasks you should be doing regularly

Not doing routine maintenance on your website can have disastrous consequences. When you upgrade or change something, it can break a function of your site or even leave you exposed to the risk of hacking.

Cleaning your WordPress site like this is easy; it’s a simple set of tasks you are bound to forget unless you stay on top of things.

Leave these six tasks to chance and be sure they’re done every time. By keeping your WordPress maintenance tasks up to date, you’ll keep your website running smoothly, effortlessly, and safely—protecting yourself and your visitors from misunderstanding.

WordPress Updates

WordPress is an incredibly popular Content Management System (CMS) for websites. It’s free to use, easy to install and maintain, and compatible with thousands of plugins and themes that add extra functionality to your site.

The plugin or theme authors make some updates on a purely discretionary basis. In contrast, others are necessary to stop security risks and vulnerabilities from being exploited. If a website isn’t kept up-to-date with these core files, plugins, or themes, it is open to hackers who can use any existing holes in the software.

The most vulnerable time for a WordPress website is when one of these core files was last updated a while ago. Hence, businesses must update their websites frequently—ideally every week. This can be done manually, but it’s not always the best option for companies with multiple sites. Having one site down for maintenance could leave them without a crucial part of their online presence for hours or even days. It’s better to use an automated process that will update all core files in one go.

Backups

Having a backup strategy in place is essential to protecting your website from the threat of data loss. However, it is important to ensure that you have backups stored off-site (i.e., not on your hosting account) and an appropriate restoration strategy in case of a disaster. As well as storing off-site, it’s also good practice to store backups on media like external hard drives, which can be easily transported if you need to take your file backup away with you.

Sometimes there are plugins or add-ons which will help your website host perform backups for you (most commonly via WordPress). The most popular one is called UpDraftPlus and allows you to configure automatic scheduled backups of your content. It can even email these backups to you so that you know they’ve been taken. And remember to check your backups regularly to ensure they’re working!

Testing Functionality

Testing functionality is vital to ensuring that your website or service runs smoothly. Before a sale, move, or another event, you should be testing the functionality of your site so that you know exactly how it will handle the changes you are about to make. If you are performing a sale, you need to know if your site’s shopping cart will handle the increase in traffic and sales. In addition to testing your functionality, you must ensure that your site works correctly. If there are any errors on your site, you need to track them down and fix them as soon as possible. Mistakes can scare away potential customers and hurt your search engine rankings. Be proactive in ensuring your website works correctly and test it before making any significant changes or launches.

Uptime Monitoring

Uptime measures how long a website is up compared to how long it’s supposed to be up. It generally refers to services that must always be on, like e-commerce sites or the servers that host email accounts. Your website needs to have good uptime to maintain the trust of your customers and potential customers. It also helps if you monitor the uptime of your hosting provider. This way, you can ensure they’re providing the service you expect, and if they aren’t, you know when it’s time to look at other providers or change hosts.

Some hosting providers offer to monitor their services, but many do not. To make sure you know when your site is down, you need to set up monitoring. Some free services available online will monitor websites for outages and let you know when there are problems, but these tend to be unreliable. If you want more control over how often your site is checked and how much downtime triggers an alert, then a monitoring service from your web host can be a good option. Most web hosts have this service available as part of their packages.

Security Scans

Security is a complex issue; no website can ever be 100% secure from attackers. However, making the website as tricky for the attacker is possible, leaving them to target specific websites instead. You can use many plugins to perform security scans whenever you want. Wordfence is a popular option; it’s free and lets you scan your site as often as possible (though you should check with your host provider to see if they already provide some automatic security scanning service).

Other options include Sucuri and SiteLock. It’s important to remember that the plugin is only partially foolproof. Wordfence, for example, warns you when there are any publicly available files on your website – but this isn’t necessarily a problem in itself since many sites have public-facing file directories (such as images) where they store information that allows the site to appear correctly on mobile devices or other browsers. What matters is whether these files are being used maliciously. If not, there’s nothing to worry about.

Speed Optimization

The speed of your website is a key factor in your site’s performance, and it’s essential to carry out a speed test at least once a week to check on the performance.

A speed test will help you to identify any slow-loading pages, which are the biggest culprit for poor performance. Are there images that could be optimized? Sites with too many plugins will often be culprits for slower speeds. It’s also worth checking that your server is set up correctly—most WordPress sites are hosted on shared servers. They can be a significant slowdown if they are not set up correctly. 

Keep your site in tip-top shape

These six tasks are not only good for your WordPress sites but also good for your time and sanity. They’re relatively easy to learn, and they only take that much time. So if you still need to make them a part of your routine, start doing it today! Contact Stoute Web Solutions to know more.

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