How To Maintain Your Wordpress

When was the last time you took your car for a good service? Changed light bulbs in your house for some energy saving ones? Or even applied some more thermal paste to your CPU (Central Processing Unit)? My point is, everything needs ‘maintaining’, updating, refurbishment and upkeep to ensure that everything is running as required without any major issues. The same applies to your Wordpress, to be honest with you… it’s been a while since I too have done so myself, so it was only right that I write about the same sort of things I am undertaking.

I like to think of my Wordpress as a finely tuned sports car, or at least in an ideal world that’s what I would like it to be. Currently mine runs ever so reliable without any emissions or running issues of note. Except those pesky hackers, who keep trying to ‘brute-force’ access my Wordpress dashboard pretty much every day… I have no idea why, it’s usually populated by video-game rambling, games streams and other such nonsense. Anyway, back to my point… ‘maintenance’. Very key… not just to me, but also to you.

If you have ever had a problem with your Wordpress site, say some up to no good son of a gun gains access to your site via an exploit or other means. You will have to take your site down, whilst you:

a) Get your Wordpress site back in order after wresting back control.

and

b) Implementing the necessary processes to reduce the risk of this happening again.

First things first, if this has happened to you. You should install a suitable scanner such as FixHacked to not only pinpoint these exploits, but also highlight a means of fixing the issue, or where necessary ‘Hiring an Expert’ to fix this where appropriate.

Back onto my main point however, how exactly should you go about maintaining your Wordpress site, in case should the worst happen you are able to ‘roll-back’ (when necessary) and return to a safer version of your Wordpress site. Follow these steps to ensure the safest approach possible:

Backup Your WordPress Frequently

There are a number of very good WordPress backup plugins to ensure you always have a recent version to rollback to in the case of any issues.

There are a number of paid versions that automate and simplify the backup process:

There are also some free versions which whilst limited in options at least give you the bare bones functionality of backing up without necessarily guiding you as intricately as the ‘Paid’ options. It’s worth noting that I use the free versions of the plugins below as well as BackupBuddy the ‘paid version’.

Install Updates

This is something I always reiterate, and have made a habit of doing so in my last few posts. ALWAYS keep your version of Wordpress as up-to-date as possible. From a ‘User’ point of view, this will ensure that any conflicts with themes or plugins can be resolved through compatibility updates.

Make sure you update your plugins/themes, one after the other. That way if any issues arise you know which one caused the issue and you can correct it.

Updating consistently will reduce the obvious exploits that are immediately apparent in older versions. It won’t protect you from every exploit, this much is clear. But it’s a simple and effective means of improving your baseline security and Wordpress site efficiency. 

Process Comments/Filter The Spam

Comments are alway prone to spam, these are generally innocuous comments that link to another site. I always remove these sorts of comments as they add no-value to my Wordpress site, I suggest you do the same.

Activate Akismet, this plugin tracks the comments and trackback spam you may get on your site. All you need to do is sign up for an API (Application Programming Interface) key and enter this. A very simple process, and this plugin will block all spam comments on the fly.

Setting Up Security

Download our free scanner, this scans your site and all your files and folders (libraries), highlighting any issues, malware or exploits your site may be afflicted by.

Health Checks

Keeping on top of your Wordpress security and general maintenance ensures smooth site running and little to no issues on a day-to-day basis. Utilising Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools will give you an overview of your site metrics, ensuring you can keep track of stats and by checking these regularly enables you to counter problems as they arise.

Optimise Your Database

As your site grows, so will the amount of data your Wordpress has to process. By showing it a little love and maintaining this you can ensure that your Wordpress site runs as effective as it can at all times. Install these ‘free’ plugins to make this process smooth-and-easy.

By taking these simple steps you can enhance your Wordpress sites functionality, security and maintain this approach going forward. As always any questions or confusion, feel free to contact us about ‘Hiring an Expert’. Keep an eye on your maintenance but your full concentration on your Wordpress site. Ciao for now.

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