WordPress Maintenance Tips and Task List

Published July 9th, 2012 in Articles, WordPress Tips

Monthly maintenance of any website, whether it’s developed in WordPress, or not, is essential to making sure your site stays fresh and up to date. Maintaining a WordPress website is essential for security purposes as well as keeping up with the latest plugin updates and WordPress versions.

What Happens If I Don’t Maintain My WordPress Website?

Anything and everything can happen! If you do not maintain your WP site:

1.  Your hosting provider may temporarily block access to your site until you perform upgrades

2.  Your site may be hacked

3.  Your site may be compromised by a malware attack – if that happens, Google will take your website down and post a warning message, and your hosting provider will also take the site down. If Google takes the site down, you have to log in to your Google account and submit a request to get the site back into search results after the site has been fixed.

If your site is hacked in any way, you could lose all your content, maybe even all your files, which would mean starting all over again (or at least with the last backup you have on file). The process of fixing a website after a hack is not only very time consuming, but can be very costly and you may lose your placement in search engine results.

How Do I Maintain My WordPress Website?

Every website is different, especially if you have a custom WordPress website rather than just the default installation. These maintenance tips are roughly based on several scenarios, including some common plugins and helpful information for keeping up with the latest WordPress releases.

Basic Steps:

1. Backup your website files and database

The most efficient way to backup your site and database would be to use the Backup functionality that’s located in your hosting control panel (i.e.: cPanel for instance). If you do not have access to cPanel or another hosting control panel, you can use a plugin that performs a database backup, but be careful not to use one that might skip some of the plugins that are installed (in other words, use one that you are familiar with and that you know will include all the database tables, not only default WP tables). Some plugins that backup databases include:

Better WP Security – provides an automatic weekly or daily backup option
WP DB Backup – does not backup files
WordPress Backup (by BTE) – does backup files as well as database

2. Update Plugins that have updates available – *TIP: Familiarize yourself with your plugins by checking each one out on WordPress to make sure they are still reported in Working condition, and are kept up to date with the latest versions of WP.

3. Update WordPress version when available

4. Change your admin password

5. Change your cPanel password

6. Change your email account password(s)

TIPS:

- Schedule a monthly maintenance night on your calendar and set aside anywhere from 30 min. to an hour, depending on your internet connection and familiarity with WordPress. Note that your first time performing maintenance may take longer, because you need to familiarize yourself with your Plugins first.

- Have a FTP program available on your computer in case you need to download or delete files.
- Make sure any files you upload to your website do not have viruses
- Make sure your computer does not have a virus when you access your WP admin or use FTP
- Log in to your website at least once a week, and also view your site to make sure everything is working properly. You may also want to sign up for Website Defender to monitor your website, which can be done within your WP admin through the Better WP Security plugin.

For more detailed information about securing your WordPress website, read the previous article – WordPress Security Tips!

Sign up for Monthly Maintenance with Gravity Station!

Save yourself time and rest easier knowing that we provide monthly maintenance for you! Maintenance includes all of the above plus we will store your database backup and file backups each month, so you always have the last month’s data available in case of emergency.

Contact Gravity Station today to schedule your monthly website maintenance tasks asap!

Helpful Resources

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Jane is the owner / designer at Gravity Station, and designer/ custom WordPress website developer at JV Media Design. With 16 years experience in website design, Jane's focus is in custom WordPress design and CSS, she also designs print materials such as business cards, one-sheets, brochures, and CD packaging. Besides web design, Jane also enjoys Sci-Fi (Doctor Who Rules!), keeping up with the latest findings in science, reading strange phenomenon and action/adventure books, and playing Lord of the Rings Monopoly with her 2 children.

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