4 Key Things WordPress Needs Regularly: a WP Guide

WordPress website maintenance basics

It’s no secret that WordPress has taken the web design world by storm. According to W3Techs.com, WordPress occupies over 60% of all known CMS based websites and nearly 1 in 4 of all websites in the world. And it’s for good reason. WordPress is a great platform for websites – from personal blogs to business from small to giant. WP is kicking butt, taking [domain] names and is probably here to stay.

As great as WordPress is – for a plethora of practical reasons – it isn’t immune to a need for maintenance and attention.

4 Things Your WordPress Won’t Do Without (For Long)

?#1: Backups

It seems redundant to think too much about backups. After all, if you’re like the majority of website owners, your site is hosted on a hosting server somewhere far away in a massive data center. They do backups, so why should you? In short: because you don’t have control of when they do their backups.

Doing a backup can be very easy and quick and save you from some serious headaches if things suddenly go sideways.

I recommend using the Duplicator plugin for WordPress to do your updates.

It’s pretty painless to use and when it’s done making a backup, you’ve got two files to take away: a zip archive of your entire WP directory and an installer.php file to run the recovery/extraction when you want to deploy it.

I wrote a writeup on how to use the Duplicator plugin some time ago, which could probably use some updates. But check it out anyhow.

#2: WordPress Updates

WordPress is under constant development. As a result, updates are frequently released that add new functionality as well as fixes to known security issues (let’s be fair… every software has them!)

WordPress updates are actually really easy to apply – but they need to be done with care nonetheless. Performing an update to WP is as easy as going into your Dashboard, clicking on Updates and about a click or two more, initiating an automatic update to your WordPress core installation.

But wait… have you backed up?

I highly vehemently recommend urge all WordPress users to BACKUP FIRST ALWAYS! Using the aforementioned Duplicator plugin, backups are pretty quick and painless and can help you revert back to your old installation pretty quickly if an update happens to break your website. It happens. Trust me.

#3: WordPress Plugin Updates

One of the best things about WordPress is it’s ridiculously huge selection of third party plugins that add all kinds of useful and even lucrative functions to WP. A few hugely popular examples include WooCommerce for WP-based ecommerce, WordPress SEO by Yoast for excellent SEO enhancement and Wordfence for improving WordPress security.

Just like in the physical world, sometimes our greatest strengths can become our biggest weaknesses, if mismanaged.

I’d almost argue that WordPress plugin updates are even more important than WordPress core updates. That’s because WP is closely-guarded and developed by a super-ninja team of developers while its features and monitoring are influenced by the web dev community at large. But plugin developers’ mastery can vary from jedi to straight-up novice.

The biggest reason to keep your plugins up to date: security.

Like the WordPress world learned the hard way recently, resources bundled into plugins can open up a gaping hole in the security of your website (or hundreds of thousands of websites). Plugins can be a simple little WP function or they can be a whole application worth of code including third party resources like custom fonts, Javascript and other executable files, images and more. For this reason, plugins should be kept as up to date as possible while considering compatibility with your WordPress version and theme version.

Once again… always use protection: BACKUP FIRST! (See #1)

?#4: WordPress Theme Updates

Just like WordPress’ core and plugins, themes can also bring in a bundle of resources that add all kinds of cool functionality to your WP website. In the same token, they can have inherent vulnerabilities if they are out of date.

But themes are (sometimes) a little bit trickier than updating your WordPress core and plugins simply because they don’t always offer a one-click update like the former items do.

If you’ve bought a premium theme from marketplaces such as Themeforest.net, you may have a few extra steps to go through. Fortunately the folks at Envato have provided a plugin to help you get notified of premium theme and plugin updates and to somewhat automatically apply the updates.

Guess what? Yep, BACKUP FIRST before applying any theme updates!

In summary, there are 4 main things your WordPress website needs on a regular basis: Backups, WordPress Core Updates, WordPress Plugin Updates and WordPress Theme Updates.

If you’re looking for professional help managing, updating or building your WordPress website or web design services, we’re available for hire. Just give us a shout!

Let’s hear from the peanut gallery: What’s your favorite WordPress backup or other maintenance tool? Comment below.