Maintaining your WordPress Website

Wordpress Logo

Keeping your WordPress site well tuned and maintained will ensure good performance and many years of faithful service. This article gives a brief introduction to WordPress Maintenance.

WordPress is a powerful and flexible content management system used by millions of people across the globe. And as the expectation for user managed sites grows, so will the uptake of systems like it.

For the newcomer to WordPress there is a learning curve. Thankfully it’s not too steep or long, but there is always something new to learn. Some will be happy to leave aspects of creating and maintaining their WordPress site to a developer as they focus on their core business. But most will at least want to at least know what’s required to keep their site up and running.

One thing that all site owners can do is visit their site regularly to make sure everything is looking good, check the stats, assess your goals and strategy.

Why Does WordPress Need Maintenance?

For those who have previous owned ‘static‘ websites, the need for maintenance can be a new idea. A ‘dynamic‘ site, as the name suggests, has moving parts so to speak. Moreover, as the internet and its technologies evolve, the applications we use must change, adapt and improve.

Updates are also a critical part of keeping your site secure as they frequently provide fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities.

The WordPress Core

The WordPress ‘core’, as the term suggests, is the software base which drives your WordPress site. When you download WordPress, you download the core, chose a theme and add plug-ins. The core is updated on a regular basis. As each update is ready for release, a notification appears in the WordPress admin. Updating the core is a regular maintenance task, albeit one that requires some caution.

Themes

Themes are essentially skins for WordPress but usually offer a variety of functionality as well as a particular look. Whether your theme is from the WordPress theme repository or a premium theme, it will require updating.

Plug-ins

Plug-ins are likely to be the most regular item on the maintenance list. Although there are various schools of thought on how many is too many, most WordPress installations will have at least a couple of plug-ins. Plug-ins add functionality to your WordPress site. There are literally thousands available, but choose wisely; while a good plug-in can be solid gold, a poorly built or out of date plug-in can compromise security and even take your whole site down.

It’s good to remember that most of the plug-ins you will use are developed and maintained for free. If you’re happy with a plug-in consider donating to the developer. This is often the reason plug-ins fall by the wayside – they take a lot of time to maintain and support. Developers have bills to pay, families to support and don’t have endless amounts of time to do it.

Trouble at Mill?

There are some cautions attached to maintenance. Occasionally updates break things. Major updates of the core, although thoroughly tested, can cause issues for some plug-ins or combinations thereof, depending on a variety of factors. It’s generally wise to hold off and let the dust settle before implementing a significant update.

Conclusion

WordPress is a powerful platform and like any CMS, is constantly improved and updated. To say a CMS needs no maintenance is akin to selling someone a car and saying there will be no ongoing costs. If you don’t have the time or inclination, you will need to get someone to do this for you. Your site is an investment, and requires time and attention. How much time will depend on the complexity of your installation.

To enquire about our maintenance services drop us a line.

Further Reading
http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Housekeeping
http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Site_Maintenance

a lifeform labs project supporting the brook waimarama sanctuary - nelson nz