One of the essential tools in building the online presence of a business is about the care and grooming of your website. Here are six tips for maintaining a WordPress website that will help keep it safe and protect it from attack.
- The first thing is first. Set a regular maintenance schedule. It may only be once a month on a low volume site or weekly on a higher volume e-commerce site, set up a regular and consistent plan to review, and update issues on your WordPress site.
- Backup your site regularly. Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment, and every link in your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you could lose everything you have on your site. Properly backing up your website will help you to restore it quickly.
Tools for backup – there are many plugin options; here are two secure plugin options to choose from:
Updraft plus – has a free version and one of the internet’s highest-ranked back up plugins. You can back up your site to a cloud-based account such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or the Updraft Vault. You can manually back up your website or schedule it for backups automatically anywhere from every four hours to monthly.
Backup Buddy – is another excellent option for backing up with restore options in the event of malware or a breach corrupting your site. Unlike Updraft plus, BackupBuddy does not have a free or freemium option, but it starts at an affordable $40.00 per month. It will be well worth it if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of restoring a hacked site.
3. Keep site core files and plugins up to date. Due to the constant updates to the coding, the WordPress core files, themes, and plugins on your WordPress website will require updates. Developers are always working on improvements to their products. Sometimes it is for safety or security reasons or maybe to increase the functionality. It’s a good practice to regularly update them to reduce the chances of your site becoming a hacking target. Be sure to perform a backup of your site first just in case there is a glitch or unfortunate issue while updating.
4. Delete unused plugins – this another potential access point for nefarious hackers and also one that could slow down the load times for your site’s pages. When you are no longer using a plugin and are not likely to do so again, go for a full uninstall and remove it.
5. Optimize your database – Many factors affect the usability and ranking of your site. Optimizing your website for speed helps improve your search engine ranking. The website should load quickly, not only on a desktop but on mobile devices, and this is where optimization is helpful. As with all WordPress maintenance functions, optimization can be completed manually, but the use of an optimizer plugin will speed up the process and reduce potential deletion problems. A couple of excellent plugin choices to make it painless:
WP-Optimize – highly rated with hundreds of thousands of active installs. It’s user-friendly and easy to use even for those that are new to WordPress.
WP-DBManager – repairs, optimizes, and restores the database.
6. Secure your site – WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems(CMS) on the internet and powers approximately 35% of all websites. As the dominant CMS platform, this makes WordPress an obvious and enticing target for hackers. Securing your business website should be on the must-do section of your to-do list. On the day this article was written, the Internet Live Stats page showed that over 121,000 sites were already hacked. And, it was only 3:00 pm on the Eastern seaboard. There is no guarantee that you will not be hacked, but you can reduce the chances of being on that list by taking precautions.
- Use a hosting company that uses current security features.
- Use strong passwords and consider changing them regularly (e.g., quarterly).
- Do not use “Admin” as the sign in for the username. Create a new admin user and give it a strong password. Assign all of your content to the new admin user and delete the old one.
- As indicated above, back up and optimize your WordPress site, keeping files, plugins, and themes up to date.
- Use HTTPS and SSL(Secure Sockets Layer)- it allows visitors browsers to establish a connection that is secured via SSL.
There are, of course, many other options to improve your website, but this shortlist can undoubtedly get you started down the road to optimizing its maintenance.