WordPress remains the world’s most popular content management system. It is used to power more than 75 million websites, including the websites of many large businesses and organisations. The are many reasons for WordPress’ ongoing popularity including its ease-of-use, reliability, and excellent security.

However, for WordPress to remain reliable and secure, it does require regular maintenance. In this post, I’ll explain why WordPress needs maintenance and the kinds of maintenance you should be performing.

Why does WordPress need to be maintained?

#1 – Security

The downside of WordPress’ popularity is that it makes WordPress a prominent target for cybercriminals. After all, if a hacker can identify a majority vulnerability in the underlying code that powers WordPress, they may be able to use it to attack millions of websites.

Fortunately, WordPress developers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in the app’s source code and patch them extremely quickly. Most plugin and theme developers are also hyper-vigilant and work closely with the community to fix any vulnerabilities.

Maintaining your WordPress website ensures that any security issues in your website are patched as soon as possible — protecting your business against data theft, malware, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and other types of cyberattacks.

#2 – Bugs

In addition to patching security issues, maintaining your WordPress installation will result in fewer software bugs. Resolving these bugs quickly will ensure that your website remains fully functional for your website visitors and that the administration system works as intended.

#3 – Website speed

Having a fast website is critical for maintaining a good user experience for visitors. It is also an important ranking factor that is used by search engines when they are calculating where to place your website in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).

Maintaining your WordPress installation will ensure that WordPress website’s source code, database, and server are all setup to serve your website as quickly as possible to visitors.

#4 – Better SEO performance

A well maintained WordPress website often has much better search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Proper maintenance ensures that the website’s URLs remain correctly setup, that the sitemap is functioning, that any SEO plugins are correctly and so on.

#5 – Improving the user’s experience

Performing regular WordPress maintenance will ensure that you have access to all of the latest features provided by WordPress including the most up-to-date plugins and themes. In many cases, these features will improve the user experience for visitors to your website and make it easier to use the administration section.

Proper maintenance also helps you avoid any unusual glitches that can affect site performance. Improving the user’s experience with proper maintenance will lead to more return visits from customers, a reduced bounce rate, and many more satisfied customers.

#6 – Protects your brand

Your website is an important part of your brand. If your site is buggy, has broken links, and is loading slowly — it can negatively impact that brand. It may also lead to reduced sales and significant damage to your business’ reputation.

#7 – Your data will be safer

Creating data backups is an essential part of WordPress website maintenance. Having backups on hand makes simple to reinstall the website if it is compromised in some way.

How To Maintain WordPress

There are several essential maintenance tasks that need to be performed to ensure your WordPress website remains fast and secure. They include:

WordPress Core Updates

WordPress receives frequent updates, with new features and bug fixes constantly being added. Fortunately, updating WordPress is quite simple and can be performed via the administration dashboard.

Theme updates

WordPress themes are responsible for rendering the frontend of your WordPress website. Modern themes can be quite complex and use a combination of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. The complexity of modern themes makes them more vulnerable to glitches, errors, and vulnerabilities. They must be updated whenever the developer releases a patch for the theme.

Plugin updates

Plugins also need to be regularly updated so your website receives the necessary security patches, bug fixes, and upgrades.

Remove unused plugins and themes

One of the golden rules for maintaining WordPress websites is to remove anything that you are not using. This is because unused or out-of-date themes and plugins can contain vulnerabilities that can still be exploited — even if you don’t have the theme or plugin currently activated. Proper maintenance will ensure any potentially dangerous items are removed from your WordPress website.

Backup your website regularly

Backing up your website’s files and databases at regular intervals is an essential part of WordPress maintenance. It’s important to have both server backups and remote backups which are on third party servers or cloud back services and your local computer. Backing up your WordPress website is a fairly simple process thanks to plugins like UpdraftPlus.

Use a high-quality security plugin

WordPress is a very secure content management system out-of-the-box. However, its security can be improved by installing additional security plugins. There are several security plugins available, which can make the security of your website extremely tight. Any security plugins you have installed will need to be updated regularly.

Check your website’s speed

Regular audits of your website’s speed are another important part of WordPress maintenance. They help you identify any problems relating to speed and address them before they impact the usability of your website or its search engine optimisation. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights are extremely useful for testing a websites current performance.

Broken link inspection and repair

The presences of broken links on your website can be annoying for visitors and have serious repercussions for SEO. Regularly look for broken links using a plugin like Broken Link Checker.

User management

It is best practice to delete unused WordPress users and control the capabilities of current users with a plugin like WordPress Roles. This will reduce the risk of a hacker obtaining access to your website’s administration section via a user account.

Database optimisation

The WordPress database also needs to optimised so it runs efficiently. You can use a plugin like WP-Optmize to maintain your website’s databases.

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