Technology advances inexorably with time and some improvements follow others. The code is optimized so that the website responds faster, new features are added or possible attacks and hacks are avoided.
In this article we will describe the basic maintenance tasks of a website developed with WordPress.
The best way to protect against any disaster are backups. A backup will allow us to restore our website against any failure that leaves it out of service, either a problem of the code itself or some kind of attack.
There are two ways to make these backups:
At the server level
In this mode, the backup is the most complete since, in addition to the website, we can have a backup of the server configurations, e-mails and other data that may be of our interest.
These backups should not be stored on the server itself, but in an external space. This prevents them from being lost in the event of a server failure.
In general, all hosting providers make periodic copies of their servers, but few report how often they do so. Also, they usually offer an external backup service that, for little money, allows you not to worry about making these copies.
At the WordPress level
There are several plugins that allow backups of both the files and the database. Most of these plugins store backups on the server itself, a practice that is not recommended, but some allow you to store them in external services such as Dropbox or similar.
The frequency with which backups should be made depends on the frequency with which the content is updated, as well as the different components of the website (plugins, themes or WordPress itself).
Generally, for websites whose content is updated every one to two weeks, a weekly copy is usually more than enough and always before updating the website components.
In the case of e-commerce sites, these copies should be daily.
Nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved. This is well known by WordPress, plugin and theme developers. For this reason, code improvements are introduced to improve performance, increase functionality or ensure the security of the website.
On websites that use many plugins, these updates are usually frequent and should be performed at least once a month.
Sometimes, the updates of one or the other components, since they are not usually synchronous, can generate problems that cause the website to malfunction. For this reason, before updating these components, it is necessary to make a backup copy.
Database cleaning and optimization
The WordPress database grows over time and not only with the contents that we add periodically. For example, while we write a post, a series of revisions are automatically created, which are old copies of the same post.
These copies accumulate over time and make the database grow with information that is rarely needed, which leads to the website running slower and slower.
For this reason, it is important to periodically clean and optimize the database.
Spam are those comments that have nothing to do with the subject of the blog. They are generally used to place links to websites with content that is not or not at all recommendable.
The way to avoid it is to disable comments on blog posts, although this limits the interaction with our visitors.
For this reason, it is advisable to place anti-spam filters and periodically check their operation.
The same applies to forms. Each form on the website must have an anti-spam protection measure, such as reCaptcha or Honeypot, whose operation must also be verified from time to time.
Despite all the measures we have described, it is always possible to suffer some kind of attack on our website.
For this reason, in addition to keeping the website components up to date, it is highly recommended to carry out a periodic security audit, in addition to the copies we have already mentioned.
Performance and speed checks
One of the essential factors to achieve a better positioning in search engines is the speed of the website, especially for mobile devices.
A periodic performance check can alert us to possible speed problems (very large images, oversized database, server problems, etc).
Similarly, if we have some kind of cache, it is advisable to clean it periodically and monitor its operation.
It is important that all, or at least those pages that interest us, are in the index of search engines so that users can find us.
For this reason, it is necessary to periodically check the traffic of our web site and to detect if all our web pages are indexed.
Checking for broken links
When we create content, we usually include links to external websites. In the same way, we can create internal links to other content on our website.
It is important to check that these links are active and that they lead to the pages they link to, whether they are from external websites or within our own website.
In this way, we avoid 404 errors that can penalize our organic positioning, besides frustrating our visitors.
Checking server resources
Generally, our websites evolve to grow, taking up more and more space on the server’s disk and using more and more resources. This use often increases with the concurrence of other services, such as e-mail.
We must periodically review the consumption of resources of our server in case, at some point, these resources are about to be exhausted and proceed to a cleaning or to contract better services.
The maintenance tasks of a web site are by no means trivial and should be given important attention.
Our goal is usually that our website is permanently operational and in the best conditions for our visitors.
For this reason, it is essential to hire a maintenance plan tailored to the needs of the website, in order to have updated information and make the necessary decisions to keep it in optimal operating conditions.