Is Your Website’s Health at Risk?
If you have a business, you probably have a website. And if you have a website, it’s probably built using WordPress considering it’s the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS). But having a WordPress website comes with some maintenance that most people forget about, dismiss or don’t even know about. Your website is something that needs regular maintenance, kind of like your car. There are lots of moving parts: softwares, plugins, themes and such, that all need regular updating and maintenance to avoid major security risks or even losing your site forever.
You Can DIY It
Luckily for you, with a little bit of guidance, you can do regular maintenance on your website without a professional. Here are some steps to follow to help keep your website up and running and defended against cyber attacks.
Back It Up
First things first: backup your website. You can do this with your host (some host examples: GoDaddy, SiteGround, HostGator, BlueHost, etc.). Some hosts will offer to do this automatically for a fee so check to see if you’re already paying for that feature and already have backups available. If you don’t, you can do automatic backups with a plugin like Jetpack or ManageWP Worker and pay for the upgraded version to do automatic backups for you. Another option is to manually backup your site with your host. Make sure to backup not only all of your website files but also your database. Your database is the backbone of your site and it cannot survive without it. Additionally, you should be backing up your website frequently. When you do it automatically with your host or a plugin it’s usually daily. If you’re doing it manually, I’d suggest doing it at least once a week and keeping on hand at least a couple months worth of backups at all times. If you need help restoring a website backup, call your host.
Update Your Theme
Once you’ve backed up your site, update your theme. Your WordPress website has a theme, even if it’s custom coded. Go to Appearance/Themes and see if there are any updates available. AN IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure there is a CHILD theme active in your themes panel. If you don’t have a child theme, all of the additional coding you or your developer have added to your site will be written over when the theme is updated (and your website could look very different). Child themes are really important – learn more about them HERE.
Update Your Plugins
Next, let’s talk about updating your plugins. Chances are you have at least 5 plugins on your site, probably more. DON’T immediately start updating your plugins, YOU COULD BREAK YOUR SITE. Let me explain: plugins are usually made by third party companies. Developers use them to quickly and easily modify your site. Each plugin has something called a “change log” where the plugin authors give a history of what they’ve changed. The important part of the change log is the part that tells you what the new version of the plugin is compatible with (the version of WordPress and other plugins). So, before you do any updates on any plugins, read each change log to make sure you’re not updating the plugin prematurely and potentially breaking your site.
Add a Firewall
Firewalls protect your website from malicious hacker attacks and malware infections – which are really costly to clean up – so much so that many people just abandon their old sites if they get infected. There are many firewalls out there – I personally use WebARX on my own site and websites I manage on my Website Care Plans. Some other popular firewalls are Malcare and Sucuri. If you want to want to read more about WordPress firewalls, CLICK HERE.
Add Uptime Monitoring
This is something you usually add with your host or add with a plugin like Jetpack. Uptime monitoring (or sometimes called downtime monitoring) lets you know if your site goes down for any reason. And if it does, you’ll be notified as soon as it happens so you can restore it from one of those handy backups you made in step one. What good is your website if it’s down?
If you’re not logging onto the backend of your website weekly, you aren’t properly keeping your website healthy. Don’t let your themes/plugins become out of date. Hackers can use security vulnerabilities in your outdated plugins/themes to get in and infect your site (the firewall can only do so much and is not perfect).
I Want to Empower You
I love empowering my clients by teaching them how to take care of their websites on their own. But for those of you that are super busy or aren’t super tech savvy (or both), you might want to leave this job to the pros. That’s why I offer Website Care Plans. If you want to read about what’s included in those click HERE. To check out my other services, click HERE.
I hope you found this informative and helpful. Now go backup/update your websites!
Be well friends. 🙂