General WordPress Maintenance
In this article, we're going to review the best practices for maintaining your WordPress site.
Note: If you are under the REI Managed account, you will not need to maintain your REI Conversion themes or plugin addons as we will do this for you. However, if you decide to install any third-party plugins, you'll be responsible for maintaining and updating these yourself that you have installed yourself.
Keeping Your WordPress Site Backed Up
One of the most important aspects of maintaining your WordPress site will be to keep it backed up.
If you are under the REI Managed plan or have your site hosted on WP Engine, your site will automatically be backed up for you on a regular basis, and you can easily reinstall an older version of your site if there’s a problem.
If you don’t have access to this, you’ll need to install and configure a backup plugin so that you have regular automated backups. This means that if your WordPress site is ever hacked or goes down, you can easily reinstate a version that you know worked giving you peace of mind that you'll never lose the entirety of your site.
To install a backup plugin, head to Plugins > Add New on your WordPress Dashboard and search for an appropriate plugin. Be sure to use something that's regularly updated, has a lot of downloads and has good reviews.
If you’re doing maintenance work on your site - running an update, editing the theme, installing plugins, or anything else - we recommend always making a manual backup before you start, either via WP Engine or with a backup plugin. This way, if any changes you make breaks your site, you can roll it back to how it was right before you made the edits.
Keeping Your WordPress Site Updated
Another essential aspect of maintaining your WordPress site is to keep it up to date. This includes regularly updating themes and plugins as well as WordPress itself.
Why Updates are Important
There are three reasons as to why updates are important:
- Most updates include security patches so your site will be more secure if you keep it regularly updated.
- Updating your theme or plugins ensures you have access to the latest features.
- Some updates to themes and plugins ensure compatibility with the latest releases of WordPress, ensuring your site won’t encounter any problems.
You can either do regular updates manually or you can set up automatic updates to save yourself time and hassle. You'll usually get a notification in your WordPress Dashboard if you need to update your plugins or WordPress version.
Removing Unused Themes and PluginsKeeping your site up to date will be easier if you remove any themes or plugins that are either inactive or unused. Every theme or plugin you have installed on your site is an extra source of potential incompatibility or insecurity, so it makes sense to only have those themes and plugins you’re actually using installed.
Keeping Your WordPress Site Secure
To avoid hacks and other potential security breaches, it’s essential to keep your WordPress site secure.
With the REI Conversion managed site and hosting plan, you can be confident that the security of your site is taken very seriously.
If you're hosting your site yourself, ensure that you always use secure passwords, keep your plugins and themes up to date, don’t download free themes or plugins from sources other than the official plugin or theme directories, and ensure other user accounts on your site are also being managed correctly
If you’re hosting your own site, a security plugin will help you monitor security risks or breaches and identify what you need to do to fix them.
Moderating Comments and Managing Users
If you add other admins to your WordPress site, you do face the risk of a security breach based on what they install and manage.
- Users with admin privileges could install plugins or themes that are unsafe or badly coded,
- Users with permission to create and edit content in your site could upload images or other media that can slow down your site.
All administrative users of your site will need to understand the importance of security and performance and what they should do to keep your site working. Make sure they know to only use secure passwords and add software from reputable sources. You can edit the permissions of all your users under Users > All Users in your WordPress Dashboard.
Comments can introduce spam to your site and slow things down in some cases. Stop comment spam by editing your discussion settings to manually approve all comments or use a plugin to filter out spammy looking comments. You can also keep comments from slowing down performance by using a third-party commenting system.