Beginner’s Guide: Which maintenance tasks should be performed?

May 1, 2018

Which maintenance tasks should be performed at all, or has maintenance already been performed at all?

This point is often completely neglected, but this helps to avoid sudden errors.

Regular maintenance also helps to ensure that your own website always functions optimally.

Why should maintenance tasks be carried out?

WordPress is a powerful CMS, but some factors play an important role:

Due to the constant work on your own contents or the addition of texts and pictures, regular maintenance is important for a functioning website.

Recommendation: Watch your system to ensure optimal performance for your visitors or customers.

How often should maintenance tasks be performed?

Highly frequented websites with many visitors should be regularly optimized. For smaller websites it is often sufficient to do this once every six months.

For websites whose content hardly changes or does not change at all, for example for an agency site, it is completely sufficient to check this once a year.

Changing the WordPress passwords

To protect against unauthorized access, security experts recommend regularly changing the passwords used.

To change the admin password, click on User in the WordPress Administration and select Change in your profile.

Then all profile-relevant information is displayed and at the bottom of Account Management, a new password can either be generated or assigned yourself.

Full backup of the website

A website without making a regular backup or backup can get a very nasty revenge at some point.

Just if something goes wrong with an update to the current WordPress version, it can come to a database error, which would be with great bad luck, no more to repair.

Creating regular backups is therefore one of the most important maintenance tasks. There are many powerful WordPress backup plugins that can create complete and automated backups.

If a backup solution is already in use, it may happen that it suddenly stops working.

The reasons could be, for example, that there is no longer enough memory available.

Recommendation: Therefore, it should be checked regularly whether the backup solution used does what it is supposed to do.

Updates and updates of WordPress files

WordPress has an integrated update function that displays all upcoming updates for plugins and themes.

Certain premium providers provide their own update service to update all content quickly.

Such an own update service should save the user the manual update to a version.

Delete Spam Comments

Even if a plugin for the prevention of spam comments has already been installed, a software solution naturally cannot prevent everything.

Conversely, the plugin used for spam defense may have inadvertently marked a normal comment as spam.

All comments marked as spam can then be deleted from the website.

Although this maintenance task does not improve anything concrete, it helps to ensure that real comments on the website are not lost.

Recommendation: A regular look into the unlocked comments and comments marked as spam does not harm.

Use web-optimized images

Most errors can occur when inserting images. These can drag the loading speed of the website enormously into the cellar.

For image optimization, there are several powerful plug-ins that make this task enormously easier.

Especially when a website is run by several authors, not everyone pays attention to image optimization.

Recommendation: Use a plugin solution that may even do this automatically and automatically performs an optimization in the background for every uploaded image.

Test WordPress forms

With some plugins you can easily create beautiful forms for your website.

However, due to an incorrect configuration on the server or on the e-mail service, these forms can suddenly no longer send e-mails.

Recommendation: Send your own forms to check if they work properly.

404 Troubleshooting

For many website operators such an error page is simply an annoying evil.

If you put your time into the search engine optimization of your website, you should pay attention to the 404 error messages.

There are 2 different ways in which these can occur:

  1. External: Content may change over time or may be made available under a new URL. However, if another website links to an old (no longer existing URL), the visitor receives a 404 error.
  2. Internal: In itself a similar problem if, for example, you link to another content page, but its URL has changed. The visitor also receives a 404 error.

Recommendation: 404 errors can be shown via visitor tracking and can thus be corrected quite quickly. But also as a preventive measure, Broken Link Plugins can quickly show which internal links cause a 404 error.

General security of WordPress

We have already addressed two maintenance tasks such as changing passwords or setting up backups.

However, WordPress users often do not even notice that their own website is exposed to attacks, this only becomes apparent when it is too late.

This is the case if someone has already introduced malware or has deliberately destroyed something. In the worst case, the attack is not even noticeable and all data has been stolen.

Recommendation: Protect your website effectively in advance with a firewall or a security plugin.

Unusual activities are recorded accordingly and, if possible, fended off directly.

But remember, there is no such thing as 100% protection. Stick to these maintenance tasks and attackers will quickly find easier targets to get active.

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Tobias Schmidt
Web Developers and Programmers: A WordPress nerd, has spent over 10 years developing websites and protecting them from hackers and malware.
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