Over time, problems can build up in your website without you even realizing it. This causes your site to run slowly and become more insecure. By performing regular WordPress maintenance, you can keep these problems from affecting your site and your readers.
There are plenty of articles and tutorials that will tell you how to keep your WordPress site secure, performing at its best, and looking fresh and new.
But many of us forget to perform some of the most important maintenance tasks, which can end up costing us in lost productivity and potential revenue.
Luckily, it’s easy to keep your WordPress site optimized, secure, and performing at its best with just a few simple tasks performed on a regular basis.
Keep reading to find out which of these tasks you should be performing on a regular basis to ensure your site is running at peak performance!
Why to Perform WordPress Maintenance Task Regularly
Regular WordPress maintenance is essential for keeping your site secure, performing well, and looking great over time. It’s also a great way to fix common problems and make your WordPress site better than it was before.
You can perform the most common WordPress maintenance tasks without touching your WordPress site’s code. This makes it easy to do when you have only a few minutes to spare, or if you’re new to WordPress maintenance.
1. Change All Your WordPress Passwords
Your first line of defense against unauthorized access to your WordPress website is strong unique passwords.
You should use strong unique passwords for each of your online accounts, and make sure to use different passwords for each site.
This helps protect against password hacks if someone obtains access to one of your online accounts. You can also set up two-factor authentication (or 2FA) on your most important accounts if you have them.
Strong passwords have the disadvantage of being more difficult to remember. This is why we recommend utilizing password management programs like Last Pass to store and fill passwords safely and quickly without having to write them.
2. Creating a full backup of your site
WordPress’s built-in backup and maintenance plans are a great first step toward keeping your website running smoothly.
The Site Backup plan automatically backs up your site every hour, and the Site Maintenance plan automatically updates your theme and plugins, hosts images, and more from the Premium WordPress.com themes.
Both plans are good first steps toward keeping your site secure and running smoothly, but they’re not a long-term solution. You’ll need to regularly back up your site and keep it secure with good WordPress practices.
3. Check and Update All WordPress Files
WordPress comes with a built-in system that automatically updates WordPress core, plugins, and themes to the latest version.
All you have to do is make sure you’re running the latest version of WordPress, and then WordPress will take care of updating everything else automatically.
You can also update plugins and themes manually if you want to control when they’re updated. If you’re new to WordPress development, the built-in update system will probably work just fine for you.
To manually check for updates, go to the WordPress Updates page. Check that all of your installed plugins and themes are running the most recent version. If they aren’t, make sure to write down why you’re not updating.
4. Optimizing your WordPress database
WordPress also boasts a large, active community of developers and theme creators who provide ample opportunity to customize the platform and build unique websites.
WordPress is a database-driven content management system, so all the content on your site is stored in a MySQL database.
You’ll need to know a thing or two about how databases work in order to fully harness the power of WordPress, but with a little bit of study, it’s not too difficult to get the hang of.
To get the MySQL database out of WordPress, you’ll need to use the WP-Optimize plugin. By improving your MySQL information base, you can get rid of this unwanted data and increase the performance of your database.
5. Check and Delete Spam Comments
I found Akismet very helpful in keeping my blog free from spam. It takes a lot of spam off my hands, but sometimes I get comments that are still automatically deleted.
Akismet can be set to delete spam automatically. This can decrease the time it takes to delete the spam from your blog.
It will not necessarily increase performance, but it will ensure that genuine remarks are not missed.
6. Running performance tests
One of the most important aspects of running a successful blog is the performance of the site. A slow site will not be attractive to potential clients, and may even cause them to look for another provider.
To ensure that your site is running at peak performance, you should conduct some basic tests. There are a number of testing services available online that will allow you to run a variety of tests on your site.
GT Metrix and Google Page Speed Insights will show you how well your site is performing and where it may be improved.
Make use of the devices to guarantee that your site isn’t too easy to navigate back to the point where it annoys your visitors and potential customers.
7. Test All Your WordPress Forms
WordPress form plugins like WPForms make it super easy to create beautiful forms on your WordPress website.
These intuitive drag and drop form builders take the pain out of building forms because all the hard work is done for you. The only thing you have to worry about is designing the form contents.
But because these plugins rely on you having a configured WordPress hosting environment or an email service that properly supports forms, they won’t work on every website.
You should test all of the forms on your website to ensure that they are functioning properly. If a form isn’t working, check out this guide to resolving the WordPress email problem.
We advocate utilizing the WP Mail SMTP plugin as a best practice because it includes email logging and will notify you if an email fails to send.
8. Find and Fix 404 Errors
As your website expands, you’ll notice that some of the external websites you linked to in previous articles no longer exist. Some may have relocated, while others may have simply vanished.
Broken links aren’t just a problem with external links. You might post damaged photos, links that aren’t properly formatted, or misspell your own URLs by accident. This is inconvenient for your visitors and reduces user engagement on your site.
As part of your WordPress maintenance process, you should examine your website for broken links. See this tutorial on how to discover and resolve broken links in WordPress for more information.
9. Perform a Thorough Content and SEO Audit
Sometimes it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and just keep putting off the things you know you should be doing.
That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular maintenance tasks in your workflow so that you can keep on top of things and avoid being overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done.
One of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your content is to set aside some time each week to conduct a thorough review of your content.
This will help you to identify opportunities for improvement, keep your site fresh and up to date, and make sure that your content is still achieving the goals you set out for it.
Read our guide on how to do a SEO Audit to maintain your site performance and ranking.
10. Optimize Images on Your WordPress Site
One of the first things you will discover when conducting a performance checkup of your site is that some of your images are taking a long time to load.
This can have a big impact on your page speed, which will decrease the amount of time people spend on your site and ultimately lead to lower rankings in Google.
Images take a lot of time to load, and depending on the size, can account for a large portion of overall page weight.
This means that reducing the size of your images is an important step if you want to increase page speed.
If you’re curious how large an image load time might be for your site, you can run a performance checkup using the Google Chrome Web Developer Tools.
In the Performance panel, click the Images tab to view a list of all the images on your page and the loading progress for each one.
Read our guide on How to work on Image Optimization Properly without harming image quality.
11. Review WordPress Security Logs
WordPress has a built-in logging system that can help you find out if someone is trying to hack your site.
In the WordPress access log and error log, you can find information about IP addresses and other details that can help you identify whether there’s an attack happening or not.
The logs are located in the WordPress admin under the “Settings” menu. Here’s an example of what the access log might look like if someone tries to hack your site.
Here’s an example of what the error log might look like if someone tries to hack your site: If you want to see where users are accessing your site from, you can find this information in the HTTP refer log.
12. Troubleshoot Maintenance Tasks
Most website maintenance tasks are quite harmless and will not affect your website’s normal functioning.
However, sometimes maintenance is necessary. In this case, it is better to seek the services of a WordPress expert, who can help you figure out what is going wrong and fix it.
It is best to seek out help from someone who has a thorough knowledge of WordPress, as you can be sure that they have already addressed any problems you might have before.
13. Clearing your WordPress cache
Your website is stored in a cache in your web browser. While this cache will have a positive impact on your site performance, it can cause problems.
Your website will load a lot faster from the web than from your hard drive, but if the data in your cache becomes outdated or corrupt, your website will display incorrectly or not load at all.
This is why it’s important to periodically clear your cache and delete any outdated or corrupt data.
Read our guide on how to clear cache from your WordPress site.
14. Removing unused, old themes and plugins :
When you upgrade or install a theme or plugin, WordPress automatically disposes of any themes and plugins that it didn’t find any themes and plugins that are compatible with on the current site.
This means that if you’ve never used the themes or plugins before, WordPress won’t waste your time by installing them when you could be doing something more productive.
However, if you have themes and plugins that have been introduced but not initiated on your site, there’s no reason not to dispose of them.
You need to delete them, and if you choose to use them later on, you can download them from the WordPress theme gallery or plugin directory.
15. Optimize Textual Content & Code
The main focus of this research project is to find a way to decrease the size of our rendered images, or rather, to decrease our page size.
One of the main solutions that is being considered is to compress the text and images, but not to the point that the quality of the rendered page is affected.
Another solution is to compress the text and images to the point where the page size cannot be decreased and the page loading speed is affected.
We hope that this post has taught you how to undertake essential WordPress maintenance tasks on your website on a regular basis. You might also be interested in our advice on how to improve blog traffic.
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