Keeping your WordPress website up to date
Running a website is not as easy as some people think. There is continuous work to be done such as regularly adding content, search engine optimization, and if you are running a WordPress website, then you will need to keep on top of all the regular updates.
In terms of usability, WordPress is one of the easiest platforms for managing a website. You don’t need to know any type of coding, and everything can be created visually using the page builders that come with many of the most popular WordPress themes.
There are also lots of excellent plugins that you can install on your site that can do everything from create contact forms, to embed maps and videos onto your pages. These plugins are one of the major advantages of using WordPress, as you can usually find a plugin that does exactly what you need.
However, the WordPress platform is a constantly evolving and improving one, and if you don’t take care to make sure that your site and the themes and plugins that you are using are always up to date, then you could be inviting some serious trouble.
Outdated plugins can be hacked and your site can be injected with tons of spam content and links – something you really don’t want to happen. Websites can also stop functioning properly if you are running old versions of WordPress or if the PHP version used by your hosting is not up to date.
WordPress usage is constantly growing
The WordPress platform is used for all types of websites around the world. It is actually powering over 35% of the websites on the internet. You can find it being used for all types of websites, from simply blog to ecommerce websites and membership sites. You can create a website to share your recipes with friends and family, or create something complex such as a random number generator. Whatever you want to create in terms of a website, WordPress has the ability to do it.
Managing updates on your website
There are many different tools available to monitor your website. These will inform you when something needs to be updated. One such tool is MainWP, a free plugin that you can install on your website, and which then monitors it for any plugins or themes that need updating, as well as the core WordPress version your site is running. Using a tool such as this is extremely useful, especially if you are managing multiple websites.
With the MainWP tool, you can quickly update any plugins or themes on your website directly from the MainWP control panel. You won’t need to log into the administration of your website and perform the updates – everything can be done from the MainWP dashboard. The amount of time you save is huge, especially if you are running more than a single site.
Backing Up your site
Something else that you also need to consider are site backups. You never know when something can go wrong, and your site could be wiped out in an instant. Most hosting companies keep regular backups of the websites that they host, but some may not take backups as frequently as others do.
If you use WordPress there are a number of plugins that you can use to create backups of your site. You simply need to install the plugin and set up the configuration, which shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes. You can then specific if you want backups taken every hour, day, week or month. If you are constantly updating your website with new content, then you should probably look to have daily backups made.
You might also find it useful to add a security plugin to your website, such as WordFence, which is a free plugin that is very popular with WordPress users. The free version should be more than enough for the average user, but there is a paid version also available that has many features that are more advanced.
Check which version of PHP your webhost is using
As mentioned earlier, WordPress is constantly evolving, and one very important aspect of a secure WordPress website is the PHP version that your host is using. It is recommended that you use PHP 7.0 or higher. If you are using an earlier version, you might see a warning message inside your website administration panel.
It is straightforward to upgrade the version of PHP you are using. If you have Cpanel hosting, then you simply need to click the PHP Version option, and then select 7.0 or higher. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, then you should speak to your web developer or hosting company and ask them to make the change for you.
In conclusion, it is not difficult to keep your WordPress website up to date and running securely. However, you will need to understand that the management of such a site is ongoing work, but as long as you know the various processes that you need to follow, it should not be too difficult, or take too much time each month.