13 Necessary WordPress Upkeep Duties To Do On A Common Foundation
Have you ever wondered what important maintenance tasks you should be doing on your WordPress site on a regular basis?
Routine WordPress maintenance tasks take very little time, but they will ensure that your site is running safely and at maximum performance.
This article explains the main WordPress maintenance tasks to be performed on a regular basis and what each of them is.
Why and when to run WordPress maintenance tasks
Your WordPress site is a powerful system made up of several parts. This includes your WordPress hosting, the WordPress software itself, plugins and themes.
In addition, add your own content with text and images. All of this together results in a website that will be loved by your visitors and customers.
After starting a blog or website, many website owners do not run maintenance checks unless something is broken.
However, if you want optimal performance, you must perform simple maintenance tasks on a regular basis. These maintenance tasks ensure that your website is always in the best shape.
How often should you do WordPress maintenance tasks?
If you have a busy website with lots of traffic, be sure to go through this maintenance checklist every three months. For smaller, low-traffic, low-content websites, you'll need to perform these maintenance tasks every six months.
Let's take a look at the essential WordPress maintenance tasks you need to do and how to do them. With these quick links you can jump directly to any task.
- Change all of your WordPress passwords
- Make a full backup of your website
- Check and update all WordPress files
- Review and delete spam comments
- Test all of your WordPress forms
- Optimize your WordPress database
- Run performance tests
- Find and fix 404 errors
- Find and fix broken links
- Do a thorough content and SEO review
- Optimize images on your WordPress site
- Check the WordPress security logs
- Troubleshooting maintenance tasks
1. Change all of your WordPress passwords
Passwords are your first line of defense against unauthorized access to your website. You should always use unique passwords for all of your online accounts. This includes your WordPress website, FTP accounts, and your database.
Even if you use strong passwords, they can be compromised without your knowledge.
For this reason, WordPress security experts recommend changing your WordPress passwords regularly. This includes passwords for your WordPress administration area, FTP or SSH accounts and your WordPress database password.
For more help, check out our beginner's guide to changing your password in WordPress.
The problem with strong passwords is that they are harder to remember. This is why we recommend using password manager apps like LastPass to keep passwords safe and easy to populate without having to enter them.
For more information on the best way to manage WordPress passwords, check out our guide.
2. Make a full backup of your website
Backups are one of the most important WordPress plugins in your arsenal.
There are lots of great WordPress backup plugins like UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy. These can help you fully automate the WordPress backup process.
However, sometimes your backup solution suddenly stops working without you noticing.
Every now and then you have to manually run your backup plugin to take a full backup of your website. After running the backup, check that your backup files are properly stored in a remote location of your choice (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).
3. Check and update all WordPress files
WordPress has a built-in system for managing updates for WordPress core, plugins and themes. You should always update WordPress to use the latest version and keep all plugins and themes updated.
Even so, there are a few situations where you may miss an update. For example, if the license of a premium plugin or theme expires, it may not be able to check for an update.
Go to the WordPress Updates page to manually check for updates. Check all installed plugins and themes to make sure they are running the latest version. If it doesn't, you need to document a reason why you choose not to upgrade.
4. Review and delete spam comments
Many website owners use Akismet to combat comment spam in WordPress. Spam is automatically kept off your comment moderation queue.
However, sometimes Akismet marks a legitimate comment as spam. Every now and then you need to take a quick look at the spam comments to make sure there are no real comments that are incorrectly marked as spam.
Once you are done, you can safely delete all spam comments from your website. When you have thousands of spam comments, it is best to batch delete all of the spam comments in WordPress.
This doesn't necessarily improve performance, but it does make sure you don't miss any real comments.
5. Test all of your WordPress forms
WordPress Form Builder plugins like WPForms make it easy to create beautiful forms on your website.
However, due to a misconfiguration on your WordPress hosting server or email service provider, sometimes these forms can suddenly stop sending emails.
You need to check all the forms on your website to make sure they are working properly. If a form isn't working, check out our guide on how to fix WordPress won't send emails.
As a best practice, we recommend using the WP Mail SMTP plugin as it has email logging and will notify you when an email cannot be sent.
6. Optimize your WordPress database
WordPress stores most of the data in your WordPress database. It contains all of your content, comments, users and settings.
Over time, your database may accumulate a lot of unnecessary data. This increases the size of your WordPress backups, which can affect uploading, downloading, and restoring of backups.
By optimizing your WordPress database, you can clean up clutter, defragment tables, and improve database performance.
For step-by-step instructions, check out our guide to optimizing your WordPress database with one click.
7. Run performance tests
Many users optimize their WordPress performance when they first launch their website and then forget about it.
Over time, you will add new content, install new plugins, or maybe even change the theme. All of these elements can affect the performance of your WordPress site.
Faster websites are not only good for the user experience but also improve your SEO rankings. Because of this, you need to regularly do a thorough performance review of your website.
When checking the performance of your website, don't limit yourself to just improving your home page. Also test your most popular content and all major pages.
For best results, follow our step-by-step guide to increasing WordPress speed and performance.
8. Find and fix 404 errors
When a user requests a page that doesn't exist on your website, WordPress will show them a 404 error page.
404 errors that occur because a user entered an address incorrectly are normal and nothing to worry about. However, 404 errors that occur because a page is no longer available are frustrating for users and result in a poor user experience.
If you're new to tracking 404 error pages, check out our guide on how to easily track and redirect 404 error pages in WordPress.
9. Find and fix broken links
As your website grows, you will find that some of the external websites that you linked to in your older articles no longer exist. Some may have moved to new places while others may just disappear.
The broken link problem isn't just limited to external links. You can accidentally add broken images, badly formatted links, or misspelling your own links. This can be frustrating for your visitors and reduce user engagement on your website.
You need to check your website for broken links as part of your WordPress maintenance routine. For instructions, see our guide on Finding and Fixing Broken Links in WordPress.
10. Do a thorough content and SEO review
The next thing you need to include in your regular maintenance tasks is a thorough, in-depth review of your content. This is where the data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics come into play.
Google Analytics shows you where your visitors are from and what they are doing on your website. With this data, you can discover content on your website that has a lot of traffic but your conversion rate is low.
You can use the Search Performance page of Google Search Console to find search terms that show your website in results. You can sort it to show keywords that your website can easily rank higher on by updating these articles.
If you're using all-in-one SEO, you can set a specific keyword as the focus keyword. All in One SEO gives you a real SEO score as well as specific optimization tips.
Even with a great SEO score, you can improve your content even further. Try adding new information, adding images and linking to it from other pages on your website.
For more SEO tips, check out our ultimate step-by-step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.
Pro tip: You can use a tool like SEMRush to run automated website audits. This is what we're using on WPBeginner.
11. Optimize images on your WordPress site
Images take longer to load than text. This means that they will slow down your page loading speed. As you review your website's performance, you will find some images that are too large.
However, you will likely miss these in your less popular articles. If you run a multi-author WordPress site, some of your writers may not be as careful about image size as you are.
You can keep track of the problem by checking your pictures and media library. You can perform this test to find pictures that can be made smaller or pictures that are just too large.
For more information, see our guide on how to save images optimized for the web.
12. Check the WordPress security logs
Some WordPress users don't realize their website is being attacked until it slows down or their search rankings drop.
We have already mentioned some safety precautions, e.g. B. Changing passwords and making manual backups as a proactive measure. You also need to check your website's access and error logs to see if there is any unusual activity on your website.
Another great option is adding a security clearance plugin to your site.
We also recommend using sucuri. It is a website security company that offers a website firewall to protect your website from common threats.
For a complete security review of your WordPress site, follow the instructions in our step-by-step ultimate WordPress security guide.
13. Troubleshooting maintenance tasks
Most WordPress website maintenance tasks are harmless and will not affect the normal functioning of your website. However, some can slow down your website such as: For example, look for broken links or run an Image Optimizer plug-in.
When you run a staging site, you can perform your maintenance tasks on your staging site and then broadcast them live.
Most WordPress users, however, don't run a staging site. In this case, expect a temporarily slow site and some unexpected errors.
One way to deal with this is to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode. Alternatively, you can perform these tasks during your low-traffic hours.
If you run into a problem, check out our guide on how to fix common WordPress errors. If the error you're seeing isn't listed there, follow the steps in our WordPress troubleshooting guide. It will help you find the problem and come up with a solution.
We hope this article has helped you learn important WordPress maintenance tasks that are regularly performed on your website. You might also want to check out our tips on how to increase your blog traffic and our comparison of the best WordPress page builders to create custom design layouts with no code.
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