Reasons Why WordPress Maintenance is Important
Managing and maintaining a WordPress website is time-consuming and somewhat tedious. As with any anything else you own it requires care and maintenance. Take your car or home for example. You must maintain them consistently or one day you will have a very large repair bill. Routine care and maintenance is the key to keeping your car running smoothly, your home from major repairs and your website from hackers. If you neglect the maintenance of your WordPress website it will result in an adverse impact on your customers, security, and overall performance.
WordPress powers approximately 35% of ALL sites online. That being said, imagine if you were a hacker. If you were able to figure out how to hack just one WordPress website, how many more would be at your mercy? Because WordPress is the number one CMS (content management system) used online it stands to reason that hackers, data thieves, and others target it regularly. If you want to keep your website safe then you will need to perform regular WordPress updates and maintenance or have someone do it for you. While security is the most important reason to keep your website up-to-date, you will also enjoy better performance, new features, improvements and peace of mind.
WordPress updates their core files on a very regular basis for improvements, vulnerabilities, and security. However, as vigilant as WordPress is in protecting the core files, unfortunately, website owners are not. A recent report states that when it comes to out-of-date software, a common place that hackers start, the report found that WordPress installations were out-of-date 55% of the time. If you are not keeping your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins up-to-date then you could wake up one morning to your site having been hacked.
As of March 2016, Google reported that over 50 million website users were greeted with some form of warning that websites visited were either trying to steal information or install malicious software. In March 2015, that number was 17 million. Google currently blacklists close to ~20,000 websites a week for malware and another 50,000 a week for phishing. ~ Securi
Early this year, February 2017, approximately 1.5 million WordPress websites were hacked or defaced because of a vulnerability that affected the WordPress REST API which had been added and enabled by default on WordPress 4.7.0. As a casual user, you may not have known about this and could have been victim to this vulnerability. This is just one reason why WordPress updates are so important – including themes and plugins. When your WordPress website is updated regularly, you are far less likely to become a victim of hackers because your site will be patched from known vulnerabilities.
Most hosting companies are very good at having redundant systems in place, in case a server was to crash for any reason. Most hosting companies store several local copies of data and replicate the information to a Disaster Recovery site. Any real loss of data would be because of very poor planning on your hosts part like only having a single data center and then a catastrophe like a fire, flood, or hurricane hit and took the data center down. A more likely event would be due to a server software issue or customer network issue that impedes the proper write on the initial save. While server failure is not a probable event, it is possible. Backups can help recover from these situations. This is also a very good reason to use a well-known host as an additional security measure. We recommend SiteGound for quality WordPress hosting.
In today’s environment speed is very important, not just for your visitors but for search engine rankings as well. Updates will often help improve the performance of your site, making it run quicker and more efficient. There are actually a number of things that affect the speed of your website but performance overall with be helped by keeping your website up-to-date.
Compatibility is more about your plugins than your core WordPress files. Plugin developers have access to WordPress update files before they are released to the public. This allows them to adjust their code if necessary to ensure compatibility with WordPress updates. There is rarely a situation to use a plugin that has not been updated to be compatible with the current version of WordPress.
The Downside of WordPress Updates
Unless you have setup WordPress to not automatically update there are some instances where your site may not run correctly or even break because your current WordPress plugins or themes are affected or perhaps not compatible with the changes just made by the update. This is one reason you should have multiple, current backups available in case you need to restore your site to the condition it was in before the update. Our secure backup service is available as part of one of our recommended WordPress Maintenance Plans or you can purchase the WordPress Backup service by itself.
Should You Do the WordPress Upgrade Yourself?
Many website owners will simply let WordPress update itself. It seems like the easiest thing to do. WordPress originally began the automatic updates for improved security and to make the update experience more easier and more efficient. However, hackers, data thieves, and others are just waiting to discover vulnerabilities in your site, in any WordPress site actually. They look for vulnerabilities, outdated code, or other known issues in your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. As mentioned above, sometimes things can (and will) go wrong after the update has completed. If an error occurs or the site breaks altogether if you have a backup you can at leat get back to where you were before the update. But in order to really be updated and secure you may need to know a bit (or a lot) about HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress coding conventions and more. If not, it may be necessary to seek professional help. If this happens to you can contact us for our WordPress support option or better yet you could simply sign up for one of our WordPress Maintenance Plans and we will take care of everything for you. WP Maintenance Plans employees are well-versed with the upgrade process as well as fixing most issues. Having a company like WP Maintenance Plans taking care of your website gives you a peace of mind that you don’t have otherwise.
One thing to remember is that plugins and themes are not automatically updated. You will be informed of these updates in your WordPress dashboard.
Your WordPress site, themes, and plugins need to be updated as soon as possible each time that an update is available. Some updates are simply new features but some are for security patches and without the update, your site will be at risk.
The bottom line is this – You can spend the time running your business AND your website or you can build your business and let a WordPress professional manage your website. While this may sound self-serving we believe that hiring a professional to support your website is the best solution. You are an expert in your business and we are experts in ours. Would you hire us to run your business without knowing everything about it? If not why would you want to manage your website without knowing everything?
If you want a headache free website, take a look at our WordPress Maintenance Plans or contact us. Leave the stress of maintaining and managing your site to us and have peace of mind that your website is up and running correctly all the time.