In today’s world and after the pandemic, every organization’s or company’s web presence is as important as its physical presence, and its website acts as an online formal representation of business. Weather it is a corporate website or an e-shop there is a big possibility to use the WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS) as, according to research by W3Techs, WordPress is used by 39.5% of all websites, and around 64.1% of all sites with a known content management system.
However, setting up a WordPress website is not a “set it and forget it” project. It needs maintenance to keep it running and tracking the technology’s evolution.
Why a WordPress Maintenance Plan?
Simplicity, Ease of Access and Flexibility are the main axes that lead the WordPress to evolve into the web’s most popular Content Management System. However, this popularity also means that WordPress website owners need to be extra watchful in maintaining their website and all its components to keep it “live” and functional.
As a very well-known superhero stated, “With great power comes great responsibility”, so since WordPress is the Content Management System of the 39.5% of the websites globally, immediately becomes a common target for attackers.
Imagine one day you access your website, and the browser prevents the access as the website is reported as “malicious” or unsafe. Or even worse, attackers take control of your site and deface your site, severely damaging your company’s brand and reputation.
Fortunately, thwarting the majority of these security concerns can be prevented by simply keeping your website up to date.
It is not just the core!
Keeping your website’s WordPress core updated is the first line of defense, but the 90% of WordPress sites use a significant number of plugins by third party vendors that are equally vulnerable to attacks and their update task should be treated with the same manner and frequency as the WordPress core.
A Hosting Plan is Not a WordPress Maintenance Plan
Every website needs hosting, and hosting plans come in all variations to adapt to every budget – from low budget shared hosting, to fully managed dedicated servers. In most cases, these plans come with some level of maintenance and administration from your hosting provider such as routine software patches, and upgrades, or firewall monitoring. However, what is important to understand is that the “maintenance” of the server/hosting environment is a separate set of tasks and a totally different project from the maintenance of your WordPress website. The server’s maintenance is pointed to secure and optimize the server’s side. A secure and updated server does not presuppose a secure website.
Why maintenance should be performed by developers.
Compatibility & User Experience
Apart from security considerations, also consider that most WordPress sites make use of plugins that are developed and maintained by third party vendors. Depending on how vigilant the plugin developer is with their updates, compatibility issues can arise with each new WordPress core update and a quality assurance testing must be performed after each update to ensure that nothing “breaks” and that performance does not get affected in a way that will impact users.
Somebody would say, “No problem, I will restore my latest backup and my website will be fine again!”. Assuming that you have everything, it takes to accomplish such a task, you do it successfully and everything is back to normal. The next question is “And now what? For how long you will leave your website outdated waiting for the plugin’s developer to release an update?” and only the plugin’s vendor knows the answer. An experienced developer could find a way to tackle such a bug in a matter that will not affect the rest of the website, till the plugin’s update is released without rolling back the website.
It is important to mention that the technologies which WordPress uses (such as PHP and MySQL) are also subject to changes. The WordPress team keeps tracking those changes releasing updates that make WordPress compatible with the technologies’ updates. This is another reason that you should update the version of WordPress on your site. For example, if you are running WordPress using an old version of PHP or MySQL, or if they have not installed the proper security patches, then your hosting environment may become incompatible with WordPress and your site may stop running. Or worse, it could continue to run but with a low performance and to a host with back-door security vulnerabilities.
WordPress websites can vary, not only in terms of appearance, but in terms of configuration and functionalities. Most WordPress websites are a combination of third-party plugins, themes, and various configurations achieved using custom code or custom developed plugins. Each WordPress website is typically further customized to meet the unique needs of each customer.
While WordPress makes it very easy for users to update basic content, such as posts or other page content, the time will come where you’ll need a WordPress developer’s touch. Eventually you will want to – or need to – change something that is a little more behind the scenes, such as modifying input fields on a page, or a customization to a theme functionality or a template, basically anything that relies on changing or creating custom code.
Maintenance Plan rather than Emergency Plan
Preventive Maintenance plan is your best “weapon” against any unwanted surprises with your website and to keep it running smoothly. But even with best efforts unanticipated situations may arise and at that time you need a reliable and experienced partner to take care of the “hot potato” and handle the situation as soon as possible. At that time, you should not be in a situation of unsuccessful attempts to reach your partner or – even worse – searching to find a partner while your website is nonfunctional, your visitors are facing problems and your reputation is suffering. At Creative People we provide monthly maintenance plans as known as WordPress Care Packs for any WordPress website, contact us to learn more about our WordPress Care Packs.
Building a website is not only a developer’s project; It needs a lot of contribution and time investment from the owner as well. Considering the investment to set it up and running it; consider the investment to keep it that way.