WordPress Maintenance – The Key to a Successful, Healthy Website

Douglas Choate

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems and website platforms overall. It’s estimated to power over 40% of the entire internet. It’s free, user friendly, and open source, making it easily accessible for all. It even has an extensive library of plugins and themes, many of which are free. With all of that said, regular maintenance is essential to ensure websites using it run optimally. 

Why is WordPress Maintenance Important?

Regular maintenance ensures that the website is functioning optimally, which is important for several reasons. We’ll take a look at how it can positively impact security, speed and performance, user experience, and data loss, as well as how often it should be performed.


As one of the most widely-used content management systems, WordPress websites are a frequent target for hackers, bots, and other bad actors. Regular updates to the WordPress core, themes, and plugins help to secure the website from hackers and malware infections. Without regular updates, your website could become vulnerable to attacks, resulting in data theft, downtime, or even complete loss.

Speed and Performance

Common maintenance items like database optimization and image compression help to improve website speed and performance. A slow website can lead to a poor user experience, decreased traffic, and lower search engine rankings. By optimizing the website’s speed and performance, users can experience a better website experience, and the website can receive better search engine rankings.

User Experience

Regular maintenance tasks such as updating themes and plugins helps to ensure a smooth and user-friendly website experience. A poorly maintained website can lead to a decrease in user engagement, a loss of potential customers, and ultimately, lower website revenue.

Data Loss Prevention

Regular backups help to prevent the loss of valuable website data in case of a server crash or other technical issues. A lack of backups can result in irreversible data loss and a loss of credibility for the website. By regularly storing copies of the website both on the hosting side of things as well as in a separate cloud storage, businesses ensure that their website data remains accessible in a worse case event.

What Tasks Are Involved in WordPress Maintenance?

There are several tasks involved in WordPress maintenance, including:

  • Updates to WordPress core, themes, and plugins to ensure the website remains secure and up-to-date
  • Backups of the website’s data to ensure that data is secure and available in case of a server crash or other technical issues
  • Security checks to detect and prevent malware infections or hacking attempts
  • Database optimization to improve website speed and performance
  • SEO optimization tasks such as updating metadata, checking for broken links, and more.

DIY or Hire a Professional?

If you have the time and technical expertise, it’s certainly possible to handle website maintenance on your own accord. However, going with a professional developer can ensure that all maintenance tasks are performed correctly and on time while also minimizing the risk of errors or security issues.

When you see that red notification pop up saying that a plugin or theme is ready to be updated, it can be tempting to update right away. But there’s a few things to do first.

  • Reading the changelog of the plugin/theme/WordPress update
  • Thoroughly testing the update on a staging server to see how it impacts the site
  • Creating a backup
  • Updating the plugin

The first step is to always read the changelog of the plugin/theme. This allows you to identify what the update was related to—for example, any security related patch increases the priority of the update. Other updates might be new features, some of which might not be functional with your existing build, so you might want to hold off.

If you read the changelog and everything looks good, it’s best to update the plugin on a staging server to see if the change has any impact on the rest of the site. 

Taking these steps can help mitigate the risk of damage to a live production site.

How Often Should WordPress Maintenance Be Performed?

WordPress maintenance tasks should be performed regularly to ensure that the website remains secure and efficient. What regularly means is different for every website. A general guideline might be the following:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Monthly

The idea is to update as much as needed given the complexity of the website, how many visitors it receives daily, and how important it is to the vital functioning of the business. For example, an SaaS that receives thousands of visitors per day to their blog is dependent on staying highly functional and secure as revenue is tied directly to the website. Contrast this with a static brochure site that receives one or two small content updates per month, which may be less demanding overall.

No matter how often updates and maintenance are done, the key is to do them regularly, with care, and in a manner that works best according to the website’s and business’s needs.

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