Most of the maintenance on your actual server will be handled by your WordPress host. There are some things that you’ll likely have to do yourself, however, and these basic WordPress server maintenance tasks can improve the performance of your site. Here are some simple ways to keep everything running and secure.
At a maximum of a 72-day interval, change your server administrator password and the passwords of all the accounts on your server. Sometimes, you can ask your webhost to configure a forced password change if you can’t do it yourself.
Like any other file directory—digital or physical—a WordPress file directory will get bloated over time. Go through it now and then and delete any content you don’t need. One way to reduce the amount of clutter on your server is to adopt a cloud storage strategy for elements such as pictures and video.
Unless you’re on a dedicated server, your web host will likely update all the server operating software for you. You’ll have to update your WordPress installation, however. This is a two-step process it can be taken care of through the admin panels.
- Update your WordPress installation
- Update your theme
If you have additional technologies on your server, you may have to update them manually. Remember that some WordPress plug-ins will also have their own, separate updates. Shopping cart plug-ins, for example, are oftentimes updated to improve their security.
Validate Your Code
If you work on the source files for your theme or your install, make sure you validate them after you may any changes. This is just being smart. If you’ve introduced an error into your code, it will be a lot easier to fix it if you check for it right away instead of having to troubleshoot your way back to it later. You can validate the code at several different sites.
These will usually be handled by your webhost. You may want to back up your WordPress installation, however, to make sure that you have a version that you can revert back to if you make changes you didn’t mean to implement on the site.
There are two things, at least, that you’ll need to back up: your database and your WordPress install. These backups can create very large files but, if your site isn’t that big, you probably won’t have any trouble with file sizes. Make sure you ask your webhost who often they backup their servers and get an idea of what’s involved if you have them restore your server. You can come up with an emergency plan better if you know what the recovery process will actually involve.
Make sure to check with your host to see if they have tools available to help you with backup tasks. If you have a commercial WordPress theme, make sure you back it up before you apply any updates. This way, you create the equivalent of a restore point on your computer for your WordPress theme. If the update turns out to be a problem, you’ll be able to reload the old version.
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