WordPress Maintenance Plan – Introduction

Over the past few weeks I have been asking you what you wanted as a free information product to help you manage your WordPress site.  If you missed the posts they can be read at What Free WordPress Help Do You Need and Your WordPress Core Problem.

The overwhelming result was detailed instructions on how to do the various maintenance tasks a WordPress site requires.

I’ve been working through the problem and it is pretty big, so to help me break it down into smaller chunks, I am going to publish this as a series of blog posts and videos, then I’m going to package it up as a pdf with worksheets to download as a real information product once I’m done.

In part one of this series I would like to take you through an introduction to WordPress maintenance tasks.  I need as much feedback as possible, please leave comments if I have missed any items you want to know about , also if you are happy with the way the course looks let me know.

WordPress Maintenance An Introduction

This series of blog posts will take you through the various maintenance tasks required to keep your WordPress site running efficiently and securely.  This is a very practical series of posts, I will explain in detail why a maintenance task needs to be performed, how it is performed, I will also show you how to do it via a series of screen cast videos.

Why WordPress Needs So Much Maintenance

You may be asking yourself why WordPress needs so much maintenance?  Why is it constantly changing and why new items are being added.  In short why am I getting this maintenance headache?

WordPress is not a static product.  It is in a state of constant development.  This development is to add new functionality, to fix bugs and to close security loopholes.  This is why the WordPress core files need attention on a regular basis.

Plugins are a big part of WordPress, they offer extensions to the WordPress core functions and solve almost every problem a WordPress site owner may have.  These plugin updates need to be factored into your maintenance plans.

As WordPress develops so themes develop to take advantage of new functionality.  You may find that your theme requires an update, this is yet anther maintenance task you need to consider.

WordPress also suffers because of its popularity.  It is an easy target for hackers.  There are millions of WordPress sites, and many of the site owners are not trained in computer security.  As a result hacks are being made on outdated code, plugins with loop holes etc. Many of the updates and maintenance procedures required are to block loopholes and monitor for attacks.  You need to do this or risk a hacked site and all the pain and embarrassment that causes.  Ask your self this questions

“What would be the implications to my sites readers and customers if I was suddenly pointing to Viagra sites after a hack?”

The rest of this introduction will take you through the various on-going maintenance tasks  required to keep your site up and running.

Backup and Recovery

Backups are a crucial maintenance task of any computer site, not just WordPress, but you would be surprised how many people do not do backups, or do not perform full backups.

The flip side of this coin is that people have taken good backups, but have no idea how to recover the files and sql commands they have archived.

I will teach you the following things in the backup section of this series

  • What to back up
  • How to back it up manually
  • How tO use backup plugins to automate this process
  • Creating a backup schedule
  • How to test backups for efficacy
  • How to recover your archive

WordPress Core Updates

As mentioned, WordPress is not a static system, it is constantly evolving with new updates to add functionally, fix bugs or close security loopholes.  A major maintenance task is the update of the core WordPress system files and database configuration.

In the core updates modules I will take you through:

  • Knowing when to update
  • Manual updates
  • Automatic updates the safe way
  • Fixing a problematic update
  • Rolling back to a previous version

Plugin Updates

Plugins are one of the very best parts of WordPress.  There is a huge active community of developers writing add ons for WordPress so that almost all problems a site owner can have are solved by the installation of  a plugin.

This huge benefit comes with a maintenance overhead. Just like WordPress core files, plugin developers are releasing upgraded functionality, bug fixes and security patches.  This all required maintenance.  If WordPress changes the way their core system works, this needs to be reflected in your plugins too.

In the plugin maintenance section I will take you through

  • Finding out when to update your plugin (hint it’s not only when the plugin tells you to)
  • Manually updating plugins
  • Automatically updating plugins
  • Batch updating plugins
  • Troubleshooting plugin updates
  • Rolling back plugins

Theme Updates

Theme update are probably the least frequent maintenance update you will need to perform.  In this section I will take you through:

  • Finding out when a new version is available
  • Installing your new update
  • Copying any theme changes you have made
  • Rolling back to an old version

Managing Users

If you run a multi user site, you may build up a large number of users, sometimes these users are no longer contributing to your site and as a result they pose a security risk and should be deleted.

I will teach you how to

  • Find inactive users
  • Removing and accrediting their posts to a live users

Managing Security

Security is an overlooked aspect of maintenance by most WordPress site owners.  This is because they don;t have a huge level of experience with IT security.  In this module I will take you through

  • Initial security audit
  • closing the Loopholes
  • On-going security checks.

System Audits

There are two other maintenance tasks I recommend on a less frequent basis and they are plugin audits and database audits.

Plugin Audit

This is a review of your currently installed plugins, can you remove or deactivate any of these items to reduce the overhead on your system?  I will teach you how to:

  • Find unused plugins
  • Deactivation Test
  • Deleting Files

Database Audit

As we add plugins, themes and other add ons to our WordPress site, new database tables are created.  As you database grows so the overhead on your site grows.  A minimal database is the best way to work, I will take you through

  • Auditing your database tables
  • Finding which ones are not required
  • Gracefully arching and removing this unwanted data.

Maintenance Schedules

In the last part of the course I will bring it all together with a maintenance schedule, when to do the various maintenance tasks.

Your Feedback

As you know I am completely open to feedback on this free product I am creating for you.  If I have missed anything please leave a comment and I will add it to the mix.

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