As cybersecurity grows more complex, criminals around the world are evolving along with it. Their methods leave you vulnerable and many businesses – small and large – are at risk. Keeping your web properties secure is vital.
To keep up with the ever-changing landscape, the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) constantly enhance its platform experience by regularly releasing updated versions that improve themes, plugins, functionalities, and fix security patches.
With that in mind, it’s your business to make sure that your website is properly maintained, always up-to-date, kept safe, secure, and useful. Without doing so, your site is at risk from hackers, unhappy employees, security loopholes, bugs, server crashes, and other threats.
Why WordPress Maintenance Matters?
A few days ago, a client came to me and said that their hosting provider was threatening to suspend the service because their website had been hacked. My client’s biggest concern was about the negative consequences that the situation might have and the “spam” impact on their business.
Over the years we have done a lot of work for my client but maintaining his website wasn’t one of them.
Put it simply, if your website being offline could hurt your business, you need a reliable partner to make sure that your WordPress web application is maintained properly and work smoothly.
Certainly, the major reason you would want to consider updating your WordPress website regularly is for security. Given it’s such a popular Content Management System it is prone to hacking. Your website can remain vulnerable and unstable if you don’t keep it up to date with releases.
4 out of 5 web applications contained configuration errors such as default settings, standard passwords, error reporting, full path disclosure, and other information leaks that might have value for potential intruders. (Source: PT Security)
Case study: When a hacker destroys your business
But security is not everything. The version updates also address bug fixes, speed optimisation, better compatibility with all plugins and any new features to stay up-to-date with the industry standards.
With an ongoing maintenance, you can be confident your WordPress website follows the latest coding standards and features, and at the same time it is well-optimized for speed, security, and usability. When you run massive online marketing, the sudden spike of traffic won’t crush your server. Your visitors will keep coming back because they will have a pleasing user experience.
If you have an eCommerce website, it is imperative to take maintenance seriously because you can’t afford to make compromises with the security of the user data your website collecting during the buying process.
What if you don’t update WordPress website?
Websites can continue to operate on old WordPress versions and you might not notice any significant inconvenience by skipping one or two version updates for a plugin. That’s for sure.
However, updates can accumulate quickly, and eventually, a critical point will be reached when the issues will become more apparent. You will no longer be able to make big changes to your site. In some cases, newer versions of plugins will not integrate well with older WordPress versions and you may begin to experience bugs on your website (for which you might not be aware).
Eventually, you will reach the point when your website will become more and more vulnerable and exposed to a variety of possible threats such as SQL injections, brute force attacks, malwares.
This is why, regular website maintenance is so crucial for your business.
What a WordPress Maintenance Plan Should Include
When you look for a WordPress maintenance provider, these are the tasks and responsibilities that will guarantee a robust maintenance process:
1. Daily Security Scanning – spot threats before they happen
The biggest issue with software security is that it is virtual. You can’t see the threats. You may not even be aware of how vulnerable your website is until it’s too late.
If you think that hackers do not interested in your website, think twice. Even if you only have a small site, hackers are still interested. Using server resources, sending spam and using a malicious redirect are three of the top things hackers do with both large and small WordPress sites.
A study stated that there is an attack every 39 seconds on average on the web and the non-secure usernames and passwords that are being used give attackers more chance of success.
Case study: Fast & Secure Migration: multiple websites support and development services for a global enterprise
An attack does not always mean something is hacked. For example, we at AirDesigns see thousands of attacks targeted to the websites we protect every day. These attacks are logged and monitored by firewall systems that make sure the attacks won’t be successful.
The daily security scanning helps spot threats before they affect your site. Instant issue alerts mean we can investigate and fix swiftly.
2. GDPR compliant website backups
Regular backups are the most critical thing you can do to make sure you are protected. If you regularly update the content on your WordPress website, you may need a database backup once a week at a minimum and a full monthly backup as well. A quality provider will keep these backups automated and they won’t disrupt the user’s experience during the backup process.
If your site gets hacked, having backups will allow you to restore your site to a point before the hack.
If you have no site backups or way to restore your content, you need a WordPress maintenance plan.
Over the years, we’ve fixed websites after they were compromised, and without backups, it might take days before we rewrite content, upload images, edit settings, install plugins and tweak settings to get the hacked web applications back to its previous state.
That’s why, to reduce the risk to maximum, your business needs backups of your website that are stored in an off-site (separate to your website storage) location.
3. Software Updates
WordPress is software, and as with any software, you’ll need reliable and safe updates of your CMS, its plugins, and themes, without breaking the website or making it inaccessible for the users. After the update, you may need to improve performance, fix bugs and patch security flaws.
Many website owners are worried about doing software updates; mainly because any update can break their website. Others don’t have the time or technical know-how to make sure a site is safe and secure. Some don’t realise the importance of software updates.
If you’re unsure how you will fix your website if a software update goes wrong, you need a WordPress maintenance plan.
The WordPress updates are crucial for the security and stability of your WordPress site. You need to make sure that your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are up to date.
Hackers aren’t getting in due to vulnerabilities in the latest WordPress core software. Rather, most sites get hacked from entirely preventable issues, like not keeping things updated or using insecure passwords.
AirDesigns takes all the stress out of updating. You no longer have to worry about what happens if your theme or a plugin isn’t compatible with a new WordPress update or vice versa.
At a minimum, we update software once a month, but if there are any vital software releases (security and bug fixes), we can also update more frequently. We handle everything, so all updates should go as smoothly as possible – but we have a plan in place if it doesn’t go smoothly.
4. Staging Environment
If it’s not safe to test on your live website, a secure clone of your website is better for testing new updates without causing any potential harm to the live website.
Staging environment is an identical, secure clone of your website placed on another server that has the same hardware, software, and configuration as your live server. The purpose of that environment is to make a thorough testing of your website before releasing the updates and new features to the live website.
Relying on faith and hope when your make the updates directly to the live website will inevitably run the risk of creating a negative perception of the quality of your product, service or website and ultimately result in lost sales, customer dissatisfaction and loss of trust in your business, possible violations of your customer SLAs.
5. Automated Regression Testing
Regular automation testing of your WordPress website that can constantly discover and prevent possible causes of UI (user interface issues that lead to poor user experience) or functional regressions is very important to make sure that your website is performing at its best.
6. Disaster Recovery
With every hour your site is offline, you’re losing visitors, conversions and your search rank. Disaster recovery will get your web application back online fast. Disaster recovery includes restoring your website from a backup, running security scans to check for further issues.
7. A dedicated resource
A dedicated team or an expert who is familiar with your website and you can rely on is what every company needs. A team who has access to all necessary administrative documentation and permissions, and who can assume responsibility for maintaining, and, if necessary, restoring the site, while also responding to on-demand needs in a timely fashion.
While WordPress makes it very easy for general users to update basic content, such as blog posts, events, press releases, or other page content, the time will inevitably come where you’ll need the assistance of a WordPress developer. Eventually, you will want to change something that is a little more behind the scenes, such as refreshing the design, modifying input fields on a page, or a contact form, adding new functionalities, or improving the performance of the website; basically, anything that involves touching or creating source code.
In these cases, you will want to make sure that you have a reliable partner to make these adjustments for you, and this is where a WordPress maintenance plan can make life easier and help advance your web presence.
If you look for long-term development, support, and innovation for your WordPress platform, you need a reliable partner like AirDesigns and WordPress maintenance plan, which will give you the confidence that your web application is taken care of.
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