How to manage your own website?

Your website is built in WordPress which is the most popular platform Content Management System on the market today, due to its ease-of use, flexibility and adaptability and powers 30% of all websites. But due to its popularity, it is targetted and needs to be updated on a regular basis, including WordPress itself, plugins and themes.

The reasons your website needs to be updated regularly is enhanced security, performance, bug fixes and compatibility. Each of these factors are important, but security is number one.  More and more websites are getting hacked, including the big players like Facebook & Twitter as well as millions of small businesses. If you don’t update your website you will be left exposed to hackers.

If you are on one of our website care plans then you can relax knowing we are taking care of everything for you, but if you wanted to manage your website updates yourself, then there is a number of things you can do to ensure keep your website updated and secure and some things that are a little trickier to manage. (We have put these in brackets below!)

1) Keep your Website software updated

by regularly going into your admin dashboard and updating your website software (plugins). We would recommend that you do this at least once a week, ideally every couple of days or immediately after a security update.  You can see your updates top left in your admin dashboard (Easy, but time-consuming & some updates can cause conflicts)

2) Keep up to date with the latest important security threats

by signing up to WPTavern, Sucuri, WordPress who will notify you of the latest threats to your website and new important security updates. This month alone (January 2017) We had 2 big security updates for WordPress (Easy, but time-consuming)

3) Backup your website

Backups of your website are really important!! We can’t stress that enough! As sometimes when you make a Website software update it can cause conflicts and cause errors or your site can go down. This is rare, but it does happen occasionally and difficult to fix if you don’t have a backup. If this happens on our care plans, we revert you to a backup until everything is compatible.  Back up, Back up always!! Using a tool like Vaultpress

Do not chance not having a backup if you care about your website. we have fixed dozens of websites that have come to us from other developers that have been hacked and we usually have to build them again from scratch if there is no backup.

(Purchase required or ignore (not advised if your website is important to you!!!)

4) Keep an eye on your website every few months

To check that everything looks ok and all the functionality, maps, forms are still working, especially after a plugin or Software update. (Easy, but time-consuming)

5) Check your website is online regularly

As sometimes websites can go down due to outdated plugins, security issues, server problems or maintenance. We use Uptime Monitoring notifications and get things back online instantly if we are notified your site is down and update the issue, but you can check manually or use Pingdom. (Easy, but time-consuming and purchase required if you want notifications)

6) Scan your website regularly

And ensure there are no malware or security issues on your website using a tool like Sucuri Malware Scanner (Easy, but time-consuming)

7) Ensure you always use a strong password

One of the most common reasons that websites are compromised are poor passwords. Most hacks are by bulk login attempts that send thousands of login attempts to your admin login, so we hide your backend and use complex passwords, usernames and constantly update the security scripts to protect from new threats. (Easy and done for you already, but be aware when adding new users of bulk login attempts as very common)

8) Updating 3rd party software/plugins

Some 3rd party plugins we use to build your website need to be updated from the 3rd party developer website, so you can’t update these in the admin and we will need to update these for you. We will still need to do these for you if you notice any functionality stops working or are notified of a security issue. (We will need to update these)

To wrap up…

Maintaining your website updates yourself takes longer and could cost you more than you think. If you just update from your WordPress admin, you wouldn’t have a record of what was done if you don’t keep backups Backups are so important, Trust us!!

If an update to a plugin created an error or issue a couple weeks later, it would be difficult to know what changed and how you should revert back without restoring a very old backup and possibly losing content changes and any other recent updates that may be important.

If you keep everything updated and backed up you should always be fine or be able to revert in the case of an emergency.

What if I don’t update my website software/plugins??

By ignoring to update your website, you are just asking for trouble and are more than likely to run into issues sooner rather than later. Your website will be vulnerable to hacks, slow down, be buggy and various features may stop working over time.

Inexperience and neglect can damage the look and functionality of your website. When that happens, you have a choice to make. One, you try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage. Or two, you can then pay the (sometimes hefty) price for someone experienced to fix it. Just like your car, it costs more to fix it than it does to maintain it properly. Regular oil changes help keep your car running properly, regular site maintenance helps keeps your website running properly.

You can certainly do many things to keep your website updated yourself, some things are easy and some more advanced.

As a minimum, we would say to keep a backup and if you run into issues then we can revert back to an earlier state.

We don’t recommend updating yourself, as you can easily run into technical issues when dealing with updates and this is why we recommend being on website care plans. We take care of everything for you.

But if you feel that you want to manage your own website then you can following the steps above.