If You Have a WordPress Website

by | Aug 25, 2016 | Blog, Communication, Tips

Though it started as a blogging platform, WordPress has nimbly evolved into a powerful website engine that now drives nearly 25% of the sites on the Internet, including some of the most visually compelling eye-candy as well as heavy content and high traffic sites.

WordPress is very, very good, it’s very, very powerful, and it’s highly functional. It can also be very complex.

The WordPress development roadmap releases a major core update quarterly. 

This is roughly equivalent to upgrading the operating system. Just like with your Windows PC or your Apple device, when the OS updates, you get lots of new features, but your older applications may not work efficiently. In a perfect world, each of those applications will release upgrades to keep everything working in harmony. Sometimes they don’t.

Regardless of who developed your site and regardless of where it is hosted, if you didn’t make a provision for ongoing maintenance, your site is not being maintained and updates are not being proactively managed. 

Even managed WordPress hosting plans may not perform a centrally monitored update properly with the way some plugins and themes set licenses.

WordPress 4.6 has just rolled out. What do you need to know?

You need to be aware of the change and we recommend being proactive to keep your site in top working order.

  • Do NOT click on “Update” without assistance.
    • This is a core update and that means “rip and replace”. You need to be aware of how all of your essential plugins and themes interact with the core because a change in the core can affect how a plugin functions. Plugins and themes have been releasing for quite some time with version preparedness for this always big change.
  • Have a plan: What will you do if the update crashes?
    • We recommend making backups of multiple types so that you have options to restore your site. In the worst cases, you can lose access to your WordPress dashboard and it’s a very scary situation when you face the infamous blank white screen.
  • Do your research first. 
    • By the time a core update is released, most theme and plugin developers have anticipated the needs of the clients and will release their own appropriate updates within a short window of time.
    • One of the biggest advantages to WordPress is its broad and very strong community of users. Someone else will ALWAYS have tried something first and you can find their results online. If it works, you’ll find good reviews. If it doesn’t, you’ll usually find specific information about which upgrades to avoid or recommended work-arounds.
    • Before updating WordPress, older plugins should be investigated in their respective WordPress.org support forum to evaluate their health. If problems are noted and there is an obvious effort from the plugin developer to actively be engaged in fixes – then it is reasonable to hold off on the core update and monitor status and hope for a new release of that plugin. But when free plugins appear to be abandoned by their developers for support, then it might be necessary to do some research on alternative plugins that will be written in compatible code to new core.
  • Why should you update regularly?
    • The Internet is not a static place to store your website. It is constantly changing. Technology changes and security risks are constant. Every time a browser adds features, it affects the way your website is viewed. Every time a hacker figures out a way into a site, the internet community responds with new security measures. If you don’t keep your WordPress site updated and maintained, you are vulnerable to new security risks and you may even suffer accessibility issues for your site.
  • Why do you need to be proactive with your maintenance and upgrades?
    • The newest versions of browsers may not display older sites accurately and may deny the functionality you have carefully built into your site.
    • Site speed can be adversely affected by out of date files, uncleared caches, etc.
    • Vulnerable sites can be hacked and lost.
    • Many shared hosting services like GoDaddy or BlueHost will eventually force WordPress core updates to protect their own systems and other sites on the shared servers. A forced update is the worst possible scenario for a site owner because you don’t know when it’s coming and you can’t prepare. It can crash your site if themes and plugin updates aren’t managed simultaneously.
    • Unmaintained sites could be flagged and ultimately blacklisted by Google.

If you are managing a site yourself, read this:

The Definitive Guide to WordPress Maintenance

What’s New in WordPress 4.6

If you are not on a maintenance plan and would like to schedule a Full Site One-Time Maintenance Catch Up, contact us now

Starting at $500 depending on the age and condition of your site

We will:

  • Backup your site and provide a link for you to download and archive
  • Assess PHP setting within Dashboard
  • Update WordPress core as required
  • Run a compatibility check on your theme and plugins
  • Update your theme and plugins in accordance with compatibility and current licensing
  • Run a quick restore if anything goes wrong
  • Clear database transients as needed
  • Clear outdated database revisions
  • Assess security of your site
  • Assess page speed of your site and look for changes
  • Ensure image optimization
  • Clear caches from Dashboard
  • Provide detailed analysis and recommendations for replacing non-compliant plugins and themes
  • Review and recommend key functional additions for your site

If you don’t want to worry about updates, we can take care of it for you on a monthly maintenance subscription basis.

  • All software updated
  • Monthly backup with download link emailed to you for convenience
  • One content management assistance session via phone or Skype
  • Plans will take effect for the month following your Full Site Update and are payable in advance

Basic Sites – starting at $250

Advanced Sites – starting at $350

WooCommerce Sites – starting at $400

*Prices subject to change after 2016

Multisite Networks and sites installed on Dedicated or VPS hosting will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Not included:

  • Plugin or theme licensing fees
  • Replacement, redesign, and development to accommodate non-compliant components
  • Catastrophic recovery beyond best practices reinstallation from standard backup
  • Email services

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