WordPress Maintenance Tips: Easy Ways to Keep WordPress Running Smoothly
Last updated on Dec 19, 2020
WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System. Used by nearly a quarter of the web, WordPress powers a wide variety of websites and blogs nowadays. You can build eCommerce stores, blogs, corporate sites, portfolio projects, and a lot more with WordPress.
However, to keep your WordPress website in good health, you need to take certain steps every now and then. Over time, WP installations tend to get bloated and this can affect the performance of your website. In this article, we will be discussing some simple WordPress maintenance tips to help you keep your WP site working well.
The biggest and most obvious cause of a WP website not functioning well is related to the number of plugins that are installed.
You should try to keep the number of active plugins to a minimum. The more WP plugins that you add on to a website, the slower it might get in the long run. Of course, this should not hinder you from installing WordPress plugins that you actually need. But on the other hand, try to stay away from the temptation to install plugins simply for the sake of little value that they might provide.
Furthermore, the quality of your WP plugins has a big role to play in the functioning of your website. Opt for WordPress plugins that are in the official repository, or are being sold by reputed developers. Try to avoid WordPress plugins that add too many notices in the Dashboard, or show adverts on the Settings page, and so on.
The next entity that can slow down an otherwise perfect WordPress website is the WP theme in use.
First up, keep your active theme, keep the default WP themes (such as Twenty Seventeen), and delete the rest. Installing several WordPress themes that you do not use is an effective way to clog down your WP site.
Next, make sure the theme in question is coded properly and follows the latest WordPress coding standards. For the free themes in the official repository, the WP theme review team takes care of it for you. However, for any premium WP theme, you will have to do the task yourself. A free solution such as Theme Check can prove useful here.
Basically, the logic here is that there is a good way to code a WP theme, and there is a bad way to do the same thing. The bad way involves multiple recursive function calls, obsolete coding methods, and so on. This can have an effect on your WordPress database and cause too many junk entries. Naturally, this will result in a slow website. If Theme Check shows too many warnings, your WP theme is not worth the trouble. You should consider having your developer fix it, or look for a different theme.
Also, if the WP theme in question requires you to install multiple plugins to work properly, or insists on using a page builder, avoid it altogether.
The database forms the backbone of your WP website. In the absence of your database, the WP site simply cannot function.
Optimizing the WordPress database is necessary for proper speed and health of your site. However, while database optimization in itself sounds like a big deal, it is not at all difficult.
First up, make sure you backup your website. Though every decent web hosting provider nowadays offers multiple backup restores in a single click, so you do not have to worry about it. However it’s always a good idea to create a backup of your website on your own just in case.
Then, make use of a reputed database optimization plugin to handle the rest. WP Optimize is a good choice. Another worthy option is WP Sweep. Both of these plugins can delete unwanted entries from your database, such as auto draft posts, old orphaned metadata, transient fields, and so on.
Regular database optimization can significantly enhance the speed and functioning of your WP site.
Maintenance of any software is incomplete if you do not try to speed it up. For WordPress, a good caching solution needs to be employed in assonance with other measures.
For caching, there are various WP plugins out there that can do the job for you. WP Fastest Cache, WP Super Cache, or even Cache Enabler are good and reputed names in this field. Find more here.
By using a caching plugin, you can enhance the speed and loading times of your website. Plus, since your site will be serving cached copies of its data, calls to database will also be reduced and this can in turn improve the overall health of your WP database.
But caching is just one side of the coin. You also need to ensure certain other measures are taken for WP to function at full speed. While measures such as browser caching, GZip compression and image optimization come under the purview of WordPress speed and not purely maintenance, minification is something we need to discuss here.
A good caching plugin should allow you to take care of the same. Alternatively, you can go the extra mile and use a WP plugin such as Autoptimize. It lets you minify and combine CSS and JS calls so as to save server resources. Plus, it also removes unwanted junk from your pages — emoji functions (assuming you are not using emojis on your site), optimization of Google Fonts (assuming you are loading Google Web Fonts on your site), etc.
Lastly, bear in mind that with plugins such as Autoptimize, you manually need to empty the cache sometimes at regular intervals. Otherwise, your WP backend might appear to be sluggish or, even worse, frozen.
So there you have it, some very easy and obvious measures using which you can optimize and maintain your WordPress site.
Lastly, you should not forget to keep your WP version updated at all times, as newer versions tend to have stability improvements. Plus, if you wish to, then investing in a CDN for the sake of offloading some of the strain on your hosting server is a good idea.
Which WordPress maintenance tips do you make use of? Share them in the comments below!
Sufyan is a contributor to a variety of websites and blogs about technology, Linux, open source, web design, content management systems and web development. Learn more about his works on sufyanism.com