WordPress requires more ongoing website maintenance than simple HTML websites or many custom web applications. Updates are needed all the time within different areas of the application.
WordPress updates can be broken down into different areas:
- Core WordPress code
- Plugin updates
- Theme updates
- Third party integration updates
- Server upgrades ( PHP 5.6 is dead )
Updating WordPress is easy right? The button says updates available. All you have is click the update button. Right? Yup, that’s the easy part.
What comes next can be where it gets tricky. You can hold your breath and hope nothing breaks. Review your website. Does everything appear to be working properly? Does the site load, do you see any errors? If you see a white screen or fatal PHP errors, what are you going to do?
Contact your host to fix your website? Don’t do this! Front row hosting support are not web developers. They know nothing about your website. From my experiences, front row support does more harm than good. I’ve seen hosting support delete themes, rename plugin directories, often breaking the site more than it already is. This is not how you address debugging and fixing code issues. I talk more about this in a post about keeping current website backups.
WordPress Updates Fail
Updates to WordPress fail sometimes. WordPress applications are combinations of many different pieces of code. There always is a chance that making an update is going to conflict with something else. Because every WordPress setup is unique, there’s a good chance sooner or later some updates will cause problems. Solving these problems takes experience that you won’t find in a user manual. I have been working
Before making WordPress updates, there are a few things to think about.
- Do you have a backup to roll back to?
- Did you review the reason for the code update? Just because there is one available, doesn’t mean you should update it.
- Is the update compatible with the current version of WordPress you are running?
- How about theme compatibility?
Professional WordPress Help
People contact me in a panic because their site no longer functioning after making updates. First thing I ask is if they have a code and database backup. If they do, great, I can most likely have them up and running in a short time. If not, it may be a lot of effort to get the site back on online.
If you’re a small business owner, having your website functional 24/7 is a requirement. Having a professional WordPress developer manage your website can save you a lot of money and frustration.
What you get working with me vs DIY
When I update any WordPress core code, plugins or theme, a full back up of the site is always generated. A copy of the website is made and updates are first applied on the copy site. If after reviewing the website code and updates did not cause any errors or changes in how the website displays, then I apply changes to your live site. Being in a situation where you just crashed your site you don’t have a backup or know what to do to fix it is no fun.
Before I make any updates, I also review the developer’s change log explaining the reasons for the update. Are there new features, bug fixes, or security patches? I won’t always update a plugin or update WordPress core just because a new update is available.
Through my professional experiences, I will make an informed decision if the code needs updated at that time. Whenever you make code changes, you risk creating new problems. Some show up immediately, some take time before you notice.
I offer several different WordPress website maintenance packages to keep your code updated and secure. I also do website retainer packages that include content management and new website development for a specified number of hours per month. Contact me to learn more.