Running & managing a WordPress website is easy and convenient however sometimes it could also turn into a nightmare.
If you have been using a WordPress website for quite a long time already, you probably know what I am talking about.
Have you ever experienced some errors & bugs on your WordPress website out of the blue? You may think that these bugs have occurred without any reason but believe me, every action has a reaction in the world of website development.
The truth is that not everybody faces these bugs & errors on their WordPress websites because they either take all the necessary precautions & actions or they have hired a website developer to take care of their websites.
If you too are willing to put some time into your website maintenance, this blog post can help you.
In this blog post, I have shared 5 tips for you or your website designer to prevent errors on your WordPress website.
#1 Update systematically
We know that a WordPress website runs on several plugins and a theme that requires regular updates.
Not only themes & plugins, but very often you may also see a notification on your WordPress dashboard to update the website to the latest version of WordPress.
Of course, updating the core version of your WordPress CMS, theme or plugins is just a click away but you don’t have to that swiftly.
Updating your plugins or theme could break your website’s features or design. So, don’t just do it without any consideration.
Ideally, you must take a full backup of your website before you upgrade anything on your WordPress website.
In other words, you must have a fully-functional backup of your website just in case you need it to restore it back.
If you don’t have a backup and something gets broken on your website due to the updates done on any plugin or theme, it may create chaos and you will have to hire a web developer to fix the WordPress issues for you.
What’s the best solution here.
Step 1: Take a full backup of your website
Step 2: Update all the required plugins or theme
Step 3: After the updating is done, check your pages or posts randomly to ensure that there are no bugs or errors.
Step 4: If all works as expected, you are done. But if something gets broken, consult a WordPress developer if the error is not severe and can wait until you hire a developer. However, if you see any severe error that could affect the user experience of your website, restore your backup to make your website working again.
#2 Always backup
Taking regular backups of your WordPress website will always help you to face any kind of unforeseen situations. In other words, you must backup your website just in case you need it to be restored.
No matter how secure your website is or how many precautions you take, it may happen sometimes because of your server changes or anything else that your website may stop working as expected.
Therefore, you must always have a fully-functional backup of your website to avoid this chaos.
What all should you backup for your website to be safe?
Well, below are a few essential items that you must have with you as a backup:
- The latest database file, which could be in the SQL format.
- Latest backup of all the files that are located at the root location of your server.
- Latest backup of all the folders such as wp-content, wp-admin, wp-includes, etc.
Just notice that I always mentioned ‘latest’ backup which means whenever you make any changes to your website, you must take the backup. It will ensure that your restored website don’t have any missing information or feature.
How can you learn to backup?
Although it’s not very difficult to learn how to backup your WordPress website you can request your web developer to provide you with a short training for this purpose.
Alternatively, you can also consider installing a plugin such as “UpdraftPlus” which will not only backup your full website automatically but will also enable you to restore the backup within a few hours, when required.
#3 Never edit any file
While it’s true that coding is not rocket science but you shouldn’t try to play with it if you don’t have any programming or coding experience.
In the case of PHP-based websites, even a minor addition or deletion of a single character can put you into a nightmare mode.
I have been contacted by a few webmasters in the past who tried to fix some errors on their websites without having any coding experience but they ended up creating more issues.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Even if you want to take the risk to make changes yourself to any of the files of your WordPress file, just make sure to take a backup of that file first so that you can restore it if required.
Recommended post: 7 Most common errors on a WordPress website and how to fix them
#4 Update WordPress version
The WordPress development team keeps rolling out new patches and encourage you to update your WordPress CMS to its latest version.
Most website owners don’t pay attention to these important notifications and never update their WordPress platform without knowing how critical it could be.
If you don’t know why it’s so important to update your WordPress regularly, here’s the logic.
Whenever the WordPress development team releases a new patch to any of the existing vulnerabilities, they do let everybody know about it. Since this news becomes public, the hackers now know about the vulnerabilities in the previous version and it becomes easier for them to attack & crack the website.
It is therefore important for you to update your WordPress version within 1-2 weeks of its launch.
There is no need to update immediately after the launch because there may be still some minor patches or changes that WordPress may release again within a few days after getting the response from the recent version.
#5 Test site for developers
You may need some new features & functionalities on your website for which you may have to hire a WordPress developer.
Now it’s very important that your developer should work on a staging (test) environment first before making all the changes live.
Working on the live website directly may disrupt some of the existing features or may show some temporary error warnings on your website that can affect the user experience on your site. It is therefore always a good idea to work on the staging website first.
Most website developers do have the necessary arrangements to work on their own test servers before deploying the new changes to their clients’ live servers.