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Wouldn’t you hate waking up one morning to find your website hacked, or riddled with some terrible virus? Yeah, I thought so. That would be a really bad day, especially if you don’t have a backup.

In order to avoid hacks and keep your website running properly, it’s important to take care of your site.  The best way to ensure that, if something does go wrong, you don’t lose your website is to keep it backed up. The second essential task for keeping your site safe and secure, is keeping up with upgrades to your WordPress versions, plugins and themes.

Here is the short to-do list:

  1. Backup your website database and files.
  2. Update WordPress and plugins as needed as long as you have backups.
  3. Use strong passwords on your web hosting site to deter hackers.
  4. Don’t use ‘Admin’ for your site’s user name login.

Backing up WordPress:

You can either backup WordPress manually, or you can use a plugin. If you’re doing a manual backup then you will be downloading your files and database to your computer. It’s not particularly difficult to do, but it’s time intensive and you have to remember to do it.

I recommend using a plugin instead. Two plugins that we like to use are ManageWP and Updraft Plus. ManageWP is really easy to set-up and use. If you choose to use the free version, then your website will automatically be backed up once a month and stored on the cloud. If you choose to pay, then you can do a backup everyday and store it on the cloud.

Updraft Plus is also a free plugin and easy to use. You can set up the backups to go directly to the cloud. For instance, you can set up the backups to go to your Dropbox account. You can also set the backups to run automatically so that you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

Updating WordPress:

Updating WordPress is the easy part. The hard part is when something goes wrong. That’s why we always recommend you have a backup of both your database and files before performing an update.

If you have the option to use a staging site, then I recommend always updating the site first on the staging site to see if there are any errors. If there are no errors, then go ahead and make the updates on the live site.

If there are errors, then you can play around with the staging site to find out what the issue is. First, you should deactivate the plugins to see if the error is fixed. If deactivating plugins fixes the error, then you know there is a conflict with one of your plugins. If deactivating plugins doesn’t fix the issue, then try changing the theme to a default WordPress theme. Typically, you can figure out where the error is coming from by either deactivating the plugins or changing the theme.

If you keep your website backed up and updated the chances of your site getting hacked are pretty small. If it does get hacked, then you will always have a backup that you can restore.

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Showing 4 comments
  • judi knight
    Reply

    Hey thanks Alex. I will have to look into that method. I agree. I don't care how people do backups but it is so important to do them and do them regularly and anything that automates the process, makes it more certain that it will get done no matter what.

  • Kathy
    Reply

    Hi Judi,
    How do you handle updating the WordPress version on a live site? Wouldn’t deactivating plug-ins adversely affect the site and visitors that could be accessing it at the time of the update? Do you provide the users with some sort of message that an update is in progress? Do you always handle the updates for your client sites, or do you have any clients that update their own sites? It seems to me it could be quite cumbersome for you to stay connected to all of your clients in that way and have to regularly do their updates, so I am curious as to how you handle this process?
    Thanks!

    • judi knight
      Reply

      Kathy, There are plugins you can use to give a maintenance message to anyone visiting your site during a site upgrade. Most of the time the automatic upgrade takes only a minute or so. It is just really important to have a complete backup first.We do offer backup and upgrade services for certain of our clients for 55.00 per month. We have them on automatic backups, saved to Amazon S3 servers. We go into each of their sites each month and check on upgrades, plugins and performance. Those clients get VIP service.

      • Kathy
        Reply

        Thanks, Judi! I really love the information you provide on this site. You are so helpful!

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