How Often Should You Maintain Your WordPress Website?

Imagine it’s early Monday morning. You log onto your business’ WordPress site to check for messages or orders that came in over the weekend.

You don’t find the run-of-the-mill spam, comments, or orders. Instead, you discover—to your total horror—that your site has been hacked.

Your customers' personal information has been stolen. Your company’s private pages have been accessed. All of the information you kept private has been laid bare. And, what’s worse, you don’t know who has it, why they want it, and what they’re going to do with that information. Your company’s credibility and your customers' trust has been threatened, perhaps permanently.

Here are two hard-to-swallow truths about what happened. First, data breaches like this are largely preventable. Second, you, as a business owner, may have been complicit in the breach. If you didn’t keep your WordPress site maintained, then you left the front door of your digital storefront wide open.

Negligence Is A Subtle Foe

We're often asked, "Can't you just maintain the site once a year, or once a quarter?" The answer is an emphatic no!

To keep a typical WordPress site protected, software updates should be installed at least weekly. That goes for WordPress Core, plugins, and themes. Security issues can arise at any time, so if you fall behind, your site has an increased chance of being hacked. Backups, uptime monitoring, and security monitoring need to be done on an ongoing basis.

These ongoing tasks ensure your site runs hiccup-free. They also protect your site against malware, brute force login attempts, and other cyber attacks.

Sucuri’s Hacked Website Report 2016 - Q3 analyzed almost 8,000 infected sites. The report found that 74% of the sample study’s infected sites were on the WordPress platform, and 61% of those hacks were caused by out-of-date WordPress software.

Sucuri: % of Out-of-Date CMS at Point of Infection
61% of WordPress sites weren’t updated at the time they were hacked. Graph by Sucuri.

It's simply not enough to do maintenance annually or quarterly.

Surprise! Your Site’s Been Hacked.

Sometimes business owners have to tighten the figurative belt. In their desire to budget more effectively, they cut down on WordPress maintenance plans. Like insurance and other intangible, preventative investments, maintenance seems like a non-necessary line item.

At OptimWise, we've witnessed this mistake firsthand. Clients have opted out of maintenance, only to return a few months later after their sites were hacked or broken down.

The amount of money they had to pay to fix their websites and increase their security was hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars more than an annual WordPress maintenance plan.

Perhaps more disturbing, some hacks can irreparably damage your business. Particularly if you operate in the e-commerce space, your customers rely on you to keep their personal information private. It only takes one data breach for even the most loyal customers to leave you.

The Most Important Maintenance is Preventative

You wouldn’t dine on bacon double cheeseburgers every night and expect your body to be in tip-top shape. You wouldn’t skip oil changes and expect your car's engine to run like new.

Preventative maintenance is not only important, it’s necessary, especially for your business’ website. Ask the experts at OptimWise to maintain your WordPress site, and keep your company’s digital storefront safe. We've been taking care of commercial WordPress sites since 2010. Let us put our years of experience to work for you. Sign up for one of our WordPress Maintenance Plans today!

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6 comments on “How Often Should You Maintain Your WordPress Website?”

  1. I always say, don't mess with your website maintenance. It's well worth the investment. Better to spend more upfront on security and updates and to work with a trusted developer than to have to deal with the mess that a hack can cause.

    1. Quite right, Nick! We've had businesses decline maintenance because they dismiss its value. It's sad, but no surprise, when they return a few months later, after their sites are hacked or broken. The amount of money they had to pay to fix their websites and increase their security was hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars more than an annual WordPress maintenance plan. That maintenance would have likely prevented the hacking, not to mention the other benefits of maintenance!

  2. Nice article with all the needful details. People who are beginner with their websites and who are already having a website but ignore maintenance, It will be really needful for them. Keep writing such things Thank you for this.

  3. A really interesting article, Maintenance is infact very essential even for websites. Like they say a stitch in time saves nine, it's better maintain and monitor the website in a timely manner than to suffer the loss due to ignorance.

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