WordPress website maintenance guide for beginners

If you have bought a car and haven’t maintained it for a long period of time, you will certainly see a drop in its performance. And if you keep neglecting the car, it will eventually break down completely.

The same rule applies to websites. If you can’t maintain your website, you will dissuade people from visiting it. Nobody wants to use a poorly designed website that has broken links, is slow and insecure, cannot submit a form, uses outdated plug-in software, or constantly breaks down.

Fortunately, WordPress sites are easy to maintain. Routinely performing maintenance tasks on your website will ensure that your site is safe, secure, and performing to the best of its ability.

In this article, I’ll cover ten crucial maintenance tasks you should regularly perform on your WordPress website and how to perform them. But first, you’ll need to know how often maintenance needs to be done.

How often should I perform WordPress maintenance tasks?

Typically, WordPress sites that get a lot of traffic require more frequent maintenance than sites with low traffic. The same rule applies to sites with a lot of content versus sites with little content.

To answer your question, you should implement this article’s routine activities every two months if your site gets a lot of traffic and every five months if your site has low traffic and content.

Now that we’ve done it, let’s take a look at the tasks you need to perform to maintain your WordPress site. Feel free to use the links below to jump to each activity section.

1. Open and inspect the website on a browser

You’re probably thinking this should be an obvious thing to do, right? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for WordPress site owners to neglect to test the website on the browser or run a very superficial test.

Most of the work you will do in WordPress happens in the backend. But it is equally important to open your website on a web browser after finishing in the backend to check if it works as expected. By doing this, you are very likely to encounter obvious errors in the user interface.

Here are some crucial tasks to perform while inspecting the website:

  • Scroll through the different pages of the site. Check if all pages are accessible. Find and fix all 404 errors on the site.
  • Check for broken links. Click on the links and make sure they are going to the right destinations. Fix broken links.
  • Check if the site is responsive. Open the website using different devices (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.) and make sure the site looks good on all of them. You can simulate these devices directly in your browser using the built-in developer tools (click F12 to activate it on Google Chrome)
  • Inspect the images. Check that all images on the site are displayed and displayed correctly (use the right size, have alternative texts, etc.)
  • Interact with the UI elements and see if they respond as expected. Test all your WordPress modules, hover over the suggestions, check the drop-down menus to see if they animate properly, and so on.

Basically, go through the website and see if you can spot obvious errors in the user interface.

2. Back up your website regularly

While most hosting providers implement regular backups for customers and do a great job as well, you should also back up your site and have a copy of the backup just for safety.

While it’s not common, it’s still possible for a hosting company to go bankrupt or go bankrupt completely overnight. When that happens, customers are likely to lose their entire website in the process. But if you have a copy of your site, you can easily move it to a new hosting provider without incurring any losses.

UpdraftPlus is a very free WordPress plugin for making regular automatic backups. It allows you to upload your website copy to Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other remote location of your choice. There are many other options to choose from.

3. Change and update your passwords frequently

Poor, easy-to-guess passwords are one of the quickest ways hackers can access your WordPress website.

Here are some essential tips for creating secure passwords:

  • Do not use personal information such as name, birthday or email
  • Make your passwords long
  • Make your passwords as meaningless as possible
  • Avoid using common words
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and characters.
  • Do not repeat passwords

These rules also apply to application passwords for REST APIs.

4. Keep your website up to date

Frequently update plugins, themes, and even WordPress itself.

Each new version of WordPress includes bug fixes, enhancements, and additional features that help with performance. While I don’t recommend always updating to the latest version, as it may still be buggy and unstable, I highly recommend using versions close to the latest version.

Note that a certain version of a plugin or theme may only be compatible with certain versions of WordPress. Therefore, before updating your plugin or theme, always check that the version you are updating to is also compatible with your WordPress configuration.

5. Clean and optimize your database

All content used on your WordPress website is stored within the database. If your database is damaged or filled with accumulated post waste, it will negatively impact the speed and efficiency with which data is retrieved from the database.

Database optimization should be part of the normal maintenance activity. There are serval plugins in WordPress for database optimization. WP Optimize is an all-in-one database cleanup tool that automatically performs cleanup tasks on the database, from deleting corrupted data to deleting the accumulated post trash.

6. Optimize your images for faster page load time

Images are typically one of the heaviest assets on a website. As such, they have a considerable impact on a website’s loading time.

You should always optimize your images to allow your website to load faster. There are several free WordPress plugins for image optimization. Feel free to read our other post on how to optimize images with WP Compress.

The backend of your website should have an audit log tool to record important events that occur in WordPress such as posting a post, replying to a comment, or deleting a table in the database.

Frequently inspecting your logs will allow you to keep track of all changes made to the website. You can spot mistakes made by you or a team member and correct them without your website having downtime.

WordPress doesn’t accept logs by default, but there are several plugins you can install for this, such as Simple History. Once installed, the plugin will start recording any changes that occur on your website and show them on your WordPress dashboard.

8. Activate maintenance mode

To create a pleasant experience for your website users, we recommend that you switch to maintenance mode when doing work on your website.

For example, if you’re working on updating your website theme, it’s best to use maintenance mode to temporarily take the website offline while you or your team are making improvements.

There are several plugins to enable maintenance mode in WordPress. One of them is called WP Maintenance Mode. This plugin allows you to show a nice warning screen informing your visitors that the site is currently under maintenance.

9. Monitor search engine optimization

Unless you want organic traffic, which is very unlikely, you will definitely want to monitor your website’s performance in Google search rankings.

There is no shortage of WordPress plugins in the SEO department, but one of the familiar names is Yeast SEO. This plugin makes positioning your page much easier. Once installed and enabled, it will crawl your content and advise you on how to optimize your pages and posts to make them more visible in search results.

Once a post follows the SEO guidelines provided by Yoast SEO, it will go from a red light to a green light. After that, it’s only a matter of time before your page goes up in the Google search rankings!

10. Perform performance tests regularly

As I said at the beginning of this post, nobody wants to waste time on a slow website. Slow websites are also not good at SEO.

Optimizing your website performance should be a recurring task and not something you only do once. This should happen as long as you add new content, install new plugins, and update the website theme.

For best results, don’t hesitate to read our post on how to increase speed and performance on WordPress sites.


Regular maintenance of your WordPress site is essential if you want users to trust it and keep coming back.

In this article, we have looked at several essential and effective WordPress maintenance tasks for WordPress websites.

To recap briefly, they are as follows:

  1. Open and inspect the website on a browser
  2. Back up your website regularly
  3. Change and update your passwords frequently
  4. Keep your website up to date
  5. Clean and optimize your database
  6. Optimize your images for faster page load time
  7. Install and use an audit log tool
  8. Activate maintenance mode
  9. Monitor search engine optimization
  10. Test regularly

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