The Ultimate WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

With new updates and features rolling out for WordPress constantly. However, like any other website, a WordPress site requires regular maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly and stays up-to-date. This article will delve into the essential WordPress Website Maintenance tasks you need to perform to keep your site in tip-top shape.

Why is WordPress Website Maintenance Important?

Maintaining your WordPress website is crucial for its smooth operation and long-term success. It’s not just important; it’s essential. Think of it as a non-negotiable task, much like regular car servicing, where consistent upkeep is the key to preventing significant issues down the road. Therefore, you must prioritize preventive care to avoid significant problems and ensure your website functions flawlessly.

WordPress website maintenance encompasses a comprehensive array of vital tasks that play a pivotal role in the overall well-being of your site. By diligently tending to these tasks, you don’t just ensure that your website operates efficiently; you guarantee it. Your site will remain secure and offer an unparalleled user experience.

One fundamental aspect of website maintenance is keeping your WordPress software, themes, and plugins up to date. This is not merely recommended; it’s mandatory. It’s not about staying current; it’s about functioning flawlessly. By updating these components, you ensure that your site’s features keep up with the times and work perfectly.

Moreover, optimizing your website’s performance is not an option; it’s a necessity. It’s not just about making your site fast; it’s about making it lightning-fast. It’s not about ensuring accessibility; it’s about guaranteeing it for every single visitor.

And let’s not forget about the cornerstone of website maintenance—security and regular backups. This is not just a good practice; it’s a lifeline for your site’s data. It’s not about making it secure; it’s about making it impenetrable. It’s not about being prepared; it’s about safeguarding your assets. In summary, website maintenance is not merely a good idea; it’s a mission-critical task in running a successful website. Neglecting it is not an option—a risk you can’t afford to take. So, invest unwavering attention, time, and effort into regular maintenance because confidence in the success of your website demands nothing less.

Resource: Design Rush: What is Website Maintenance?

Comprehensive WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist for 2023

Here is a thorough checklist to guide you through the crucial WordPress Website Maintenance tasks:

The Five Most Important WordPress Maintenance Items:

  1. Creating Regular Backups: Protecting your website from data loss due to hacking or unforeseen incidents is crucial. To ensure your website’s safety, it is essential to have a proper backup system in place. Regularly backing up your site prevents the hassle of starting from scratch in case of data loss. You can use plugins or your website host’s backup service to schedule backups at regular intervals.
  2. Regular Security and Malware Scans: WordPress’s popularity makes many websites vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Regular security and malware scans on your website are crucial to prevent malicious attacks. You can utilize security plugins such as Wordfence or Sucuri to perform these scans and remove any identified malware, which will help keep your website safe.
  3. Updating Themes and Plugins: Updating all themes and plugins to the latest versions is crucial for maintaining website security.
  4. Checking for Broken Links and 404 Errors: Broken links and 404 errors can adversely affect your site’s user experience and SEO. Use tools to identify and fix these issues promptly.
  5. Monitoring Uptime and Downtime: Monitoring your site’s uptime and downtime helps identify issues affecting your site’s performance. Use monitoring tools to get real-time alerts.

1. Regular Backups

As a WordPress website owner, your top priority should be ensuring the safety of your data. Regular backups are a crucial step in achieving this goal. Think of them as a reliable insurance policy for your website. They guarantee that your data will remain secure and retrievable despite unforeseen circumstances. In this section, we will explore the importance of regular backups, how to perform them, and the tools available to you to do so.

Why is Regular Backup Crucial?

  1. Disaster Recovery: It doesn’t matter how secure your website is; there is always a risk of unforeseen calamities like hacking, server crashes, or human errors such as accidental deletion. To ensure a smooth disaster recovery, it is crucial to have a regular backup routine in place. By regularly backing up your website data, you will always have a recent copy of it, making the recovery process much more manageable.
  2. Reduced Downtime: You lose revenue and credibility when your website goes down. With a recent backup, you can swiftly restore your site’s functionality and minimize downtime.
  3. Ease of Migration: Having a recent backup simplifies website migration.

Implementing Regular Backup

  1. Manual Backup: Manual backups involve copying your website files and database and storing them in a safe location. While this method gives you complete control, it can be time-consuming and requires a disciplined routine.
  2. Automated Backup via Plugins: Several WordPress plugins facilitate automated backups at scheduled intervals. Popular plugins like UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, or VaultPress are user-friendly and provide various options for backup schedules and storage solutions.
  3. Hosting Provider Backups: Many hosting providers offer backup services as part of their hosting packages. These backups are generally automated and hassle-free.
  4. Third-party Backup Services: You can also opt for specialized third-party backup services that provide robust backup solutions, including real-time backups, cloud storage, and easy restoration.

Choosing the Right Backup Frequency

The frequency of your backups should align with how often your website content changes. Daily backups are recommended for frequently updated websites, while static websites may only require weekly or bi-weekly backups.

Storage Solutions for Backups

  1. Local Storage: Storing backups on your local machine or a physical external hard drive.
  2. Cloud Storage: Utilizing cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3 ensures your backups are accessible from anywhere.
  3. Remote Server: Storing backups on a remote server is an additional precaution.
  4. Hosting Backups: If you have a WordPress-optimized hosting Plan, your hosting company will save backups.
  5. Cloud Backups: These backups are saved to AWS, Digital Ocean, or Backblaze daily.

Things to consider when using backup solutions

  1. Local Storage: This option is virtually useless if your website or server is hacked or deleted.
  2. Cloud Storage: You will have to configure these backups, pay for all the storage at a premium, and won’t quickly recover your site from the set of files without a developer’s help.
  3. Remote Server: You will pay for two servers and manually migrate the site.
  4. Hosting Backups: Most hosting companies only keep 30-day backups. But they allow easy restoration.

Restoration: Bringing Your Site Back to Life

A backup is one part of the equation; knowing how to restore your website from a backup is the other. Ensure you familiarize yourself with the restoration process, whether manual or through a plugin—test restorations to ensure that your backups are functional and the restoration process is seamless.

Regular backup is a quintessential aspect of WordPress Website Maintenance that shields your website from many pitfalls. By investing a little time and effort in setting up a reliable backup routine, you safeguard your website’s data and gain peace of mind. Remember, in the digital world, it’s not a question of if but when you’ll need a backup. Hence, it’s prudent to stay prepared with regular backups.

2. Run a Security and Malware Scan

With cyber threats lurking around every corner, ensuring your WordPress website is free from vulnerabilities is non-negotiable. One of the fundamental steps in achieving this is to run regular security and malware scans. This segment explores the importance of security and malware scans, how to conduct them, and the tools available to aid in this crucial task.

The most important aspect of website maintenance is website security. A compromised website can cause more damage than other issues related to website maintenance. A compromised site can cause a loss of sales, damage reputation, and harm SEO efforts if added to Google’s blocklist.

Proactive website security, vulnerability detection, and management are necessary to keep your site safe. Proactive strategies improve the ability to maintain customer trust, prevent financial losses, and maintain a solid reputation online. Site owners who care about security need security evaluations to identify and address vulnerabilities. Implement tools that monitor security threats in real-time, enabling immediate response to any breaches or suspicious activities.

Why are running security and malware scans needed?

  1. Early Detection of Threats: Regular scans help detect malware and other security threats early. Early detection allows for prompt action, minimizing potential damage.
  2. Maintaining a Clean Website: A malware-infected website can be blacklisted by search engines, leading to a drastic fall in search rankings. Regular scans help in maintaining a clean, malware-free website.
  3. Building Trust: When users know your site is secure, they trust it, which is crucial for user retention and engagement.
  4. Legal Compliance and Data Protection: Ensuring your website is malware-free is part of complying with various data protection laws and regulations.

Conducting Security and Malware Scans

  1. Manual Scans: While it’s possible to conduct manual scans by checking the core files for changes or unfamiliar files, this method is time-consuming and requires a good understanding of WordPress architecture.
  2. Automated Scans via Plugins: Utilizing plugins for security and malware scans is more efficient and user-friendly. Plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, or iThemes Security can automate the scanning process, making it easy to run regular scans.
  3. Professional Security Services: An option is to involve professional security services to scan and assess your website’s security thoroughly. These services offer comprehensive scans and actionable insights to bolster your website’s security.

Setting Up a Security Monitoring System

  1. Regular Scans: Schedule regular scans using security plugins to monitor your website for security threats continuously.
  2. Real-Time Monitoring: Some advanced security plugins and services offer real-time monitoring, providing instant alerts for suspicious activity on your website.
  3. Firewall Configuration: Configuring a firewall adds a layer of security by blocking malicious traffic to your website.
  4. Login Protection: To safeguard against brute-force attacks, implement login protection measures such as captcha verification, two-factor authentication, and limiting login attempts.

Related: Ten things you should do right now to protect your WordPress website

Choosing the Right Security Tools

  1. Security Plugins: WordPress offers a plethora of security plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, iThemes Security, etc., that provide a suite of security features, including malware scanning, firewall configuration, and login protection.
  2. External Security Services: External security services like SiteLock or Sucuri’s professional services offer comprehensive security solutions, including regular scans, malware removal, and DDoS protection.

The Restoration Process

If malware is detected on your website, having a clean backup and understanding the restoration process is crucial. Utilize your backup to restore your website to a clean state and seek professional assistance to remove malicious code and bolster your site’s security.

3. Update Themes and Plugins

Keeping your WordPress website updated is crucial, and one of the most critical maintenance steps is updating its themes and plugins. Since WordPress is a dynamic platform, it keeps evolving, and new updates to its core, themes, and plugins are frequently released to improve functionality, fix bugs, and patch security vulnerabilities. Therefore, keeping your themes and plugins updated is essential to ensure your website’s smooth functioning and security. In this segment, we will discuss the importance of updating themes and plugins, the process, and the tools available to streamline this process.

Importance of Updating Themes and Plugins

  1. Security Enhancements: One primary reason for updates is to patch security vulnerabilities. Updating your themes and plugins protects your website against known security threats.
  2. Bug Fixes: Developers regularly release updates to fix bugs and issues. Updating ensures your website functions smoothly without any glitches.
  3. New Features and Improvements: Updates often introduce or improve new features, enhancing website functionality and user experience.
  4. Compatibility: Updating your themes and plugins maintains compatibility with the latest WordPress core.
  5. Performance Optimization: Updated versions of themes and plugins often come with optimizations that can improve the speed and performance of your website.
  6. SEO Benefits: An updated, bug-free website with the latest features can contribute to better SEO rankings.

How to Update Themes and Plugins

  1. Manual Updates: You can manually update themes and plugins via the WordPress dashboard by navigating to Dashboard > Updates.
  2. Automatic Updates: WordPress allows for automatic updates of themes and plugins. You can enable automatic updates on a per-plugin or per-theme basis.
  3. Bulk Updates: If you have multiple updates, you can use the bulk update feature to update all themes and plugins in one go.
  4. Using Management Tools: Tools like BlogVault allow you to manage updates for multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard.
  5. Hosting Add-ons: Some hosting companies, such as Cloudways’ Safe Updates, Flywheel’s Managed Plugin Updates, and WP Engines’ Smart Plugin Manager, offer add-on products to your hosting subscription that automatically update your plugins.

Risks to consider when Updating Themes and Plugins yourself

1. Manual Updates:
  • Overwriting Customizations: If you have customized your themes or plugins, a manual update could overwrite these customizations.
  • Breaking Changes: Updates may come with breaking changes that could disrupt your website’s functionality.
  • Missed Updates: Manual updates require a keen eye on update notifications, which can be missed, leaving your site vulnerable.

A professional WordPress developer can ensure updates without overwriting customizations and handle breaking changes for a secure and functional site.

2. Automatic Updates:
  • Unexpected Conflicts: Automatic updates can cause conflicts between themes, plugins, and the WordPress core.
  • No Prior Testing: With automatic updates, there is no opportunity to test updates in a staging environment, risking potential errors on the live site.

A developer can manage updates, ensuring they are tested in a staging environment to identify and fix conflicts before they reach the live site.

3. Bulk Updates:
  • Cumulative Conflicts: Updating multiple items at once can lead to a cascade of conflicts that can be hard to troubleshoot.
  • Potential Overwhelm: The sheer volume of updates could overwhelm the server, leading to downtime.

Bulk updates can be managed systematically by a developer, who can troubleshoot conflicts and ensure the server’s stability.

4. Using Management Tools:
  • Complexity: Management tools add another layer of complexity, which can be daunting for someone not well-versed in such tools.
  • Misconfiguration Risks: Incorrect configuration of management tools can lead to failed updates or even website downtime.

A developer experienced in using management tools can efficiently handle updates, minimizing misconfiguration risks and ensuring website security.

5. Hosting Add-ons:
  • Unexpected Conflicts: Automatic updates can cause conflicts between themes, plugins, and the WordPress core.
  • No Prior Testing: With automatic updates, there is no opportunity to test updates in a staging environment, risking potential errors on the live site.

A developer can manage updates, ensuring they are tested in a staging environment to identify and fix conflicts before they reach the live site.

Precautionary Measures

  1. Backup Before Updating: Always create a website backup before updating to avoid losing data if something goes wrong.
  2. Test in a Staging Environment: Test the updates in a staging environment to ensure they don’t break your website before applying them to the live site.
  3. Check Compatibility: Ensure that the new versions of themes and plugins are compatible with your version of WordPress.
  4. Read Changelogs: Reviewing the changelogs of updates will give you an insight into what has changed, enabling you to make informed decisions.

Tools to Aid in the Update Process

  1. Management Tools: Tools like BlogVault, InfiniteWP, or MainWP can significantly streamline the update process, especially if you manage multiple WordPress websites.
  2. Changelog Viewer Plugins: Plugins like WP Changelog can help you quickly view changelogs of themes and plugins directly from your WordPress dashboard.

It is crucial to keep your WordPress website up-to-date to maintain its security, improve functionality, and offer an excellent user experience. Updating the themes and plugins of your website is essential to achieve these objectives. Consistently updating your website and using the right tools can significantly reduce the risks associated with outdated themes and plugins. This will ensure your WordPress website runs smoothly, remains secure, and stays up-to-date in today’s ever-changing digital world.

4. Checking for Broken Links and 404 Errors

To provide a seamless user experience and maintain a professional image, it is important to ensure that your website is free from broken links and 404 errors. This segment discusses the significance of checking for broken links and 404 errors and the steps and tools available to simplify the process.

Importance of Checking for Broken Links and 404 Errors

  1. User Experience (UX): Encountering broken links and 404 errors can frustrate visitors, potentially leading them to exit your site and seek information elsewhere.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engines like Google take user experience into account when ranking websites. Broken links and 404 errors can negatively impact your SEO rankings.
  3. Professionalism: A website free of broken links and 404 errors reflects professionalism and attention to detail that visitors appreciate.
  4. Site Health: Regular checks for broken links and 404 errors contribute to overall site health, ensuring all pages and resources are accessible as intended.

How to Check for Broken Links and 404 Errors

  1. Manual Checking: Although tedious, navigating your site and clicking on links can help identify broken links and 404 errors.
  2. Utilizing Plugins: Plugins like Broken Link Checker can automate scanning your website for broken links and 404 errors.
  3. Online Tools: Tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider or Google Search Console can help identify broken links and 404 errors on your website.
  4. Hiring Professionals: Engaging professional website maintenance services can ensure thorough checks and fixes for broken links and 404 errors.

Addressing Broken Links and 404 Errors

  1. Fixing or Removing Broken Links: Once identified, fix broken links by updating the URLs or removing links that are no longer relevant.
  2. Creating Custom 404 Pages: Design a custom 404 page with a friendly message and links to important pages on your site to help visitors find what they are looking for.
  3. Redirecting Old URLs: If pages have been moved or deleted, set up redirects to guide visitors to the correct or relevant pages.
  4. Regular Monitoring: Make checking for broken links and 404 errors a part of your regular website maintenance routine to catch and fix issues promptly.

Tools to Aid in Addressing Broken Links and 404 Errors

  1. Broken Link Checker Plugin: This plugin can scan your website and notify you of any broken links and 404 errors.
  2. Redirection Plugin: Use the Redirection plugin to set up and manage redirects on your WordPress website quickly.
  3. Google Search Console: Google Search Console can provide valuable insights into broken links and 404 errors, helping you address them to improve your site’s SEO.


Maintaining a WordPress website involves checking for broken links and 404 errors, which can significantly impact the user experience and SEO. By adopting a systematic approach to identify and address these issues, you can enhance the user experience and contribute to your website’s overall health and professionalism. You can tackle this task manually, use plugins, or engage professional services. Regardless of your chosen approach, regular monitoring and prompt action will ensure that your website remains accessible, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized.

5. Monitor Uptime and Downtime

Ensuring your website’s availability is crucial for your business’s success and visibility. Monitoring the uptime and downtime of your WordPress website is an essential aspect of website maintenance. It helps to ensure that your website is accessible to users and performing at its best. In this segment, we will explore the significance of monitoring uptime and downtime, the various methods available, and the tools to make this task easier.

Importance of Monitoring Uptime and Downtime

  1. User Experience: Consistent uptime ensures that users can access your website whenever necessary, which is crucial for a good user experience.
  2. Business Reputation: Frequent downtimes can tarnish your business’s reputation as it may portray a lack of reliability to your visitors.
  3. SEO Rankings: Search engines favor websites with high uptime. Downtime can negatively impact your site’s SEO rankings.
  4. Revenue Implications: Especially for e-commerce sites, downtime directly translates to lost sales and revenue.

How to Monitor Uptime and Downtime

  1. Manual Monitoring: Though not efficient, manual monitoring by frequently checking your website’s availability can provide some insight into its uptime and downtime.
  2. Utilizing Plugins: WordPress plugins like Jetpack offer downtime monitoring features.
  3. Uptime Monitoring Services: Specialized uptime monitoring services like Uptime Robot or Pingdom can provide real-time insights into your website’s uptime and downtime
  4. Hosting Provider Monitoring: Some hosting providers offer uptime monitoring features as part of their hosting packages.

Responding to Downtime

  1. Investigate the Cause: Understanding the cause of downtime, whether server issues, a faulty plugin, or a cyber-attack, is crucial for preventing future occurrences.
  2. Communicate with Your Hosting Provider: If the downtime is due to server issues, contact your hosting provider to resolve the issue.
  3. Remove or Replace Faulty Elements: If a plugin or theme is causing the downtime, remove or replace the faulty elements.
  4. Enhance Security Measures: In case of a cyber-attack, enhance security measures to prevent future attacks.

Tools to Aid in Monitoring Uptime and Downtime

  1. Uptime Robot: Uptime Robot offers free uptime monitoring and provides alerts via email, SMS, or Twitter.
  2. Pingdom: Pingdom provides detailed uptime and performance monitoring with real-time alerts.
  3. Google Cloud Monitoring: Google Cloud Monitoring offers uptime checks and real-time incident reporting.
  4. Jetpack: Jetpack’s downtime monitoring feature sends instant notifications whenever your site goes down.


Maintaining your WordPress website is crucial for retaining a positive user experience, improving SEO ranking, and building a solid business reputation. By using the right tools and practices, you can ensure that your website is accessible and performing optimally, which will satisfy your visitors and help you achieve your online business goals. Whether you prefer to do manual checks, use plugins, or take advantage of specialized monitoring services, keeping a close eye on your website’s uptime and downtime is a proactive way to manage your online presence.

Other Important Items:

  1. Optimize Website Speed: Slow website speed can lead to higher bounce rates. Optimize your site’s speed by compressing images, minimizing HTTP requests, and using caching solutions.
  2. Database Optimization: Regular database optimization helps remove overhead and optimize the database performance. Utilize plugins that can help you optimize your database with ease.
  3. Responsive Design Check: Ensure your site is responsive and renders well on various devices and screen sizes.
  4. Content Updates: Keep your content fresh and updated to continue providing value to your audience and improving your SEO.
  5. Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor your site’s performance to identify areas that need improvement.
  6. Legal Compliance: Ensure your website complies with the latest legal regulations to avoid legal issues.
  7. Comment Moderation and Spam Cleaning Regularly moderating comments and cleaning spam keeps your site professional and user-friendly.
  8. SEO Optimization: Regular SEO audits and optimizations are crucial for maintaining and improving your site’s visibility on search engines.

The Takeaway

Proper WordPress website maintenance is required to keep it secure, user-friendly, and competitive in the digital domain. By adhering to this all-inclusive checklist, you can take the necessary steps to guarantee that your WordPress website continues to be a sturdy and dependable platform for your visitors.

The key to effective WordPress Website Maintenance lies in consistency and being proactive rather than reactive. So, get started on this maintenance checklist today, and keep your WordPress site in pristine condition for the years to come.

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With a decade-long track record, we have consistently delivered the maintenance and support necessary for our clients to achieve unparalleled online success. Our commitment to providing top-notch support, unwavering dedication, and unmatched expertise in WordPress sets us apart in the Orlando area. We genuinely care about your goals, considering ourselves an extension of your team. Your success is our success, and we strive to go above and beyond to ensure you reach your desired outcomes.

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