The Ultimate WordPress Maintenance Checklist for 2024.

Your Essential WordPress Maintenance Checklist

Welcome to the ultimate WordPress maintenance checklist. Keep your WordPress site secure and optimised in 2024 by regularly updating software, implementing robust backups, and using essential security and optimisation plugins. Conduct site audits, monitor performance, and enforce strong user management practices, including role-based access and two-factor authentication.

Securing Your Foundation: Updates and Backups

1. Regular Updates:

Updates introduce not only new features but also patch vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit. Implementing a schedule for automated updates and conducting regular checks keeps your site protected.

2. Strategic Backups:

Use reputable plugins or your hosting provider’s backup solutions to automate backups and store them securely off-site. This proactive approach guarantees that you can restore your site swiftly and minimise downtime in case of emergencies.

3. Version Control:

Implement version control systems such as Git to manage changes to your WordPress site easily. Version control allows you to track changes, work with team members, and revert to previous versions if necessary.

4. Test Environments:

Before applying updates to your live site, test changes in a staging environment. This practice allows you to identify and resolve any potential issues in a controlled setting, preventing disruptions to your live site.

5. Update Notifications:

Configure your WordPress site to send notifications when updates are available. This proactive approach helps you stay informed about new updates and apply them promptly.

6. Documentation and Training:

Maintain comprehensive documentation of your update and backup procedures. Train your team on best practices for maintaining the site, ensuring everyone understands the importance of regular updates and backups.


Defences: Essential Plugins for Security and Optimisation

7. Security Plugins:

These tools offer features such as malware scanning, firewall protection, and real-time threat detection, ensuring your site remains resilient against cyber threats.

  • Wordfence Security: It includes features like live traffic monitoring, country blocking, and brute force attack prevention.
  • Sucuri Security: Offers website firewall protection, malware cleanup, and DDoS mitigation. It also provides continuous monitoring and regular security audits.
  • iThemes (SolidWP) Security: This focuses on strengthening user credentials, securing critical files, and detecting suspicious activity. It offers two-factor authentication, scheduled malware scans, and a powerful brute-force protection feature.

8. Performance Optimisation:

Enhance user experience and SEO performance with optimisation plugins tailored for speed and efficiency.

  • WP Rocket: A powerful caching plugin that improves site speed by creating static HTML files of your website. It offers features like cache preloading, lazy loading of images, and minification of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML.
  • Smush: Automatically compresses and optimises images without losing quality. It helps reduce the load on your server and improves page load times.
  • Yoast SEO: A comprehensive SEO plugin that helps optimise your site for search engines. It offers tools for keyword optimisation, readability analysis, and technical SEO improvements.

9. Content Delivery Network (CDN) Integration:

These services distribute your site’s content across multiple servers worldwide, reducing load times and improving user experience.

  • Cloudflare: Provides CDN services, DDoS protection, and security enhancements. It caches your content at data centres around the world, improving site speed and reliability.
  • MaxCDN (now StackPath): Offers robust CDN services that accelerate content delivery and provide analytics to monitor performance.


Proactive Maintenance: Routine Checks and Performance Monitoring

10. Scheduled Maintenance:

Plan and execute regular maintenance tasks during low-traffic periods to minimise disruption.

  • Maintenance Windows: Schedule maintenance tasks during off-peak hours to reduce the impact on users. Inform users of upcoming maintenance to set expectations and maintain transparency.
  • Cache Management: Regularly clear and optimise your site’s cache to ensure that users receive the most up-to-date content. 

11. Complete Audits:

Conduct regular site audits to identify and rectify potential issues that could impact performance or security. 

  • Plugin and Theme Audit: Regularly review installed plugins and themes to ensure they are updated, compatible, and necessary.
  • Security Vulnerability Assessment: Use security scanning tools to perform comprehensive assessments of your site. 
  • Content Audit: Review all site content for relevance, accuracy, and optimisation. Make sure that media files are compressed and formatted for the web to reduce load times.

12. Real-Time Monitoring:

Implement robust monitoring tools such as Google Analytics to track website performance metrics, uptime/downtime, and user behaviour. 

  • Performance Metrics: Use tools to provide detailed reports on page load times, file sizes, and areas needing optimisation.
  • Uptime Monitoring: Services like UptimeRobot monitor your website’s availability. They send alerts if your site goes down, allowing you to address issues promptly and minimise downtime.
  • User Behaviour Analytics: Use tools like Hotjar to analyse user behaviour on your site. Heatmaps, session recordings, and user feedback surveys provide valuable insights into how visitors interact with your content.


Best Practices for User Management and Access Control

13. Role-Based Access:

Define clear roles and permissions for users based on their responsibilities within your organisation. Limit access to sensitive areas and administrative functions to minimise the risk of unauthorised modifications or data breaches.

14. Strengthen Security with 2FA:

Enhance login security by implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) across your WordPress environment. This additional layer of protection mitigates the risk of compromised credentials and unauthorised access attempts.

15. Regular User Audits:

Conduct regular audits of user accounts and access levels to ensure that only active and authorised users have access to your site.

  • Inactive Accounts: Identify and deactivate accounts that have not been used for a long period of time. If not properly managed, inactive accounts can be a security risk.
  • Access Review: Periodically review and adjust user roles and permissions as needed, especially when users change roles or leave the organisation.

16. ​​Strong Password Policies:

Enforce strong password policies to ensure that secure passwords protect all user accounts.

  • Password Requirements: Implement requirements for password length, complexity, and expiration.
  • Encourage the use of password managers to store and generate strong passwords.

17. Login Attempt Monitoring:

Monitor and limit login attempts to prevent brute force attacks.

  • Login Limitation Plugins: Use plugins like Limit Login Attempts Reloaded or WP Limit Login Attempts to restrict the number of login attempts and block suspicious IP addresses.
  • Failed Login Alerts: Set up alerts for multiple failed login attempts. This helps you identify and respond to potential security threats promptly.


Final Thoughts

You should be looking over your WordPress maintenance checklist often.

Maintaining a website takes a lot more than a few clicks, so if you don’t have the time, we’ve got you covered.


Why Toast Support?

At Toast, we excel in providing WordPress support tailored to meet your every need. Our approach is rooted in a deep understanding of WordPress combined with years of hands-on experience and a dedicated team.

  1. Expertise: Benefit from our deep knowledge and experience in WordPress, ensuring your site receives top-notch support.
  2. Proactive Maintenance: We prioritise preventive measures to keep your site secure and optimized, minimizing disruptions.
  3. Customised Solutions: Tailored services that meet your specific needs, whether it’s plugin management, security enhancements, or performance optimization.
  4. Responsive Support: Dedicated team ready to assist promptly, ensuring your WordPress issues are addressed effectively.
  5. Transparent Communication: Clear, open communication throughout the support process, providing you peace of mind and clarity.

Choose Toast Support for comprehensive support, to cross off your WordPress maintenance checklist, and experience the difference firsthand. Take a look at our range of services and start your cover today.

Lilli Foreman

Lilli Foreman

Lilli works on copy, content, site build and layout at Toast. She helps clients with optimised blogs, on-page SEO and general site work.