What is Website Maintenance?

The average website owner does not think about website maintenance.  It is rarely top of mind, and for the most part viewed as either a necessary or unnecessary business expense.  This article discuses what is website maintenance, the risk of not doing maintenance, how often it should be done and what’s included in a maintenance cycle.

A website contains a database and several pieces of software all of which resides on a web server.  Just like the software on your personal computer, it needs to be updated from time to time.  Website maintenance, then, is the practice of updating the software that runs your website, and can include, updating the software that runs on the web server where your website is hosted. Website maintenance can also include looking after the content of the site to ensure that it is up-to-date and presenting correctly across the website.

The software elements on a website that need to be maintained include:

WordPress (WP): A Content Management Systems (CMS) deployed on about 40% of all websites used to build websites and create content to be published on the internet.

Theme: A set of design tools used to create the website design and control how content is displayed.  Themes often come with a library of pre-built designs.

Plugins:  Extend, enhance or add new features or functionality to the website.

Server PHP: Scripting language used to manage dynamic content, databases, and more.

When a website is not maintained it can result in:

  • Increased vulnerability to malware which can affect the site’s functionality or compromise its design
  • Incompatibility between software components (WP, Theme, Plugins, PHP) that need to work harmoniously
  • Reduced page load times (load time is a critical Google Ranking Factor, with a goal of less than 3 seconds)
  • Content missing or becoming unavailable, usually because there was a link to some content, event or a photograph on or off the website that was removed, resulting in a 404 Error Message when the visitor tries to access the content

The website maintenance updates address:

  • The repair of any new issues or bugs identified since the last update
  • Add new features, functions or capabilities
  • Updating PHP
  • And most importantly, website security against malware and other malicious intrusions by closing backdoor pathways that malware can penetrate and harm the website or database