The application WordPress has matured a lot in its last 10 years of existence . The rationalization of many processes such as updates, as well as the standardization of many aspects of its functionality, are an effort to make it easier to use and add new functions.
No matter how many automations developed in WordPress management, still it is necessary to take extra measures to ensure that your website is fit in terms of performance and security . In this article I am going to pose some questions and suggest certain improvements that will help you keep your website in good shape.
1. Do you have the WordPress kernel, the plugins and the updated themes?
I'm sure you've heard about this many times before, but it's still question number one when you it's about the safety and performance of a WordPress website.
When I look at the statistics of all of our servers on SiteGround I'm always surprised at how many people maintain the previous versions despite all the comforts that both WordPress and the host offer them to be up to date without any effort. Here are some of the things you could take advantage of:
1.1 Native Updates
You probably remember that as of version 3.7, WordPress introduced a native automatic update feature between the minor versions. This is a great feature that you can take advantage of immediately, and that will keep your web safe forever.
Most minor version updates are full of security patches, so you should not skip them under any circumstances. And if your WordPress is not yet version 3.7 or higher, update as soon as possible so you can benefit from the native changes.
1.2 Managed Hosting Service
Also, some companies from hosting, SiteGround is one of them, offer a managed WordPress service where you receive a WordPress auto-update whenever there is a new version and this also includes updates to major versions . And even some of the hosts, offer the automatic update of plugins when the kernel is auto-updated.
1.3 Check the alerts on the WordPress desktop
Finally, if you're not benefiting from your host's services, on the WordPress desktop you will usually receive alerts about new versions of an active or core plugin. You just have to click and update it.
1.4 Add a configuration line to keep the core updated to major versions
If you want your WordPress to automatically update to the major versions, not just the minor ones, you can put the next line in your file wp-config.php :
define ( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE' true ) ;
1.5 Check before updating
Of course you can have some fears, totally justified, to deconfigure your web when updating it. In this case, I recommend that you make a copy of your website and try it on it first. Again, you can search for hosts that offer a testing environment to make this process uncomplicated .
2. What version of PHP do you have?
Does your WordPress still work with PHP 5.2? Was this version the default value of a million? Years ago, when you installed it?
WordPress has stopped supporting PHP version 5.2 and, in general, it tends to encourage its users to stay in the latest version of PHP. Why? Well, the new versions of PHP work better and are more secure .
PHP 7 incorporating the caching Opcode and the super-performance that it is expected, it will be released very, very soon (the launch options are available on the SiteGround servers and you can easily change it).
It is the biggest change in the PHP code since PHP4 . The latest version of WordPress already supports it. It is a good idea to test how the PHP7 is on your website and update extensions that do not support it, or try to find solutions. Do not leave it.
Updating PHP is not as easy as updating WordPress, however, it is not a reason to neglect it. You can ask your host if he can change the version for you, or if you are too afraid to spoil your website, go through the testing process suggested above.
3. Do you have any plugin or theme disabled?
I would like to draw your attention to this because I have seen too many websites with more than 40 plugins disabled . Keep in mind that even though they are disabled, the files with the code are really there, in your account. This could potentially cause security problems. The same applies to themes.
The conclusion is that if you are not using a plugin, remove it completely from your application. If you have some paid plugins and do not want to remove them, make a local copy of all the paid plugins that you have purchased but are not currently using.
If you are not using a theme, delete it completely of your application. I would recommend leaving the last WordPress theme available by default as fallback, but everything else, to get rid of it.
4. When did you optimize your database for the last time and checked your old post?
The first thing is to clean your database of all the information you do not need. For example, WordPress saves multiple revisions of your posts. That's great, but it fills you with multiple copies of your post, and it implies a considerable increase in the size of the database.
Those revisions will not slow down your website, but it will slow down some processes such as optimizing the database , the creation of backup copies, and possible recoveries of backup copies.
I would like to recommend the plugin " Better Delete Revision " to remove them. It allows you to eliminate all revisions, thus optimizing your database.
On the database optimization itself, you can use a tool like phpMyAdmin or if you have the WP-CLI at your disposal, navigate to the folder your site and write:
Doing this regularly will keep your database in shape!
5. Have you optimized the size of your images?
Images are a huge part of your website and it is a great idea to do everything you can to optimize them. Personally I divide the process in two parts:
5.1 Lower the number of thumbnails
When you upload an image to your website, WordPress automatically creates a few copies of the image and rescales it. The number of thumbnails created depends on the theme.
Currently, there are many themes that provide many layers of different pages, and generate dozens of thumbnails of different sizes. This inflates the number of images in your account and its size. My advice is to review all types of pages, write down the thumbnails you're actually using, and delete the ones you do not use, optimizing the space occupied by the images, and the total number of inodes in your account.
Doing this is relatively simple: first open the file functions.php of your web, and look for the creation part of thumbnails. It should be something like this:
add_image_size ( 'thumbnail-name' 255 , 191 true ) ;
Comment only on the lines responsible for the sizes you do not need. Once that's done, you need to regenerate the thumbnails. I recommend you use the plugin Regenerate thumbnails . Keep in mind that it can take hours to regenerate them all, so make sure you do not miss any, and try not to do so during the busiest hours of your website in terms of traffic.
5.2 Optimize existing images
the smaller the size of the image, the faster the page load!
Another favorite add-on that I now add to all my websites and all the ones I work on is EWWW Image Optimizer . Optimizes without loss of quality all the images you upload to your website, and has a great button " Optimize all " to do it directly.
Basically, the plugin reduces the size of your images without diminishing their quality . Great results guaranteed!
6. How fast is your website? What speed of loading do you have?
In general, the speed of your website suggests what performance optimizations you can get up and running. If your pages are slow to load more than a second and your score in some speed tests I mention in this section is low, start with the previous suggestions to improve it.
Here you have some of the tools that I use it regularly to test the loading speed of the websites I work with:
Every installation of WordPress has a different set of themes, plugins and content, and there is no universal solution or single focus. You need to regularly update your website, test it, and solve any problems that arise n.