WordPress security and maintenance is a very important part of owning a WordPress site, best implemented through WordPress technical support. While there are plenty of WordPress security best practices and WordPress security tips available online to help small business owners protect their website from hackers and malware, carrying them out can be time consuming and confusing. Every business owner wants to avoid a website crash or worse, being blacklisted by Google for malware or phishing and that requires regular monitoring and maintenance of your WordPress site.

WordPress Security

Thankfully, WordPress core software is very secure and it’s audited on a regular basis by hundreds of developers to ensure that it stays secure. But this isn’t enough; WordPress security requires some work by the website owner in order to eliminate or even just reduce the risk of a security breach. There are several practical steps that can and should be taken on a regular basis to protect your website that can be addressed through ongoing WordPress maintenance.

What is WordPress maintenance?

WordPress maintenance is the act of monitoring and installing WordPress updates for both themes and plugins in order to keep a website running smoothly and securely. When you work with a WordPress support provider, they should be optimizing and repairing your database on a regular basis to help ensure optimal performance and reduce the risk of crashes or security breaches.

WordPress security case study

A Softwired client recently inquired about their website security so we performed an analysis on their website. Here's what our findings turned up:

When the client was onboarded to our support plan, we checked all the plugins at that time. We put in our best effort to make sure all the plugins were being updated and supported for ongoing support. The one challenge that always presents is that we don't have a way to make sure all plugins are still supported and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. 

As part of the client’s WordPress Pro plan, we have a plugin that protects their website from hacking and malware. We also paid for the site to be protected by Sucuri, which scans sites for malware. We added this extra layer of security because their site did get hacked in the past, even though it is fairly rare for our clients.

Because so much time had passed since the initial onboarding process, we looked at all the plugins and did find a few that were not being updated anymore. As plugins get older, some get abandoned and need to be replaced or removed because they end up causing a small security risk. The only way to eliminate this risk is to redesign the site without those plugins or to uninstall plugins that are not necessary for the website to render. For this particular client, we found the following plugins that are no longer supported:

  • Advanced Image Styles – we deactivated this plugin as it isn't needed for the website to render.
  • Extensive VC addons - We were unable to disable because some pages may be using them for the page builder.
  • Fonts for Visual Composer – this plugin seems to be abandoned but could be part of the website so we did not disable.
  • Hide featured image - Abandoned but may be used on some posts so we did not disable.
  • Map categories to pages - Not sure what it does but looks abandoned.
  • Page Excerpt - Abandoned support.
  • WP Add Custom CSS - A developer tool for designing.

Overall, we found 31 active plugins, which is a lot to maintain. Years ago, developers would add plugins like kids in a candy store that would end up causing problems down the road. These days we only design websites with our own curated list of plugins that we know are safe to use.

In addition, two PRO plugins do not have licenses that we are required to purchase in order to update them to the latest version. We only manage PRO licenses as part of our enterprise package, giving more monitoring and proactive prevention that larger companies need.

Because this client’s website had been hacked in the past, we would recommend rebuilding the website with new code. This requires a complete redesign, which is recommended at least every four years. The reason for this is web design trends change, software becomes deprecated, and buyer behavior changes. Having an outdated website will hurt your brand, the ability to generate leads, and interfere with the buyer journey on your website.

Lastly, as a privacy and security consultant, we would recommend developing a cookie policy. This would help bring our client into more compliance with the GDPR. You can learn more about cookie policies here: https://wordpress.com/support/your-site-and-the-gdpr/

Find Quality WordPress Technical Support and High-Performance Hosting

Most small business owners do not know what to do when they receive WordPress notifications, let alone how to update plugins or get their site back online when it crashes. If you want to keep your WordPress site running smoothly, you need to hire an SEO expert who specializes in WordPress support and offers high-performance hosting.

The biggest benefits for our WordPress PRO plan are:

  • proactive maintenance for software
  • Hacker prevention and security
  • High performance hosting
  • Repair and enhanced security for hacked websites

If your business is relying on your website for generating revenue, it is critical to invest in these features to avoid downtime and lost business.

Learn more about how our WordPress Pro Support package can keep your WordPress site running smoothly: https://www.softwiredweb.com/wordpress-pro-support/

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