6 WordPress Plugin Maintenance Tips You Can’t Ignore
You know the story.
You set up a WordPress site a few months or even years ago with a crystal clear vision of how you wanted your site to look and what you wanted it to do. You found the right theme and started extending the functionality of your site with a few plugins.
Over time, you wanted to add new functionality. You wanted to keep up with other sites in your niche or leverage social media activity and signals, so you added a few more plugins.
We’ve all done it.
But, one day you take a look at your “Installed Plugins” panel and you’re shocked at the list.
Having too many plugins or outdated versions can drastically affect your site’s performance and security.
Today, we want to share our top tips for proper maintenance of your WordPress plugins.
1. Keep WordPress up to date
This one may seem obvious, but it aways surprises us how many support issues we solve where customers are running an outdated version of WordPress. With the one-click update built right into the WordPress dashboard, there’s no excuse for not staying up to date with the latest version.
2. Review your plugins to determine if they’re still necessary
As time goes on, some of the needs for which we originally installed certain plugins may change. Additionally, the issues that some plugins solve become part of the core WordPress package. From time to time, go through your plugins list to determine whether or not you still need all of them. If you installed the latest and greatest Pinterest plugin to keep up with the craze several months ago, only to discover that your content has been pinned three times, it might be time to reassess.
3. Ensure they’re still supported
Many WordPress developers come and go. They may write a plugin to solve their own development needs, place it in the public WordPress repository, and then they move on. Updates aren’t pushed out to keep up with the latest version of WordPress and things may break. If you installed a plugin two years ago and you’ve never seen an update in your “Installed Plugins” panel, it’s a good idea to check the developer’s website to see if they’re still supporting the plugin.
4. Deactivate and delete unused plugins
If you find that a plugin is no longer needed or an out of date plugin is no longer supported, deactivate and delete the plugin. While this maintenance task has been widely debated in terms of precisely how it affects performance, it will remove a lot of unnecessary files from your WordPress installation and that can’t hurt matters.
5. Update plugins
Again, in most cases, updating a plugin is as simple as logging into WordPress, checking for plugin updates, and clicking. Keeping your plugins up to date is essential to ensuring that your site functions well and it can also help you avoid security vulnerability.
6. Backup your site
Before going through the process of updating your version of WordPress or your active plugins, we always recommend running a backup of your site. We use BackupBuddy from iThemes to backup our site files and databases. It’s also a fantastic tool for moving sites. And if you’re not running regular backups of your site and database, please, please, please get started now! While your hosting company may claim that your data is being backed up at certain intervals, you should be taking control of the process so that you can get back up and running as quickly as possible should issues come up.
What are your recommended plugin maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments section of this blog post!