Managing Your Site

Managing Your Site

There are a number of tasks that you’ll need to perform for your WordPress site, especially if you self-host, either one time or regularly. Here’s a summary of some common things you’ll need to know about and do:

Monitoring Your Site

How do you know if your blog is running? There are a few approaches. WordPress’ own Jetpack plugin offers a regular ping service with email notifications. If you’d like to add smartphone notifications and additional controls, try my Simple Monitor App. A slightly more expensive service is Scout.

For performance monitoring, you can use the New Relic PHP daemon.

Migrating Your WordPress Site

Migrating WordPress remains one of the more frustrating and difficult tasks of a publisher. There are a number of ways to accomplish site migration, but I’ll describe a few here. Also, the more content and media you have on your site, the longer the process will likely take.

When you move a WordPress site, you need to be concerned about several things: 1) the WordPress database, 2) WordPress themes, plugins, media and image files and 3) possible changes to the site URL address. The process is described in detail in the WordPress codex. Here’s a very good tutorial of the process that you need to undertake to move your site.

WordPress has a built in Export tool and there is also an Import plugin. This can be helpful for migrating content but doesn’t address full site moves, migrating media files, et al.

The VaultPress service can be used to take a backup of your site on one server and fully restore (move) the site to a new server. I had an extremely large client site that this did not work well for – but for average-sized sites, this may be the easiest approach. BackupBuddy offers a similar capability.

Duplicator and the All in One WordPress Migration plugin are other solutions.

Managing Backups

The WordPress codex describes the backup process at a high level. If you’re using a managed host, you should check whether or not they provide backup services for you. They should. However, it’s still best practice to have an alternative site backup.

If you want fully managed backup services for WordPress, try VaultPress or BackupBuddy. You can also use the Duplicator plugin to manually backup your site.

If you’re self-hosting WordPress, you’ll need to regularly backup the WordPress MySQL database as well as the file system with the themes, plugins and media files. You may also want to backup your Apache site configuration files. If you’re running your site in the AWS cloud, you can manually build a snapshot of your entire volume. You can also customize a script to schedule snapshots using the AWS API or use a service such as Skeddly.

Database Cleaning

The longer you publish, the more database content you’ll accumulate. It can be useful to cleanup your database from time to time to improve site performance. You can use the WP Optimize plugin to accomplish this.

Checking for Broken Links and Unused Images

As your site ages, links around the web will break, some will disappear – leaving your readers in the lurch and possible lowering your search engine rankings. The Broken Link Checker plugin can help you identify and resolve these issues.

Also, as you edit posts, you’ll leave media files on the site that you don’t need anymore. This will slow down your backups. The Delete Unused Images plugin may assist with this.

You can also use downloadable link checking applications such Screaming Frog or LinkChecker or web-based W3C Link Checker.

WordPress Dashboard Protection

There are regular login attacks on WordPress installations. It’s good practice to use a custom username and complex password for your WordPress administrator account.

It’s also helpful to use a login protection plugin such as WordFence or BruteProtect to reduce login vulnerabilities. If you use WordFence with W3TC, disable its Falcon caching.

Hardening WordPress

The WordPress codex has an excellent guide to securing your WordPress site. If you’re self-hosting, be sure to run their file permission scripts:

find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

You’ll also want to review my guide to securing your instance.

Verify Your Blog for Google Webmaster Tools

To fully manage your site inside Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll need to verify that you own the site. Google offers several ways to do this. The easiest with WordPress may be to add your Google Analytics code to your site either within your theme (if supported) or with a Google Analytics plugin.

The next way is to add a custom Google DNS record. This requires that you understand how to add a CNAME or TXT record at your domain registrar or DNS host.

Please feel free to ask questions or post comments to this guide below. You can also reach me on Twitter @reifman or email me directly. [button link=”/publish-with-wordpress/useful-tips/” size=”medium” variation=”red” textColor=”#ffffff” align=”right”]Continue…[/button]