In today’s fast-paced world of web, we only control a small part of what is constantly being updated and changed. Your website is not autonomous as it is part of the world wide web, so it is affected by all the changes that are happening.
Here are a few techie examples:
- SSL is a hosting security item that used to be optional, but now is a requirement for some browsers, and all payment gateways, to even open your website. Without it Chrome will only load a warning page that says the site is insecure. SSL needs to be paid for annually on many servers, so if it expires, your site will not be visable to your customers.
- PHP is a programming language that drives functionality on most modern websites, and all WordPress sites use it. Global PHP is constantly being updated, and if the website does not update to match the current PHP version, functionality will break.
- WordPress is also constantly evolving, which means any website built with a WP frame needs to update its CORE to keep up with the latest programming.
- The theme and plugins are all connected to the site and require maintenance to keep up with all the changes happening on the web.
E-Commerce websites have a whole other level of care required because they are more complex and vulnerable than informational websites. PayPal, for example, is constantly updating their security to fight off hacking threats, and as they do that, the plugins on your website that connect to PayPal will need to be updated to stay compatible. WooCommerce is the most widely used e-commerce plugin for WP websites, and it also is updated several times per year. If there are other special plugins connected to WooCommerce, they need to be updated too. Just hitting the update plugins button is not always a good idea, sometimes updating one plugin before updating other parts of the website can result in a website crash. As just one piece of code that doesn’t match can break the website.
That’s where backups and staging copies come in. To your website working and functioning at its best, we strive to keep all the above problems in check with regular updates, backups, and staging environments in place. When we are caring for your website, this is one of the first things we make sure is working and on a regular basis, so if your website crashes, we can quickly put it back to its state before it broke. Additionally, we can create a staging copy of the website prior to rolling out major updates to ensure it all works, before making it live. That is all stored on the host server, so we require access to keep your website working and backed up. We also need access to the domain – which is sometimes registered in a different place than the website file hosting. We can apply protection to the domain to help with moving the DNS or nameservers if needed.
What does a Website Maintenance Plan do?
A website maintenance plan is like insurance for your website. There are different companies offering this, and the pricing varies, but they generally include the following values:
- Regularly scheduled maintenance on your site.
- Updates for theme, plugins, WP Core, Php, and SSL to preserve integrity of your website.
- Security, backups, spam protection, staging copies, and downtime monitoring.
- Includes monthly reports of how your website is doing.
- Trouble shooting of problems as they come up.
- Sometime plans include hosting, but all will need access to your hosting account.
What web maintenance does not usually include:
- Does not include adding new webpages or new functionality. To change/add to the website is not maintenance, it is new work.
- Does not include writing new content, like creating new blogs or information on the site.
- Nor does it include changes to existing content, like updating images and phone numbers.
- Does not include SEO or advertising services.
- Some companies will add these website editing pieces to your maintenance plan for an additional fee.
Staging is a hidden copy of your website that is used with a temporary domain to view a fully functioning website. When a website needs a lot of updates, or major work, it is best practice to create a staging site to test and solve the problem behind the scenes instead of working directly on the live website.
Backups are an important system to have in place. Unfortunately many websites do not have a regular backup system. Some servers say they offer backups, but only back up one day and if the site’s been down for longer, it will be harder to restore the site. Before doing updates or major work on a website, it is always a good idea to save a backup copy.
Maintenance plans will require access to the WP Admin, host server, and domain of your website. Your techs need this to ensure your website has backups, can make staging sites, and just to access the website files themselves. This is why you need to give access to your web maintenance techs, so they can ensure these preventative systems are in place.
If you opt out of enrolling in a website maintenance plan, you can still get help with your website, but will pay on an hourly basis. It also makes it harder for your techs to work on the website, as outdated websites require more time to troubleshoot, as they could be malfunctioning because the need updates, but just running all the updates at once can also break the site.
If your website has crashed, you will need to find all your hosting credentials for your techs to troubleshoot it on the server and even might need to access your domain registrar. Often it is an emergency for your company to have the website down, so it will cost more to fix due to RUSH charges.
If your website has not been maintained for a long time, there are usually several pieces that will need to be updated or fixed, and we will need to take time to run a full analysis of the website and do trouble shooting to get it all back up to speed. This will take more time than simply addressing the problem itself.
If there is no backup at all, and you dont have credentials to access your host server, it may be impossible to do full recovery of your website.