Having your own self-hosted WordPress account is awesome because it means you can try out lots of things and not worry about additional costs, or have to rethink how to do something because your platform doesn’t provide that resource. However, it can be easy to bog down your WordPress set up, which is why it’s a good idea to work through this checklist every so often – every quarter seems like a decent amount of time to tidy up things and make sure it’s all running as it should!
First things first though – make sure you take a complete back up of your site before doing any of these things. Consider looking at a plugin to do this on an automatic basis – the post linked above has a few suggestions but ask around and see what friends are using and can recommend.
Next – run all the updates! Depending on how your WordPress set up was created, it may automatically update the actual platform itself as and when needed, but if you don’t have that enabled, just go to Dashboard > Updates and work down the list. Keeping WordPress and all your plugins updated on a regular basis is a really important thing to do as the new releases may deal with any older weaknesses.
Time to delete! Go to your installed plugins page and delete any that you haven’t used in a while. If you’re unsure if you need a plugin or not, deactivate it first and see how your site works without it, and whether you miss using it. Once a plugin is deactivated, it will no longer be highlighted and a delete option will appear – just click it and it should get rid of the files for you. (If you want to check, you can log in via FTP but the delete function in WordPress should be sufficient) It’s also a good time to look at any really old plugins that are no longer updated – check the WordPress plugin site to see if there are any newer plugins doing the same (or more likely, better!) tasks – newer plugins will take advantage of any new improvements that WordPress has brought in, which may help your site.
The next thing to delete is any unused themes. If you’re like us, you installed a few plugins at the same time to see which one worked best with your content, and just never bothered to delete the unused ones. You’ll probably have a few of the default themes from WordPress installed as well which if you’re sure you don’t need them, you can get rid of those as well. Go to Appearance > Themes, and on an unused theme, click “Theme Details” which will appear when you hover over the thumbnail. In the bottom right corner of the box that pops up is a text link saying Delete. Tap it, and a pop-up box will appear asking if you’re sure. Click OK if you do want to delete it and it will disappear from your list of installed themes.
If you installed the plugin “Broken Link Checker” which we posted about last month, then you’ll probably want to go through the links the plugin has identified as broken and remove or replace any that are no longer working.
Finally, go through your spam comments and check there are no legit comments lurking in there – if they’re all spam, just delete them all and clear them out of the way! There’s no reason to keep those around!
Taking care of these tasks on a regular basis will help your site run a little happier, and it will mean that it won’t take so long if you keep on top of things!