Backing Up & Maintaining your new WordPress Website

Issues can crop up with WordPress from time to time, just like any other software program. Here are a few things you should be aware of to prevent this from happening, or be able to fix things if something does happen.

1.You MUST regularly back up your site! This is really seriously crucially important. At the very least, you need to backup your wordpress posts and pages. This is very simple and quick to do.

From your wordpress dashboard, on the left hand side, go to ‘tools’. You will see 3 options under tools- click on ‘export’. You will get a page asking you what you want to export-All Content, just your pages, or just your posts. Click on the circle (radial button) next to All content, then click on Download Export File. A file open/save box should open on your pc pretty quickly, if not immediately. Choose to SAVE this file- most likely you don’t have a program that would actually open it. All we want to do is save it for the future if you ever need to import it to restore content if there is an issue with your wordpress software.

Make a folder on your pc/mac somewhere for website backups. Save this file there and that’s it. All your posts, pages, and media are stored in that file for future backup needs. This will NOT save your widgets, but if your software fails and all your content is gone, trust me, your widgets will be the least of your worries- so here we have the most important things backed up.

2. As with any program or software, wordpress has updates from time to time. These can be for many reasons, there can be updates that are just fine tuning to the software, some that fix bugs (glitches), new features, and most importantly- important security updates. It is very important to keep your wordpress website up to date. *However* I would highly recommend NOT updating your software right away. Why? Because just like when you update your browser right away, or your computer’s operating system, when an update is rolled out there is a high chance it contains bugs/glitches that the developers aren’t aware of until users start reporting them.

Personally I always wait a few weeks for new software updates so the bugs can be found and patched first, rather than update and have to deal with the bugs myself- and bugs can be little glitches, right up to completely breaking your site- no joke, I just went through this with 2 client sites, completely different issues, but all because of updating to the latest software as soon as it was offered. And if the update just came out and  you break your site- the developers of the update may not have a fix yet, and you may wind up with huge issues, which will impact your business, and drive you crazy- it’s not worth it. IF this happens and I have to fix your site, there may be a small fee charged for my time.

3. Backup your site before doing any updates, or installing or updating new plugins. Why? See above- any update can mess up your software. Does it usually? No. But let me tell you,, the one time you don’t do a backup first- that’s when your site goes kaplooey. And without a backup, you risk losing all your posts and pages. There is a way that I can help you restore these from your database on your server, however even that can get corrupted through an update, and then without a backup on your computer, you are basically screwed. PLEASE heed this warning!! I am not responsible for what you do to your site once it is in your hands. I will do everything I can to fix it if there is an issue, but if the following advice is not followed, it may be fixed, but your content lost forever….

4. Custom Theme Updates- Do NOT ever ever ever update a theme that I have customized for you! Why? Because an update replaces the files I’ve customized- meaning all the changes will be lost (overwritten). Most of you should never even see a theme update pop up as your theme should have changed names and be something like your name and the year, and customized by me, etc. Some of my earlier theme customizations I did not change this information and the theme may ask you to update. As I said, absolutely, do NOT do this! I may have backups for your theme files, but it is not my responsibility to keep them- if I don’t have them, and have to redo your site- there will be a charge for me to do so, just as if I was starting from scratch.

5. If something does happen to break your site, I need to know exactly what you were doing when it happened. Some just leave me an offline message that it’s broken, can’t log in, etc. The error message you are getting is also very helpful, but if you can tell me what you were doing when it happened then that will help me find exactly what the issue is quickly, and get you back up much more quickly then having to do a lot of random trouble shooting. The more specific you can be about your issue the better! :)

That’s all I can think of at the moment, however I am sure I may have to update this from time to time. Please keep an eye on my blog, subscribe to the RSS feed for my posts, and/or follow me on twitter, as I will notify in all these places when something comes up that you need to know.

Thanks, and happy blogging!

Mia :)