The first time your website went online, definitely everything looked good – talking about the speed, user-friendliness, performance, and security. However, over time, you noticed that your site’s performance is dropping and it seems your visitors aren’t returning, what could have caused that? When you start noticing a drop in your website’s performance, one of the foremost things to do is running a health check or a complete website analysis.
Many website owners pay less attention to their site’s health; however, this is important. WordPress 5.2 update introduced a number of new features and improvements, which included “Health Check.” This health check feature analyzes your WP site and gives you an overall rating, which tells how “healthy” your site is. What’s checked by this feature includes your website’s performance, speed, and security.
What’s WordPress Health Check?
The new WordPress Site Health tool gives you’re a 1 – 100% score about your website’s health status. A website that scores 90 – 100% implies that it is fast, safe & secure, and liable to have a higher user retention rate. You would find this “Site Health” feature on the “Tools” tab in your WordPress site’s admin dashboard.
For your website to pass the built-in health check on WordPress CMS, you only need to update all your plugins, themes, and PHP framework. Once everything that powers your website is up to date, you’d score 100% in the check.
However, keeping everything up to date does not guarantee that your site is “Healthy;” thus, this article explains some professional tips on how to keep up WordPress site’s health in check.
Professional Tips to Maintaining a Healthy WordPress Website
Like you pay attention to your body, you should be attentive to your WP site’s health, too.
1. Keep Everything Up To Date
Developers release new versions of their products following a timeline; these new versions try to fix the bugs and security glitches in their predecessors. Definitely, every WordPress site runs with a set of plugins, themes, and frameworks; all these need to be regularly updated to their latest versions.
The WordPress core itself is updated by the company from time to time, and when it rolls out, a notification is sent to all WP sites. You should run the update once it appears on your admin dashboard. The essence of keeping everything up to date is to mitigate the chances of cyber attacks and to keep your website functioning perfectly.
How To Update Your Site’s Resources?
Simply navigate to the WP admin dashboard and click on the “Updates” tab. From the Updates screen, you can quickly update your site’s plugins and themes that already have new versions. If your WordPress version is not the latest, you’d also see a button to upgrade to the newest version.
2. Use HTTPS
Surprisingly, to date, not all sites use HTTPS protocol. If your site still runs on HTTP, you need to install a security certificate and make it run on HTTPS protocol. Personally, you may not be concerned about HTTP and HTTPS; however, for the sake of SEO and assuring your visitors that your site is safe to browse, HTTPS is compulsory.
Interestingly, there are a couple of ways to get HTTPS for free for your website. Most managed WordPress hosting packages come with free SSL, which makes your site run on the HTTPS protocol with no additional fee. Cloudflare also offers free SSL certificates to power WordPress sites to run HTTPS protocol.
How To Detect a Site That Runs HTTPS?
When you visit a website that runs on HTTPS, you’d see a padlock appear before the site’s domain URL on the address bar.
3. Set Up Automatic Updates
You can configure automatic updates directly from your WP admin dashboard or the cPanel. Configuring automatic updates helps you to focus on other important things while your website’s core resources and plugins automatically update to their latest versions once available.
The built-in automatic update feature on WordPress only updates your plugins and themes; it doesn’t automatically update your site’s framework (PHP) or databases (MySQL). To update these critical parts of your website’s structure, you have to go through the control panel and this is an advanced action.
How To Set Up Automatic Updates?
Go to the “Updates” tab on your WordPress admin dashboard and click on “Enable automatic updates for all WordPress versions.” This will cause your site to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress each time an update rolls out.
To update automatic updates for your website’s platforms, go to the “Plugins” page and click on “Enable auto-updates” for all your site’s plugins.
4. Enable WordPress Rest API
Disabling Rest API may affect the performance of certain plugins or themes that power your WP site. Therefore, it is advisable to leave the REST API enabled since it provides an interface for 3rd-party applications and plugins to interact with the core WordPress API.
Disclaimer: Most website owners purposefully disable REST API to protect their sites from brute force attacks. You only need to enable this API if you’re more concerned about having your website score high in the WP Health Check analysis.
5. Enable WP-Cron Jobs
Some WP site owners run scheduled tasks on their blogs; this can include scheduling blog posts or any other activity such as automatic updates. All scheduling tasks on WordPress CMS run with a Cron process.
Cron is a process for scheduling different tasks and there’s one built into WordPress. The built-in WordPress Cron feature needs to be active for your website to score high on various website analysis checks. However, while enabling Cron for scheduled tasks can help your website pass the WordPress Site Health check, Crons can also affect your website’s performance adversely – especially if you’re on a shared hosting server.
How To Manage WordPress Crons
Install the WP Crontrol plugin and activate it on your site. The plugin lets you manage cron jobs without having to get into your website’s core files. Before adjusting the cron files, ensure that you have a good knowledge of how your changes would affect your WP site’s performance.
6. Use the Best PHP Version and Modules
PHP versions and modules are also among the main factors that affect a website’s health score. Your site may be running the best PHP version, but if you don’t activate the necessary PHP modules, your site’s performance could be very poor.
To adjust the PHP version or modules, you need access to the site’s back-end. Log in to your site’s back-end or cPanel, find the PHP settings, and change to a newer version, or activate some modules you think would improve your site’s performance.
7. Delete Inactive Plugins and Themes
There may be themes or plugins that are inactive on your site; you need to delete them if you’re certain not to need them anymore. However, there is no limit to the number of plugins you need to run on a WP site. More so, whether or not you delete those inactive plugins, your website’s performance cannot be affected.
The main reason to delete these inactive tools is simply to mitigate the chances of malware attacks on your site. You must deactivate a plugin before you’d be able to delete it entirely from the site.
8. Always Update Your Site’s Database
WordPress sites basically run with MySQL database. When a database is buggy and underperforming, it’d affect the website’s overall performance. Like selecting the best PHP settings for your website, updating or upgrading your site’s database must be done from the cPanel or back-end of the app.
Ensure that your site is running the newest stable version of MySQL or MariaDB, and surely, your website’s health score would be very high. The database is where all information regarding a website is saved, it should be handled with utmost carefulness.
In conclusion, these tips will help you to improve your WordPress site’s health score. While you shouldn’t only focus on your site’s health score rating, a 100% score implies that your site has great potentials to stay at the forefront in competitions. More so, before applying any of the various information mentioned in this article, ensure to create a comprehensive backup of your website – just in case things don’t turn out well. This article is mainly for information purposes, only.
Originally posted on June 15, 2021 @ 8:58 am