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Monday, April 12, 2021

Sloth Maintains His Website

Zip looks at his website and sees that it is urging him to update his WordPress version. Let's look at WordPress maintenance, including WordPress version updates as well as theme and plugin updates, both automatic and manual.

Home » WordPress and Blogging » Sloth Makes a Blog » Blog Basics » Sloth Maintains His Website

OK, Zip’s done with installing Google analytics. We’ll review more complicated stuff later. I said we’d talk about social media next, but Zip has found that there’s a WordPress update, and his website is urging him to update to WordPress 5.7. So, let’s talk, very briefly, about basic-but-essential WordPress maintenance.

Zip should keep his website’s themes and plugins up to date as much as possible. Plugin updates often offer not just new features but essential things like bug and security fixes.

Since (I think it was) WordPress 5.5, you can do automatic plugin updates. As I mentioned before, I was afraid of automatically updating plugins because, sometimes, things can go awry with updates. However, I’ve been using this feature now and like it. I’d recommend it for Zip (and to you) with one caution: have a way to back up your website before an update runs.

Zip hasn’t got to backup plugins yet in his tutorial series. However, his web hosting provider does regular, daily backups, and he hasn’t made any changes to his website recently because he’s been napping so much. But when he completes his website1 — someday — and starts blogging more regularly, I’d recommend a backup plugin (my preference is UpdraftPlus  ). Using a backup plugin will automatically back up his website before the automatic plugin updates run. Additionally, he’ll have an additional backup in case his hosting provider’s backups fail.

WordPress Maintenance 101

WordPress Version Updates

Anyhow, Zip sees a notice in his WordPress dashboard telling him that an updated version of WordPress is available.

He updates his WordPress version and checks to see that his website is still functioning correctly. It is.

Manual Plugin and Theme Updates

If Zip goes to “Updates” in the left-hand panel, or the little circular arrows on his topbar, he’ll end up on the “updates” page as shown above. At the top are plugins that have updates available. Below are themes that have updates available. He can click the box to select all plugins and, later, all themes, then choose “Update” from the drop-down.

He does this first for themes and then for plugins. Then, again, he checks to see that his website is still functioning. It is. Whew! Plugin updates breaking your website isn’t as often an issue on a simple website like his, with few plugins. However, if you run many plugins, you’re more likely to run into conflicts. Again, having a backup is very important!

Automatic WordPress Plugin Updates

As I mentioned previously, since WordPress 5.5, you can set most plugins to update automatically.

Zip wants to do this; he’s a lazy sloth, after all! To find all of the plugins that are currently not being auto-updated, he goes to “Plugins” and then clicks the link at the top for “Auto Updates Disabled.”

Again, he can select all of them here and then choose “Enable auto-updates” from the drop-down that’s just above the top checkbox. Now, his plugins will regularly update. He’ll get an email when they’ve updated, and he’ll still want to take a look at his website and make sure everything looks OK.

OK, now that we’ve reviewed WordPress maintenance, let’s get on with things! Zip has his busybody friend urging him that he SIMPLY MUST get on social media if he wants to be a successful blogger. So, let’s take a brief look at social media in the next post while Zip saunters into the world of social media — for better or for worse.

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References and Footnotes
  1. Of course, a blog is never, truly “complete.”[]
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Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.
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