Maintenance is probably one of the least sexy things to talk about when discussing your website. In fact the conversation of maintenance usually comes at the tail end of something bad, like a broken feature or even a hack. But a lot of times hacks or broken features are preventable or their damage can at least be mitigated through maintaining your website post launch. This is why we feel it is incredibly important to maintain a website once it’s in the wild wild web.
Backups are key to making sure technical mishaps don’t ruin your website or delete it forever. How often you run backups will depend on how often your data updates and often you can schedule when they happen to avoid extra load on your website during peak hours. For extra insurance, downloading a copy of a backup to your own hard drive or to a different cloud storage location will mean even if something happens to your backups you’ll have a plan B.
The web is anything but stagnant, and that means software is constantly changing as are the tactics of people who would like unauthorized access to your website. Most websites run on some kind of Content Management System or Client Relationship Manager and those software need to be kept up to date. Make sure to backup your site before updating though, in case something goes wrong.
Monitoring your website can rule out problems very quickly. If you monitor your traffic, and the server, you can identify peak times and when you might need to upgrade your hosting. You can use services like UptimeRobot to be notified immediately when your site goes down. We often even implement code monitoring to let us know when someone hits an error in our system so we can fix it.
Don’t forget about your domain or SSL Certificate. These two things need to be renewed periodically and letting either expire can be disastrous. While both can be set to auto-renew, an SSL Certificate will need to be reinstalled when renewed.
Even if you do everything right, there is a chance things may still go wrong. Have a plan for what to do when your website goes down for any reason. Keeping good documentation about your website, where it’s hosted, where the domain and SSL were purchased, how to access and roll out a backup, when the last time your website was updated and what services you have monitoring the site can all help in fixing a problem quickly. Finally, figure out who you can call for help if the problem is out of your hands or beyond what you can fix.
These are the biggest things you can do to keep your website running and secure. Maintenance isn’t very fun and can be overwhelming, but it’s necessary and can extend the life of your website by a few years. If you have any questions about what was discussed in this post, or about your own site, feel free to reach out.
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