“My website is down!”
Four words that can send shivers down your spine. You spent years building that great website and it’s all going great, until one day when you login to your website and you only see the dreaded white screen of death. Your website just vanished! This is one magic trick that no site owner wants to be a part of.
With WordPress being one of the most popular blogging platforms, evil doers are always on the prowl, looking for loopholes. WordPress’ flexibility can work against us at times. We as users have to deal with WordPress upgrades, plugin compatibility issues, theme updates, and so on. In the middle of all these tasks, there is a strong possibility that things can sometimes get out of hand.
Let us look at the common roadblocks that WordPress users face and how they can be overcome.
Vulnerabilities and Hacks
WordPress powers one in every five websites. A hacker can create wide spread destruction by exploiting just a single vulnerability. These evil-doers find it worthwhile to create automated scans and attacks against WordPress. Research indicates that over 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to attacks. The easiest way to minimize the possibility of such an attack is to always keep your WordPress installation updated to the latest version.
The WordPress dashboard displays reminders about updates to plugins, themes, and WordPress whenever they are available. Sometimes we may hit the upgrade button without thinking twice, only to find that something went wrong – sidebar may be missing, header image not displayed, you get the general idea.
Didn’t we just advocate for upgrading to the latest version at all times? Well, yes. That is absolutely necessary, but issues arise because the people who develop WordPress aren’t the ones who wrote your plugins or themes. The plugin or theme may have been developed for the current WordPress version and hence not work with the latest version. On a bad day, this incompatibility can even cause your site to crash. So exercise caution during upgrades. Always read through the changes included in a specific version and evaluate it for any issues that can arise.
You are advised to upgrade your WordPress site during low traffic periods.
If anything goes wrong, fire up your FTP Client and rename your plugin folder, e.g. from “Plugins” to “Plugins1”, this will disable all plugins on your site. You can enable them one after the other to find out which has compatibility issues.
Not every host is made alike, so it is very important that you choose a good hosting provider for your site and this should be a part of your site strategy. Even a spike in traffic may cause your site to go down if you have slow hosting. A good host may cost you more but you’ll be thankful when your site gains popularity and remains up without any outages.
We are human, after all. You may accidentally delete a page or post and just like that, you have a blank home page. The simplest way to protect your site from such issues is to take regular backups. Even if you end up making a mistake, you always have a backup to rely on and restore to.
Take extreme caution and backup your files before editing. A wrong line of code in the “functions.php” file could break your site easily, just as messing with your CSS file could mess up your site design.
The Final Word
Most people who run a WordPress site have experienced a white-knuckle WordPress situation at some point. Maybe you’re completely locked out of your website. Maybe you have somehow managed to create an infinite loop of code that you can’t fix.
The quickest way to get your site up and running is to create backups. There are numerous backup providers with varied features such as blogVault, VaultPress, BackupBuddy, UpdraftPlus, etc. Pick one that suits you and if anything goes wrong, with just a click of a button, you can make things right again.
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