You Need To Maintain Your Website

If you want safety and security

If you have a website that’s built on an open-source content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, you have to maintain it to ensure safety and reliability. For some, website maintenance refers to updating content or search engine optimization, but this post is focused on maintenance that guarantees safety, security and reliability.

Did you know that your car and your content management system have something in common? They both require regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure they run smoothly and safely. With a car, you have the oil changed and tires rotated, but with a CMS you need to backup databases and apply security patches. It takes resources to maintain a CMS, but the cost of not maintaining one can be detrimental to your business and its users.

It takes resources to maintain a CMS, but the cost of not maintaining one can be detrimental to your business and its users.

Without maintenance, your website may function imroperly over time because an outdated system is susceptible to being hacked or manipulated and could suffer loss of function. Deferring maintenance may put sensitive data, like user account information at risk too. If you spend the money to build a great website, why wouldn’t you perform regular updates to guarantee longevity? A good maintenance plan should include backups of your site in case of emergency, but it it should also ensure all modules, integrations and plugins are working properly and securely.

If you leave just a little bit of opportunity for a hacker to get in, they will. Hackers and robots constantly look for vulnerabilities in out of date websites in order to take advantage of their weaknesses. Once hacked, repairing the damage, including reputation (think Target) can be costly. Spending several thousands of dollars to work retroactively to locate the intrusion, clean up the issue, test and then deploy doesn’t make much sense. Then you have to focus on damage control, lawsuits and public relations to fend off the media or angry clients. Regularly scheduled maintenance acts as an insurance plan against unforeseen problems. In the long run, preventive maintenance costs much less than cleaning up a mess that’s already occurred.

A breach can spiral out of control quickly and not staying current makes little sense from a security perspective. A poorly maintained site can even become a liability. Unnecessary files and data may slow your site down. Unwanted content — like comment spam — can cause a world of hurt by consuming valuable resources and impacting search engine rankings. Security flaws allow attackers to use your site to commit fraud, spread malware and launch further attacks.

Like it or not, a website requires consistent maintenance. If you want your website to avoid being hacked and would like to keep performance strong, you should be keeping your site up to date. The needs of site owners are different and security patches are published periodically when the need arises, but backing the site up and ensuring modules are secure and properly working on a regular basis is smart business.