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Do I really need to pay for WordPress Maintenance?

WordPress Plugins It is important to understand exactly what WordPress Maintenance is, and is Not, before deciding between performing it yourself or paying a professional for it. Some computer savvy people can tinker with their own plugins and themes without breaking anything. However, a particular WordPress version update may not have been compatible with the installed website theme. That incompatibility would break the website in unpredictable ways. Likewise, having an incompatible PHP version on the server can certainly break your website after performing what you thought was a simple theme update.

And if that sounded like a foreign language or made your eyes cross, then you may want to consider hiring a professional for WordPress Maintenance.

Aren't Maintenance and Hosting the same thing?

No. Website Hosting simply makes your website files visible on the internet. When you pay a web hosting fee, your hosting provider (Vixen Online Services, or Go Daddy, or Bluehost, etc.) only promises to make your files accessible online. Those files may be images, songs, videos, animations, custom-coded web pages, WordPress websites, documents, databases, or any other file type that can be uploaded to a web server.

Maintenance refers to different forms of upkeep or monitoring. For example, hosting the website makes images and text visible on the internet, but swapping a photo on the website would fall under Maintenance.

Think of renting an apartment. You paid the rent and moved your possessions in (paid the Hosting fee and uploaded files). Two months later, you decide to toss out some old clothes (delete some pages). Dang it! You threw away the wrong clothes! Can you get those clothes (pages) back? Managing the clothes, vacuuming, cleaning, rearranging furniture, changing the furnace filter, taking out the trash, etc. is all maintenance.

WordPress Website Maintenance

WordPress website maintenance is very different from custom-coded site maintenance or any other kind of maintenance. For starters, it requires constant attention to maintain optimal performance even when you aren't making any changes to the content. What does that mean? It means you could build a wonderful WordPress website that looks great and performs reliably. Three months later you start getting a lot of spam e-mails through your website. You login to troubleshoot. That's when you notice that your background colors are all gone, your logo is missing, and your contact form is no longer working properly. Have you been hacked? Did your business partner go in and screw something up? Is there malware on the server? No. Problems like these can arise naturally due to outdated plugins or themes. Doing the updates and restoring a few settings will get the website functioning correctly in a matter of minutes.

Hackers, Bots and Viruses

Hackers Image: Sucuri

In 2018, Zdnet published an article about an investigation conducted by Sucuri. Sucuri discovered that about 90% of the hacked content management systems (CMSs) that they investigated were WordPress websites. While WordPress is free and fairly easy to use, it is also very highly targeted by hackers. Therefore, WordPress sites are among the most hacked websites on the internet.

The constant updates are necessary to battle the millions of online threats to your website security. Do those pesky alerts from your computer's anti-virus software irritate you? Pay attention to those alerts and do the updates. They are designed to catch & stop new viruses before they can infect your computer. If you need to update your computer software several times each month, just imagine how often websites need to be monitored and updated. Your website is always out there on the internet exposed to people with malicious intent. They write scripts that automatically search the internet for vulnerable websites. They will either exploit outdated websites or attempt to create new vulnerabilities in stable websites.

It's worth noting that Vixen Online Services custom-coded websites do not require the same maintenance as WordPress sites because they are coded by hand. Every line of code is typed directly into the file. There would be no themes, plugins, templates, etc. to mysteriously break your custom-coded website. We even have a couple of clients who have chosen not to change their custom-coded websites at all for several years because they didn't see the need to change what wasn't broken. WordPress websites cannot offer that level of stability and security. The WordPress platform is always changing, and therefore requires constant monitoring and updating for the websites that are created with it.

All WordPress Maintenance Plans Aren't Equal

Did you know that some companies charge from $60 per month to over $300 per month for WordPress Maintenance Plans? They all offer services like website backups, website restore, plugin updates, etc. Some will also include a few hours of basic website edits like adding a few new sentences on the Home page or swapping an image on another page. You may see offers like daily backups or weekly reports. All of that may be necessary for a company that has frequent edits to the web pages or has a lot of traffic going to their website. However, most small businesses don't make frequent changes to their websites and don't need a ton of reports that won't show much change between them. Would you be willing to pay extra for services that you don't need? Vixen Online Services charges as little as $24.99 per month for our basic WordPress Maintenance Plan that fits any budget. Call us today at 502-203-8842 for more information.

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