WordPress has become one of the most popular platforms for building and managing websites because of the simplicity of the database, dashboard interface and easily interchangeable plugins. Unfortunately, the simplification of such a complex process has left consumers with a false sense of security about the inner workings of their website. In order to develop and maintain a successful WordPress site there are a few considerations a consumer should understand.
The most important aspects of setting up and designing a WordPress site are the version of WordPress, the theme and the plugins which act as the foundation for the look, feel and functionality of the actual site. WordPress itself is an open source content management system, themes are program files that work to create the user interface without altering the underlying code and plugins are prepackaged bits of software that expand the functionality of the site. All three of these components are uploaded to a web server and work together to create a website for the end user. When the three components work the results can be incredible, but the opposite is true when the pieces stop working as one.
The nature of an open source product means there is not a single producer of all three components. In fact, it is often the case with WordPress that no author is the same between any of the plugins or theme. Different authors’ means that no one party is responsible for every component working with every other component. This lack of continuity means the pieces do not always work together and can cause errors or load time issues that can be very complex. In addition to a lack of authorship continuity updates mean the different components will change over time and will change at different rates. Because the timing of the updates is unpredictable it is crucial to make sure a website is properly monitored and maintained even after it is initially built and functioning properly.
Long term maintenance and monitoring can be as simple as visiting the site on a schedule and confirming everything is working, and appears to be working as it should. In addition to the outward appearance and functionality it is important to review the underlying program files and server data to look for irregularities which may be the result of a virus. Website servers are difficult to secure in general because they are open to the internet. An open source platform such as WordPress adds an additional vulnerability because the website designer is uploading plugins and themes which are executable programs directly to the server with Administrative credentials from authors they do not know and most likely cannot reach. Taking time to investigate plugin and theme reviews before agreeing to upload one to the server is important to protect against malicious programs. In addition to reviewing the components of the site it is important to research the website host and understand what they offer as far as backup and support for viruses.
A website is a long term investment which should grow with a business and not have to be recreated every time a new update becomes available. The unpredictable nature and timing of plugin updates requires a company to be aware of and monitor their website and website activity. Selecting a website designer that understands how to put all of the pieces together and make sure the website continues to function properly is the key to a building a lasting website.
Contact e-vos to learn more about website security and design at (843) 410-0050!