WordPress has become one of the MOST used website platforms ever, in use by over 25% of the worlds websites. (1) But there is a potentially fatal flaw that plagues most of these websites if left unchecked.
You may be wondering how we know this.
Here at Hog The Web, we have been working with WordPress for years building new websites for our clients, fixing WordPress websites built by others, and then maintaining and securing them. Despite our lucid awareness of this flaw, we STILL recommend WordPress websites to most of our clients. That is because, through our experience, we’ve gained an understanding of this flaw, and have developed the appropriate response to resolve it.
As the CEO and lead technician of Hog The Web, I first began noticing this pattern in clients who came to us with old WordPress websites that were in serious need of an update and overhaul. In many cases the software on these websites was severely out-dated. The Plugins, Themes, and WordPress itself were months or even years behind current versions.
After seeing this pattern again and again, I wanted to know why so many websites were not being maintained and updated.
I discussed the situation with our Clients and what became clear was a troubling catch-22 from their perspective.
In the beginning, most website owners used to run their website updates regularly. But at a certain point, they noticed that running the software updates seemed to cause new bugs or glitches to appear on their website. Or the updates broke functionality of some key feature. So, like any sensible person would, they learned from their experience to avoid the software updates for as long as possible.
Eventually disaster would strike for these outdated websites either due to malware exploiting known vulnerabilities in the old software, or their hosting provider upgrading the server software which was breaking compatibility with their old site code. Or in some cases both!
That’s usually the situation when we are approached to fix these websites: They are broken, severely outdated, and often infected too.
Fortunately for our Clients, our seasoned team of WordPress ninjas are able to recover these broken and infected sites quickly to their former glory or even better.
But we wondered how we could help prevent this same situation from happening again to these websites, further down the road.
As a solution, we developed and began offering affordable and comprehensive “UpKeep Maintenance and Security Service Plans” to our Clients who didn’t feel comfortable doing their own maintenance tasks like software and server updates, website backups, security scans, and ongoing bug-fixes.
The UpKeep Service Plans proved to be a perfect resolution for all the issues discussed above, and ended up saving our Clients a lot of time, money and headaches in the long run.
With Hog The Web handling their WordPress website Maintenance and Security, the site owners can relax in knowing that their website is running smoothly; putting out a Professional and Reliable face for their company to their customers and the whole world.
In retrospect, I can understand why this pattern has become so common. WordPress is a free, open-source platform which is part of what makes it so accessible and versatile. But there is also a drawback to this versatility. As a free product, WordPress itself doesn’t offer it’s users any customer tech support, so we are left to be (or find) our own Tech Support for our WordPress websites. (Which is essentially the role that Hog The Web UpKeep fills: The Tech Support for Your WordPress Website)
On top of that lack of tech support, most WordPress websites incorporate dozens of Plugins to add different functionality to their websites. Every Plugin is developed by a whole different team of programmers, on different parts of the globe. And then each of these teams is releasing new versions of their software on a regular basis.
The combination of Plugins and Themes on every WordPress website is unique, and has never actually been tested together before. Of course WordPress does have extensive guidelines to ensure all this different code is SUPPOSED to work together, but that isn’t always the case in practice.
Basically every WordPress website is a live software experiment, or testing environment for their unique setup.
You, as a website owner or admin, are left with the decision to take the bad with the good, the risk with the reward. Clearly we at Hog The Web still believe strongly in the power of WordPress for our clients but only when coupled with the UpKeep Maintenance and Security Service Plans to account for the previously mentioned flaws and weaknesses.
In short, WordPress + the UpKeep Service Plan is the way to go if you want a stable, reliable, and headache-free website for the long-term.
Please let us know about your similar experiences in the comments, either as a developer, or as a site owner/admin. This problem is clearly quite prevalent.