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224 – ‘H’ is for Health

WP Builds

1h 1min

‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

This is another A-Z of WordPress where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WordPress. Today is H for… Health. Not your health, although that’s important. This is about your WordPress websites, and how healthy they are.

Preamble

This is quite a large topic, especially for anyone who runs client care/maintenance plans and carries out health monitoring.

WordPress first introduced a basic site health check feature back in version 5.1 which has a bunch of mostly performance and security checks. For example, is your site:

  • Running on a server with the recommended PHP version
  • The recommended MySQL database
  • Are themes and plugins up to date and active

But site health goes beyond this. What about…

  • Monitoring DDoS attacks
  • Monitoring dynamic functionality
  • Monitoring visual layouts and style
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Domain expiration
  • Backups
  • SEO / Google Search Console / broken links and 404s
  • Support – how do you find out what you need? (Google – Core Web Vitals)
  • Accessibility

There’s so much here, and we’ve likely left a bunch out as well.

Tools

This is not an exhaustive list, but here’s some tools that we’ve come across and / or used:

Updating

Uptime monitoring

Visual monitoring

Email deliverability / transactional email services

Website crawler

Debatable Points

Do you or your clients find much use in the new Site Health feature of WordPress? Having clients seeing health check results might be useful, but it’s not helpful when it flags unimportant things like not having ‘imagick’ active on the server.

Plugin updates and cached pages used to be an issue; throwing out visual designs with page builders. This seems to be less of an issue nowadays.

Emails not sending from the servers can be a genuine worry. Best to use an SMTP service (see above).

Auto updates – should you do it? This seems like such a good idea on the surface, but if you’re not around when the updates occur, there might be problems that you simply don’t detect, and which make your customers unhappy!

Monitoring client activity / logins. We really should do this, but I’m betting that most of us don’t!

Conclusions:

WordPress health monitoring has really become David’s business. He simply does not need to upsell a care plan; he just explains that the client wants the platform that powers 40% of the web, they need it to get on board as all of the above is essential. He sells the plan before the site.

Next Nathan & David discussion…

‘I’ is for images, which will be out two weeks after this one!

If you don’t know how we’re publishing episodes these days… we’re doing one week interview and the following week a discussion with Nathan & David. You can find the podcast archives here.

If you enjoyed this episode or, for that matter, if you hated it, please let us know in the comments below, or go to the WP Builds Facebook Group and join over 2,800 very nice WordPressers in the conversation over there!

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