WordPress Maintenance Checklist

By Mason James, on June 6, 2012 — 3 minute read

Keeping WordPress maintained is an important part of running your website. Unfortunately it’s not possible to just set it and forget it. WordPress has a fast release cycle and it’s regularly patched to deal with security issues, plugins and themes are updated, and your database gets clogged up with spam comments. Below are the tasks that you should be keeping on top of to make sure your WordPress installation stays at its very best.

Update WordPress

This is the key to keeping WordPress in shape. WordPress has a huge team of contributors who are always working to improve it and to fix any issues. It’s not hard to update WordPress as you’ll get that nag message at the top of your admin screens, so make sure you keep it updated!

Frequency: As often as needed

Update Your Plugins and Themes

Keeping your plugins and themes updated is also essential. Make sure that you keep an eye out for any plugin updates. On the plugins admin screen you’ll see a message telling you when you need to update any plugins. You can also check the Dashboard > Updates menu item to see if any of your plugins or themes need updated.

Frequency: As often as needed

 Back up Your Website

If your site gets hacked or your server fails then a backup is your lifesaver. This means it’s important to have a proper backup of your website. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you to automate your backups; BackupBuddy is a popular option, or you could try a free plugin such as WordPress Backup to Dropbox, or Online Backup for WordPress. For database backups only, try WP-DB-Backup. At WP Valet we use ManageWP to automate our backups as well as carry our other maintenance tasks.

Frequency: Daily for regularly updated websites, weekly if your website doesn’t change much.

Remove Spam and Trash Comments

Spam and comments in your trash are totally superfluous to the running of your site. And they take up space in your database. The good thing is that they are easy to delete. Start by deleting your spam. Navigate to Comments, check the box for selecting all posts, choose delete permanently from the drop down, and click apply.

Repeat for comments in the trash.

Frequency: Weekly-monthly, depending on traffic.

Remove Post Revisions

Post revisions are a fantastic feature of WordPress. If your browser or computer crash while you’re writing a post then you can pull up a post revision and much of your work will be save! However, they can build up over time and if you are blogging a lot, or have a lot of pages on your website, you could have loads of extraneous data built up in your database. A plugin like Better Delete Revisions will help you to delete your post revisions.

Frequency: Weekly-monthly, depending on traffic.

Database Optimization

Post revisions, spam and trash comments aren’t the only thing clogging up your database. When you deactivate a plugin, for example, you remove its functionality from your website, but it doesn’t remove the database tables that were created by the plugin. Over time this can have a negative effect on site performance. Try a plugin like WP-Optimize, which will also delete post revisions and spam comments.

Frequency: Weekly-monthly, depending on traffic.

Malware Scanning

Malware is the biggest threat to your website, especially if you are hosting your website on a shared server. As well as keeping your site secure with best security practices, you should scan your site regularly for malware. You could try plugins such as BulletProof Security or the Sucuri SiteCheck plugin. If you want to quickly scan your website, try the Sucuri SiteCheck scanner.

Frequency: Weekly-monthly, depending on traffic.

There you have it – keep on top of these simple management and maintenance tasks and you’ll have a safe, secure, speedy WordPress website.

2 Responses to “WordPress Maintenance Checklist”

October 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm, carrie said:

Thanks, Eric! Good reminders all the way around. I just used the WP-Optimize, primarily to delete revisions, and it worked like a charm. Also saw on another post about adding


to you wp-config.php to limit future post revisions to the number specified.


October 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm, Kevin said:

What more can be done to optimize the database? How do you remove the database tables and especially the entries in the _options table that plugins put in and don’t take out when they’re uninstalled?

Also, do you know any really reliable tools for cleaning up the uploads folder? Previous webmasters to myself have placed things in uploads via FTP & linked directly as well as adding things through the media pages. Is there some way to get everything that is linked somewhere on the site to be added to the media list and everything that exists in uploads, but is not linked on the site to be added to a list that can then be used to delete them?

Thanks for your insightful articles!


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