Is WordPress Maintenance Important?

Did you know that even if your WordPress website is “done” that it's never truly done? Yep, that's the truth. WordPress is an open-source platform that many contributors from around the world support to make it the robust CMS that it is today. Besides the WordPress core, we use themes and plugins to expand the functionality and customization options to get our websites tweaked just the way we want it. These themes and plugins are supported by independent developers who build their products to run alongside the WordPress core seamlessly…at least that's what we hope for. To keep your site running ship-shape your core, themes and plugins all need to be compatible.

WordPress Core

The core of wordpress is the backbone of your site. I like to compare it to the foundation and frame of a home. It's your starting point but by far the most important aspect. Your website at its base starting point can run on WordPress without any bells and whistles that fancy themes and plugins can bring to the table. When developers push out updates to WordPress it is critical to have them applied to your site. These updates often address important factors such as security and bugs that can have a big impact on your site. Updates can also address performance and optimization improvements which can make your site run faster, work with the latest technology and boost your SEO efforts.


There are thousands of themes to choose from. A bunch of them are free and can serve your needs. A lot of other themes are known as “freemium” themes. Which means they may have a base version of a theme and offer add-ons or a premium version at a cost to expand on what their base theme offers. And lastly, there are premium themes that you need to purchase or subscribe to for access. Going back to the “house” comparison, your theme is like your home's decorations and accents. It makes things look pretty and can sometimes bring about some extra helpful features. When themes are updated, they address similar focuses that the WordPress core updates do – with an additional requirement. They ensure that their theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. A conflict here could result in a broken theme or loss in functionality.


Like themes, there are thousands and thousands of plugins to choose from. Plugins mainly expand or improve the functionality and features of WordPress or if used alongside a specific theme – enhances the theme. In my “house” comparison, your plugins would be the “bells and whistles” in your home. You know, the big flat-screen TVs, the robot vacuums, your toaster oven and your power washers. Do you need them? No. Can they vastly improve things? Yes! When developers update plugins that run on your site they address functions, security and optimization. Developers do their best to ensure compatibility with WordPress core and themes, but that doesn't mean that updates will be error free.


When you apply updates to your site you always run the risk of running into issues. Sometimes there can be small fixes to address incompatibility conflicts but sometimes finding a solution can be a challenge. To anticipate issues you can review the changelogs and look into known issues and conflicts. Ideally you should have a staging and/or development version of your site available to apply updates to before applying to your “live” site.

Why maintain?

Seeing the bigger picture of the factors involved with processing updates to your site, your might be wondering if you can skate by without doing updates at all. Theoretically, you can skip updates…but this practice will only work for so longe before your site is impacted and updates are necessary. Usually by then, your site may be in a very fragile state and processing updates will be a challenge. You may also find that installed plugins and/or themes are no longer being supported which would force you to find and configure new themes and plugins to maintain functionality. The effort involved with updating a site that has been severely neglected can often take many hours of troubleshooting to bring to a stable state. Regular maintenance can avoid this issue and also keep your site functional and safe.

In Conclusion

Keep your site updated! If you want to do updates on your own, get familiar with the process and learn what to do when you run into issues. Be forewarned, that bringing on a developer to support your updating efforts AFTER your site has broke will cost you far more than hiring a developer to take care of your site from the get-go.


Aloha, I am a Hawaii based freelance web designer and developer located on the beautiful island of Maui. Where the skies are blue, the palm trees sway and spam is a pretty big deal. My articles are geared towards site design and development, nifty wordpress tips and and other ramblings of webthings amusement.

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