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2.13 Create a Maintenance Plan

Even though by hardening the security of your site you decrease the chances of being hacked, it’s not possible to make a site 100% invincible. You need to make sure you have a maintenance plan that includes regular site, theme and plugin updates. There’s also always the chance of unpredictable things happening ,and for that reason, it’s super important to know how to back up your site, and to make a plan to do so regularly. Learn how in this lesson.

2.13 Create a Maintenance Plan

Hey, welcome to the last lesson in the WordPress secure setup guide. The only thing that's left to do as part of our setup process now is to create a maintenance plan. And when it comes to maintaining your site, there are two things that are really important. One is making sure that you stay on top of updates and the other is making sure that you do regular backups. Keeping ahead of updates is essential, because that's the best way to ensure that you've got the latest security patches. And backups are essential, because even if something happens, no matter how bad it is, as long as you have a recent backup you can always restore. So the first thing we're gonna talk about is updates. You're gonna need to stay on top of WordPress updates, plugin updates, and theme updates. As for WordPress itself, there are two types of updates that it rolls out. There are major updates and then there are minor updates that are typically to do with security. So for example down here in the WordPress news section of the dashboard, there's an announcement letting us know that Word Press 4.6.1 security and maintenance release is available. And this is one of the smaller updates. And by default WordPress is set to grab those updates automatically. If for one reason or another, you need to turn that off you can, but out of the box, you won't have to think about the smaller updates because that's just gonna happen. However, you will need to manually do major updates. So to help you stay on top of that, what we're gonna do is install a plugin named wp updates notifier. So here we go, we're gonna install this. And activate it. And you remember I said in the last lesson that once you have a caching plugin installed, when you install new plugins you're gonna have to empty the cache. So we're gonna do that. Now we'll scroll down and go to the settings for the wp updates notify. Now here you can set this plugin to check for updates at whatever interval you want. So by default we gonna be looking for once per hour, but you can change it to twice daily, once daily, whatever you prefer. And then you can have an email sent out to you whenever there's an update that needs to be done. And that way you never have any significant period of time where there's an unknown security exploit that's unpatched on your website. So here you can decide if you wanna be notified about plugin updates and theme updates. And you can also decide if you wanna be told about these automatic smaller updates that are going through without you needing to do anything. I would leave that checked as yes because it's just a good idea to keep yourself aware of what's happening in relation to the security of your website. So when you have that all set up, go ahead and save it. And that's gonna be one of the best things that you can do to help you make sure that everything's constantly up to date. The next thing we're gonna go through is how to perform backups of your entire site. And you remember from our early lessons that WordPress is essentially made up of your files and your database. So that means that when you wanna back it up those are the two things that you need to get copies of. And there are plugins that you can purchase that will handle backups for you automatically. But even if you do go with the service provider it's a good idea to know how to back up your sites manually anyway. So I'm going to show you how to do that. I find the easiest way to be through using File Manager just like we used to upload WordPress' files in the first place. So all you have to do is go into the folder that contains your WordPress installation. Select All, then choose Compress. And then you can turn it into a zip archive. So then choose compressed files. And now there's all the files of your entire website. So now you can just hit this button to download that zip and you've got all the files that make up your entire website at that time. I like to create folders that are dated and then add this zip file into that folder so I have the backup for that day. Next up you're gonna need a backup of you database and we're going to do that using the tool phpMyAdmin. So in your cPanel look for the Databases section, and then open up phpMyAdmin. Once you're in there look on the left side for the database of your site. Click on it to select it and then choose Export. Now, you don't actually want to use this quick export method because there's one thing that you need to change. So you choose Custom, then scroll down, and rather than selecting to View output as text, cuz that's not gonna be very helpful, you wanna choose to Save the output to a file. And sometimes if you have a very big database you can actually fail when you try to download the exported file. So you should also choose compression zipped and scroll all the way down and hit go. Now that gives you a zip file that contains your database in it and you can save it into the same folder that you put the zip containing all of your files. Now if you have to restore from this at one point if something happens to your site, then what you'll do is you go into file manager, delete all the files that are there. And then you restore the files from your backup in the same way that you installed WordPress in the first place. You'll upload the zip and then you'll extract it in place. To restore your database, first you're gonna want to delete the database that you had before. Create a new database the same way that we did during the setup process and then click this Import tab. Click here to browse for your zip file and then hit Go and that will import all of the data from your database backup. And you should set yourself a reminder as part of you maintenance plan to do a backup periodically. So that's really up to you to decide how often you want to backup. As a rule of thumb the more often you update your site, the more often you should back it up. If you just have a relatively static site, then you really only need to update it when you've made a significant change so that you have that significant change in your backup files. But if you're putting a lot of content up on a daily basis, then you probably need to do it more like once a week. So set yourself a reminder however you prefer to with a calendar app or anything that you like, and just go through that process and create that backup on the interval that you deem appropriate for your sites. So that's it. That is everything done. You've done your complete set up process. Everything is in place just how it should be and you even have your maintenance plan set up. I hope you'll join me in the next video, we're just gonna have a quick recap of everything that I've gone through in this course. So I'll see you in the final video.

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