So you’ve just got your new website built using Divi and you’re thrilled with how it turned out! It looks great, it’s easy to use, and you’re happily publishing new content like a pro.
Then something strange happens.
It starts with just one plugin asking to be updated. Then another. Then Divi jumps in and wants to be updated as well. And then WordPress feels left out and also is asking for an update!
The first few updates go fine and you think “this ain’t so hard!”. But then one update breaks something. You’re not sure what but you see errors on your website. “Are my website visitors seeing these errors as well??” you think.
Then you start googling how to fix a broken WordPress website. You find an article that suggests you restore a backup of your site before all this happened, and luckily your hosting has been keeping backup for you. Phew!
But now you’re worried about updating again in case you break something.
If this sounds familiar, then this guide is for you!
Keeping your Divi website updated and secure doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Follow the steps laid out in this guide along with the suggested tools, and you’ll be managing your Divi site like a pro!
In this guide we’ll cover:
- Why is regular maintenance important for your Divi website?
- Which are the best tools for Divi website maintenance?
- Daily maintenance tasks
- Weekly maintenance tasks
- Monthly maintenance tasks
Why is regular maintenance important for your Divi website?
In many ways, your website is similar to a physical storefront. It needs to be kept secure so people can’t break-in, it needs to be kept clean so it gives a good first impression of your business, and it needs regular maintenance to make sure everything is functioning correctly.
Imagine if for 6 months you never locked your storefront, never cleaned it, or when the lights broke you didn’t bother fixing them?
If you weren’t robbed or lost many of your customers you’d be pretty lucky!
So why do the same thing with your website?
For many businesses, the website is the first (and often only) point of contact with a potential customer, so it needs to work otherwise you’ll be losing money.
Monthly maintenance doesn’t have to take a long time or cost a lot, so don’t put your business at risk by not doing it.
Which are the best tools for Divi website maintenance?
ManageWP is the easiest way to perform updates on your website and also offers a lot of other features such as backups (which we highly recommend!).
It allows you to perform updates directly through their dashboard instead of logging into your website, and also shows you screenshots of before & after to quickly see if the updates caused any issues. If something does go wrong, all you need to do is click the restore button and you website will be back to how it was before the updates!
We’ll go into more detail on how to use ManageWP for updates later on in this guide.
If you don’t want to pay for backups then the free version of UpdraftPlus is a popular option.
It’s popular because it lets you back up to several different locations (e.g. Dropbox), and also has the ability to restore backups in case anything goes wrong.
Building your website on bad hosting is like building a house with dodgy foundations.
We’ve had websites on bad hosting break when being updated, but then when moved to a good host update completely smoothly.
If you have a website that doesn’t get much traffic then a good shared hosting plan will be sufficient. Our go-to for shared hosting is Siteground. We’ve found they’re high performance for the price, and also the support is great.
If you have a website that gets higher traffic you’ll need a more expensive dedicated server. These don’t need to cost a lot, but will be more than shared hosting and will depend on how many concurrent users you expect to have. Our preferred cloud hosting provider is Cloudways, as they’re easy to use, very powerful, and has great support. We use them on all our websites and consistently get load times of under 1 second with Divi.
It you’d like more hosting recommendations, check out the Divi Hosting Facebook group. Just make sure to search the group to see if your question has been answered, as it likely already has.
Using a WordPress security plugin protects your site from malware, brute force attacks, and hacking attempts.
It’s an essential plugin on any Divi website.
If you’re on a budget, then we recommend the free version of WordFence.
If you need some more features and are happy to invest in your security, then iThemes Security is a great option and is what we use on all our websites.
Good quality plugins
Every time you add a new plugin to your website you’re adding another:
– thing that could break
– potential security vulnerability
– potential incompatibility issue
So it’s important to be confident you’re using good quality plugins so none of the above is an issue.
For example: if you use a plugin that hasn’t been updated recently, and then a new version of your theme comes out and it’s no longer compatible, you then can’t update anything or you risk breaking the whole website!
Before adding any plugin, make sure it has good ratings on WP Hive.
Daily maintenance tasks
Website backups are like having a save point in a game. If anything goes wrong you then have a working version of your website to go back to.
You should be taking backups every day, and also before you do any form of software updates to your website (i.e. plugins, theme, WordPress core updates).
Most hosts will offer backups, but they usually only store them for 30 days so if your website broke over a month ago and you didn’t realize then you might be out of luck.
That’s why you should also use a 3rd party backup solution and store your backups in a different location to your server.
Both let you schedule backups daily, which is the right frequency for most sites.
Just like a house, there’s always a potential security risk with your website. So it’s important to be notified as soon as something does happen.
All good security plugins will have the option to set up notifications for a range of security issues.
You just need to decide how severe the issue needs to be before you get notified, as often the plugin will have blocked the attack but still notify you that it happened, which can get a bit repetitive in your inbox.
Websites can go down for all sorts of reasons, from server maintenance to some badly written code. So it’s important to know when this happens as it could be a disruption to your visitors.
If you’re using ManageWP, you can add on uptime monitoring as a feature for $0.70 a month which lets you check automatically every minute.
If you’d like a free option then checkout Uptime Robot which lets you check automatically every 5 minutes on the free plan.
Weekly maintenance tasks
Not performing regular software updates is the most common issue we come across when taking on new clients.
It often isn’t explained when a web designer hands over the website, but regular updates are critical to keeping your website working and secure. If you haven’t updated your site recently and it’s still working correctly, consider yourself very lucky!
As we outlined in the intro to this guide, updating your site can be a stressful experience when something goes wrong, but it doesn’t need to be.
Here’s the steps we use for stress-free updating:
Step 1: Set up your website on ManageWP. You can use the free account, but this method works better with the $2 backup add-on.
Step 2: Perform a safe update of your plugins. Safe update means it take a backup right before the updates so you have a save point to go straight back to if something goes wrong. After this update, ManageWP will show you a before & after screenshot of your homepage so you can compare them and make sure it all looks the same. If it does, move on to step 3. If it doesn’t, simply click “restore” and you’ll have your working website back from before the updates.
Step 3: Repeat this process for your themes (if there are any).
Step 4: Repeat again for WordPress core
If anything goes wrong, wait a few days and then try again. Sometimes when there’s a new WordPress core update, plugins need to update so they work with the new version, so you might need to give the developers a few more days to implement the updates.
If you’re still getting issues then you might need to talk to your web designer to see if they can spot the issue.
If you’re keeping your website up to date and using reputable plugins, then your risk of malware is low, but it’s still something you need to be aware of.
You can schedule a weekly scan and receive the report via email with most security plugins.
Do visual checks
For a lot of businesses, your website is the face of the business. It’s the first impression for potential customers and can make or break a sale.
If your website clearly has parts that aren’t working correctly or look broken, that could be enough to turn potential customers off.
To avoid this, each week you should have a click around your website to make sure it looks as it should and you’re happy with the way your business is being presented online.
Whenever you update the software on your website or add a new script, there’s always the possibility there’ll be incompatibility and something will break.
This is easy to spot and fix when it’s visual, but less obvious when it’s to do with how your website functions.
For any website which uses forms to generate leads or inquiries from customers, it’s VERY important that these forms work! Imagine your leads drying up one month and you have no idea why, then you realize people have been trying to get in contact with you but your form has let you down, and you’ve lost $XXXXX in revenue that month. Not a good feeling.
That’s why after any updates you should always check your forms are still sending. Make sure to check on a browser where you’re not logged in to the site as well, as sometimes forms work differently for logged-in users.
Monthly maintenance tasks
Clean your database
Your database is where all the information on your website is stored. Every time you add something new (e.g. a plugin or page) to your website, it’ll add new rows to your database.
Over time, you’ll start to accumulate data that you aren’t even using anymore (e.g. from uninstalled plugins), which can slow down your website.
To avoid this clutter, you should optimize your database each month.
Many performance plugins (e.g. WP Rocket) have this as a feature, so if you’re using one make sure to check first as to not have 2 plugins that serve the same purpose.
If you don’t have a plugin that already does this, check out WP Optimize.
Remove unused plugins
As we talked about above, every plugin you have on your site is a potential weak point, so if you have a plugin you aren’t using it’s an unnecessary weakness.
Each month do a quick audit to see if there are any plugins not in use anymore which you could remove.
Run performance tests
Having a website that loads fast isn’t just important for a good user experience, but it’s also a key ranking factor in deciding where you appear in the search results.
There are many tools out there which you can use to keep track of how your website is performing. Our 3 favorite are:
– Page Speed Insights
If you run your website through any of those it’ll tell you what can be done to improve the performance.
We also have written an in-depth guide on speed optimization for Divi websites called Is Divi Fast?
Check for broken links
Sometimes websites you link to shut down, or the owner decided to change the URL and doesn’t set up a re-direct, which results in you having broken links on your website.
Google doesn’t like this, as it’s a sign of an unkempt website, and they want to only show the best sites to people who search there.
Luckily you don’t have to go through each link one by one, Broken Link Checker will do this for you for free.
Managing your Divi website might seem overwhelming at the start, but with the right tools and checklist to go through, it should only take you a few hours each month to make sure your site is performing as it should.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a worry-free website you could also use a managed service like Divi Lift. Our plans start at $99pm for a fully managed service where we do everything outline in this guide, as well as 1 hour of content updates each month.