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Just like servicing a car, or giving your house a spring clean, WordPress really benefits from a good once-over every now and again to keep it running fast and efficiently. This post rounds up 10 useful plugins that will really help service and maintain your WordPress blog.
Updating the WordPress core, updating plugins and changing your password are all routine tasks that can be done without the help of a plugin, but if you want to go beyond the basic oil check you’ll need some specialist tools. The plugins featured in this post will help you check, scan and backup various behind-the-scenes aspects of WordPress to keep everything in check.
WP Maintenance Mode
Whenever you plan to make changes to your WordPress theme or plugins it’s always worth taking down your blog to avoid any unwanted changes or errors going out to the public. The WP Maintenance Mode plugin allows you to easily let your visitors know your site is down while you’re busy working behind the scenes.
WP Security Scan
Security is crucial for any type of WordPress install. The last thing you want is your blog being exploited or hacked. Repairing the damage and restoring lost content can be time consuming even with the latest backup file, so make sure your install has the right protection. The WP Security Scan plugin checks for vulnerabilities such as file permissions in your website.
Without regular database backups you’re running a huge risk of one day losing years worth of content from your website. A hacking of your website or even your host’s server can result in a loss of everything, sending you back to square one. Database management plugins such as WP-DB Manager not only allow you to set scheduled backups, but also allow you to service and maintain your database by repairing and optimizing tables.
XCloner Backup and Restore
Regular database backups are crucially important, but don’t forget to also make complete files backups every now and again. WordPress core files, themes and plugins can be easily restored, but your uploaded files could be lost forever if your server is wiped. The XCloner plugin provides a useful interface to run a complete backup of both WordPress files and database, which can then be restored using the same plugin.
No doubt you’ll already have Akismet up and running, but don’t forget to check for spam and clear out those flagged comments. The comments table in the database can be one of the largest, so flushing out those unwanted spam messages will help save time during those backups by creating smaller database files.
Post revisions can really bloat a WordPress database, so limiting the number of revisions or clearing out old drafts is important to keep your database files lean. The Revision Control plugins gives you options to set global limits on post and page revisions, as well as buttons to delete old revisions on a per-post basis.
Broken Link Checker
As the content on the web changes you can often find your old posts linking to pages that are no longer available. The Broken Link Checker is a handy plugin that simply checks for broken links and lets you know if any are found. What’s great about this plugin is not only does it check your posts and pages for dead links, but it also checks within comments and looks for missing images.
When you install a plugin or theme it sometimes saves its options in your database. Well-developed plugins will clean up after themselves, but others leave behind orphaned options that do nothing but clog up your DB files. Clean Options is a handy plugin that checks and allows the removal of options that are no longer in use.
User Role Editor
For multi-author blogs or sites that make use of the WordPress users functions it can be difficult to keep track of who has access to what. The User Role Editor builds on top of the default role options, allowing you to quickly tailor each role to your exact specification.
If you run a network of your own sites, or manage WordPress installs on behalf of your clients performing these maintenance tasks on each blog can be very repetitive. The ManageWP plugin acts as a central hub where you can remotely manage your WordPress sites from one dashboard.