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What to Do if a Website is Down

Website Died While Updating Plugins

headstone, cemetery, graveWhat to Do if a Website is Down!

A website died recently while I was updating plugins. Even though I have updated websites for many years this was the first time it had happened to me.

Luckily I always follow a procedure that ensures it is only a small upset. Not the loss of the entire website as it so easily could be!

Updating Your WordPress Website

It does not seem to be a well-known fact about WordPress websites but parts of them need to be updated regularly. These are the plugins, the theme and the version of WordPress you are using.

Many people wonder why you would bother when the website is working fine without these changes. You’re nodding your head and asking why, aren’t you?

Regular readers of my blog will occasionally see where I put out warnings about potential security risks. This is when a backdoor has been discovered in some plugins. Or even in WordPress itself. If you have an old version of these then you leave your website at risk.

It is relatively easy for hackers to see which plugins you are using and even which version. If they know the backdoor is there you are in trouble.

There is also the fact that search engines are always being updated themselves. For this, you need to keep pace with your website.

What should you be doing to update your Website?

Regular updates. Set an hour each week to go into the backend of your website. Update the plugins, theme, and WordPress as is necessary. When doing so please follow these steps.

  1.  Make a backup of your website. I really like ALL-in-One WP Migration.(Alternatively using your Plesk desk you should be able to set up a regular backup system. Best to do this at a quiet traffic time so as not to upset users. – This is where I am going to give the hosting company I use a plug. Web Core Cloud. I find their Plesk very handy to use and they have made so many different sections just so easy. I have used 7 different hosting companies for different clients and Web Core Cloud wins!)
  2. Update WordPress if necessary.
  3. Start updating your plugins, one at a time. Keep a record of which ones you have updated. This is so if your website crashes you will know which one caused it.
  4. Update your theme if necessary.
  5. If you are finished and everything is working well, make a new backup!

I would recommend you keep the last backup in the cloud. Dropbox or Mega are good choices. Mega can be found at Google Extensions and gives you 50GB free storage so worth checking out.

You don’t have to keep very many of these backups. The last 2 or 3 and delete the rest. If something happens to your hosting’s server and their backups, you will be glad you did!

What to Do if a Website is Down!

website crashed

Unfortunately, the odd time when updating a WordPress website a newer version of a plugin or theme will cause the website to crash. This is where a nice Plesk desk makes life easier.

  • You will need to delete the website from the hosting. This is in your File Manager section.
  • Place a new version of WordPress on your hosting. Again in your File Manager section. Depending on who supplies your hosting this can be anywhere from REALLY easy to REALLY awkward.
  • Now simply install ALL-in-One WP Migration and use it to upload your saved website.
  • Update all the safe plugins. Now while not updating the plugin that caused the crash last time, finish updating the rest of them. Keep track of them as before just in case the website crashes again.

What about the bad plugin?

First, contact the plugin makers. Especially if it is a paid plugin! They will hopefully be able to come up with a fix very quickly.

If it is not a paid plugin you might be on your own.Or not! Some builders are better than others and will work quickly to fix their broken plugin.

If they are not interested you do have a few choices.

  • Firstly, check it up online and see if any good samaritan has put up a fix. ( Watch out for any dodgy code! You don’t want to give someone a backdoor into your website!)
  • Secondly, you can use a different plugin. There is always an option to use a different plugin with WordPress as there are so many of them. Unfortunately, if the plugin is a large section of your website this may mean a lot of work.
  • Thirdly, if there have been no security alerts about the plugin it might be worth the risk of leaving it until you are getting a lot of work done on the website. This is the normal option for businesses that don’t like spending money on their websites.

There is, of course, the fourth choice. You can contact a company like ours that do website maintenance and we can do the work for you. At an affordable rate! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Seriously, if you would like to have a chat you can call us on 089 479 9227

or just use our contact form.