Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Monthly maintenance for Joomla (and other) sites.

The days of building static websites are long gone. Today’s websites need a lot more care and constant attention.

I build websites using Joomla, however the principle is the same regardless of the platform: WordPress, Drupal etc.   Today’s platforms are applications that need to be updated for functionality but more importantly, for security.   Hackers are constantly trying to find security holes that would allow them to take over a site.  See my discussion on Pharma Hacks for details on the hacker mindset.

I strongly encourage my clients to allow for 1 to 2 hours a month to review the site. Assuming that the site has all necessary extensions already installed, the process is.

  • Back up the site before beginning.
  • Bring the Joomla core up to date
  • Check Akeeba Admin Tools pro security exception logs (Or other tools such as Securitycheck Pro)
  • Update any extensions.
The steps above will ensure that the site is running the latest, most secure versions of the Joomla core and extensions.
I then check the site with the following tools:
  • Google Analytics – Look for any unexplained changes in traffic
  • Google Webmaster Tools – Look for malware, mobile compatibility, sitemap, crawl errors. Also look at incoming links (See my link to the Pharma Hack above). Look for evidence of 404 errors and address as needed.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools – Check crawl rate and sitemaps.
  • site speed test – Check to make sure that the load times for the home page are consistent (and look for improvement possibilities such as caching)
  • Google’s mobile readiness tool – Make sure that the site is mobile ready.
After the changes are made, I run another akeeba backup, download that and make it available to the client to keep for safekeeping.
Some other things to look at are
  • Review the cpanel logs.
  • Look for unused table prefixes in phpmyadmin (Be VERY careful about deleting tables)
  • Use domain/dns tools to check the site’s domain name
  • Check the expiration dates of the domain name registration.
  • Delete any unused extensions (again, USE CAUTION)
  • Test any forms or shopping carts on the site.
  • Test with browsers and mobile devices.
  • Randomly check pages for proper title, description and keyword metadata.
My experience is that is is far less expensive and much more effective in the long run to keep a site properly maintained rather than try to do a massive update/review once a year.

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