One of the things that’s super frustrating is to find out that your site is down. Doesn’t matter the reason, it’s time when your readers and customers are not going to your site and getting your content or purchasing your products.

Today I’m going to talk about the plan I use with clients to keep their site up and running and how I help them have 24/7support for their site, even when I’m out of town or hiking in the mountains.

Hosting

My host of choice is Siteground particularly their ‘GoGeeky’ plan. It’s inexpensive and their caching is fast.

Their support is amazing, with tickets being resolved often times within minutes of being submitted. I’ve put in 3 tickets to Siteground and had them all resolved in the time it’s taken other hosts to simply respond to a ticket they had an 8 hour head start on.

Honourable mentions here go to WP Engine and Page.ly. I’ve been on both services before and chose to head over to Siteground because it had some ‘nerdy’ features that neither of the two options above had.

It’s quite likely that you don’t know what WP CLI is or how to use it in which case none of those nerdy features matter to you and either of the 2 options above are great places you should look at.

15814225555_a71d0bb943_o

Support

I’m not setup for 24/7 support. Your first line of defence here is your host which is a reason I recommend Siteground since they are so fast.

But what if it’s something that Siteground can’t quite take care of? What if you need a bit more than they can take care of?

Here is where WP Site Care comes in. This is an awesome team of WordPress professionals that can help you 24/7 with small issues on your site. They provide security monitoring, plugin updates, SEO Optimization and a few other awesome things.

I set all my long term clients up with this service so that when I’m away on the weekend and they have something their host can’t help with they have a resource to work with.

Backup

For backup I take a 2 pronged approach. My first stop (if you’re only going to use one service) is VaultPress. VaultPress provides a nearly realtime backup of your site. So that means a few minutes after you add the latest blog post, it’s backed up.

My second stop is to set clients up on Manage WP. Here I setup 3 snapshot backups for them. One is a daily full site backup and the other 2 are set at different times of the day to catch the database (all your posts, pages and content but not the images you uploaded).

I choose two options because the chances of both of them going down and not backing up is very small. I choose offsite options because if your server has a hack it’s entirely possible that the backups on your server will be also compromised in some way and then you have no ‘clean’ copy of your site.

I choose automatic backup options because there is no way anyone is going to remember to back up the sites every day many times a day. You’ll forget and when you forget something will happen and you’ll need a backup and you won’t have one.

Now none of these options absolve you from going in and making sure that the backups are actually happening. I put it on my schedule to log in to Manage WP once a week and make sure that the backups are working.

Again, the times you don’t check are the times you’re going to find that they were not happening automatically and then you will have an issue and you won’t have a backup.

Updates

Unfortunately many clients miss this crucial part of making sure that their site stays online. It’s not uncommon for me to get a panicked call from someone I worked with a year ago and they have been hacked and they want me to fix things.

When I check the site out, nothing has been updated since I worked on the site.

You need to keep your plugins and themes and WordPress itself up to date all the time. In all the years I’ve been building WordPress sites there are only a handful of times that an upgrade has actually done anything ‘bad’ to a site and even then it’s been so minor we just turned off the plugin and figured out a solution.

If you’re running an older version of WordPress then you can be sure that you have known security issues on your site and you’re choosing to run an insecure Web site.

For those of you running eCommerce businesses (which is most of my clients) you actually need to keep it all up to date to stay abreast of PCI guidelines. If you have a security breach and client information gets out then you could lose your merchant account, which means no more charging plastic.

Yup that’s pretty serious.

Since we have multiple types of backup running we know that we can fairly easily roll back to ‘stable’ version of a site which means that having an update go ‘bad’ is really of little consequence.

Keep your sites up to date and you’re going to resolve most issues that people have with uptime. I update client sites once a week which is enough to stay on top of any updates that need to be done.

There you have it, you now know my ‘secret’ method to have the highest possible uptime on my client sites. You can see how I make sure they are backed up and how often I keep them up to date to do our best to make sure that security issues aren’t found on the site.

photo credit: julochka cc

Posted by Curtis McHale