It is very easy to make mistakes when it comes to maintaining a website, and a lot of aspects and nuances to constantly keep in mind. For this reason, even experienced website administrators and developers make mistakes from time to time. Below we list some of the most common reasons why user errors cause WordPress websites to fail.
Too many active plugins
It is very subjective to say you have too many or too few plugins, it really depends on what they do and how many resources they require. Every active plugin is automatically loaded each time a request is sent to your website: a few plugins do nothing, some trigger minor occasional executions, while others perform “heavy duty” executions. These plugins can drain your website performance and eventually cause a bad user experience or fatal crashes. You must know your website’s capabilities and be very selective about which plugins to use. Ideally, you should first consult with professional developers.
Plugins should mostly be used to monitor websites or to delegate routine tasks but never as a “magic fairy” solving your every problem.
Misuse of caching plugins
Default WordPress installations do not have any caching mechanism utilized by the end user. There is only the core cache used internally to store data retrieved from the database or external sources. However, you can find a few caching plugins online that extend this functionality. Promising a great boost in website performance, they mask and delay problems rather than solving them. Ideally, you should never use caching plugins unless you fully understand how they work and what exactly you need to cache. 99% of the time there is no need to install caching plugins.
It is very important to keep your server up-to-date, and sadly is not the general case. Users tend to install the website once and use only the WordPress dashboard to manage website content, update plugins, core and themes. This is why so many websites are still running on PHP 5.2 when PHP 7.1 is available and is 10 times faster. Many plugin developers create new versions with features introduced in the latest PHP versions and if you do not keep your server up-to-date, eventually this might cause your website to go down.
Too concernED about security
Please don’t get us wrong, security is a very pivotal aspect of a healthy website lifecycle. However, you have to keep two things in mind. First is user experience: by adding complex captures and extra verification steps, you provide a bad user experience. Secondly, security plugins have a tendency to move fast and aggressively with new updates. A lot of times these plugins cause errors on your website because they simply do not have enough time to test everything. In our CodePinch database of errors, security plugins are one of the greatest source of PHP errors. We recommend you learn about security first and then follow best practices rather than blindly relying on security plugins.
A great Russian proverb states “He, who likes skiing downhill, must enjoy skiing uphill.” For us, this means if you enjoy having your website, you also have to enjoy proper web maintenance. Relying on other plugins to solve your website performance and quality will eventually cause errors – considering you’re no longer in charge of the goings-on inside your website. Plugins should mostly be used to monitor websites or to delegate routine tasks but never as a “magic fairy” solving your every problem; it simply does not work. Follow best practices and keep your website up-to-date and you will be just fine.