WordPress is taking over the internet.
About 15.9 million websites use WordPress, nearly 50,000 WordPress.com sites are launched every day, and 17 new blog posts are published on WordPress sites every second.
With stats like that, it’s fair to say that WordPress is one of the most popular blog and website content management systems in the world. It’s also one of the most stable options for companies of all sizes and shapes to connect with their public. However, even with all of the laudable characteristics, there are still a few issues that almost everyone will run into at least once — unless they are aware of how to avoid them.
Here are five easy-to-fix WordPress issues you’re likely to encounter as well as some ways you can avoid common problems before they affect your website’s performance.
Pages Load Slowly
There are several things that can slow down your website speed (you can run a free speed test at WebPageTest). First, make sure your web hosting service isn’t the problem. You need one that has the technology, staff, and support team to ensure that your site is available, secure, and responsive 24 hours a day. That’s one of the reasons WordPress recommends Bluehost.
If you’re positive that your hosting partner isn’t the source of the problem, make sure you aren’t using too many categories unnecessarily. While breaking your web content into smaller pieces for easy search and management tasks is a good idea, too many categories can work against you by diminishing SEO success and page load time. To eliminate the problem, reduce the number of categories you use in favor of classifying content with tags. Simply go to “Posts” on the left-hand column and then click on “Tags” to write your tags and update the content.
Open Source Is Risky
Although most people agree that WordPress is great because the open source CMS draws expertise from millions of code engineers and end users to keep it constantly moving toward perfection, others worry about online security. Since everyone is invited to participate in the ongoing development, that means some nefarious characters might find their way in — corrupting the code on individual pages and hijacking personal information.
The best preventative action is to install patches and fixes immediately. It’s a great idea to refresh your WordPress site once a week to allow the automatic updates to post. You can also utilize security plugins like BulletProof Security and Exploit Scanner that look for vulnerabilities by scanning your site files, comments, and database records.
Theme Edits Disappear
It’s frustrating to spend a lot time time customizing your theme only to return later to find that all your updates are gone. Did you save your work? You would be surprised at the number of people who preview their changes (which is always a good idea) and then back out without saving all that hard work. If you’re positive that you saved your changes, however, and they didn’t stick, here are a few ways to make sure that doesn’t happen again (or recover quickly if it does):
- Keep an update log where you record the time, date, and code for any changes you’ve applied. This way, if you accidentally forget to save or something else goes wrong, you won’t have to start from scratch.
- Create a child theme to edit style.css and templates as well as remove or add new scripts and functions.
- Install Jetpack, activate Custom CSS, and make edits through Appearance > Edit CSS. Once you reach the /* welcome message, simple add your edit code after the message or delete everything except “/*” and add your script to replace the default message. Note: It is always a good idea to install Jetpack when you first build a website because the plugin has tons of advantages for people who want to control the appearance and function of their website intimately.
- If you’re already using Jetpack and Custom CSS tools, remember that the CSS Revisions module keeps an archive of the most recent revisions. You can always restore a previously-saved edit session by visiting the editor, navigating to CSS Revisions, and clicking on past versions to check for deletions and additions. Follow this path: Editor > CSS Revisions > Restore when you find the version to which you want to revert.
WordPress Changes Via “Editor” Aren’t Sticking
When you are trying to make changes through Appearance > Editor but these changes aren’t making visible, “permanent” changes, the problem might be because your server permission settings are blocking the updates. Permission settings control who can access individual files to read, write, or execute commands. Unauthorized access attempts generate an error message.
If you’re an experienced coder or IT professional, review the different techniques to see which settings are causing the problem. If you had a professional set up your website, contact him or her to ask if server permissions are causing the issue. You might also just need to clear your browser cache. Every browser uses a slightly different path to clear the cache, so click the link below that best fits your tech setup.
- Chrome for PC
- Firefox / Safari / Chrome for MAC
- Internet Explorer 11 for PC
- Clear the cache on Opera
Encountering Server-Side Cache Problems
To prevent recurring caching problems, install a high-quality cache plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. It’s easy to fix the caching problem mentioned in step four, but sometimes there is a server-side problem that requires a phone call to your service provider. First, try to empty your /temp directory. If that fails to correct the problem, reach out to your web server partner.
There are some known WordPress issues, but those stats at the beginning of this article don’t lie: building a website with open source technology is still an excellent choice. If you’d like to discuss self-hosting WordPress service packages for your small business, give Bluehost a call.