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WordPress (WP) websites are a lot like little puppies. If you feed and play with them they will become good dogs. But if you don’t, they will eat your shoes and you will not be happy.

It has been my experience that people focus on the frontend of a website. And I understand why: it’s the pretty part. But for your peace of mind, it is really important to also understand the backend, especially if you have a WP website.

The basics of the backend

A WP website has a set of core files. In order for it to be dynamic, it has a database – a repository of the information that you input using the admin dashboard. The admin dashboard is part of the core files. It’s where you input your content that is saved in the database, which is in turn displayed on the frontend.

A theme wraps around WP’s core files and makes the website look pretty.

For more functionality we add plug-ins. These are little applications or pieces of software that extend the core files and allow you to do lots of things, like run backups, add search engine optimization and security.

Updates are forever

Now that you know all of that, you should also know that WP core files are updated approximately three times a year. And when that happens, the themes and plugins follow suit.

Why does it update so often? Well, for a few reasons, but primarily updates focus on web advancement, bug fixes and security.

WP runs approximately 26% of all websites around the world. This makes it a target for hackers. WP itself is secure – as long as you keep it updated.

Areas of weakness

WP’s core files are one thing, but there are other weak spots such as poor hosting, out of date plugins and themes that are no longer supported by an author. It is important to make sure your hosting is reputable, your plugins and themes are well reviewed, compatible and up-to-date with WP’s core files.

Visit the backend

Help yourself and your WP website by logging in to the admin dashboard and taking a look around. WP, the plugins, and the theme you are using will tell you if they are out of date. However, before you update your website, backup your files, and your database. It’s quick, it’s painless. Don’t be a cowboy!

Help me!

Now, we recognize that all of this information and the things you need to do to keep a WP site up and running can be completely overwhelming for some. Sometimes, it’s like visiting a new country without a map and not knowing how to speak the language. However, a good guide book and just wandering about can be really informative and send you on your way to discovery.

What if I’m still confused and out of time to figure it out, you ask? Do not fear. We’re here to help. Three Loud Crows offers web rescue and ongoing support and maintenance for your website along with other web services.