WordPress Maintenance

Keep your WordPress site steady on updates - detect errors before your users do

Updating plugins, themes and WordPress

This task can seem trivial at first, all you have to do it click Update on the backend and it's all smooth sailing from there on, right?

Well yes, in a perfect world that would be the case. But like everything else, things go can go wrong when updating things in your WordPress installation. If you've read this far, you're likely keen on keeping your updates headaches to a minimum. Keep on reading and we'll let you know how to do that.


How do you know if something has changed on your website after an update?

The short answer to that question is: you don't.

You can check the site manually, but even on a small site it can be difficult to remember exactly how things looked and functioned before the update. On medium and large sized sites, it becomes more or less impossible to keep track of changes manually.

Automated tests are needed to check if something changed either its appearance or functionality. We use Visual Regression Testing to check the front end, and script tests to verify back end functionality.

Available updates in the WordPress dashboard. How to perform them and ensure nothing has changed after they are done?

How do we detect changes on the front end?

Visual Regression Testing

We use Visual Regression Testing to detect changes on the front end after an update. Visual Regression Testing is basicially comparing the before and after states with each other and pointing out the difference between the two.

In order to detect changes after updates, we need a baseline, which is the before state. We then need to compare the baseline to the new state. Doing this will detect any changes to the front end.

Before Visual Regression Testing before state
After Visual Regression Testing after state
Difference Visual Regression Testing difference between before and after
 

Video showing how we compare before and after states visually.

More about Visual Regression Testing »

 

How do we ensure functionality before and after updates?

Automated functionality tests

We use Automated tests in a cloud based headless browser to automatically test website functionality before and after updates.

Tests can cover almost anything like logging into WordPress, creating a new post, or ordering a product from your online store.

 

Video showing automated test to verify that logging into WordPress and creating a new post works.

 

Where do we perform the updates?

 
We always perform updates on a staging server or ghost copy of the site first.

STAGING/GHOST SITE


If everything goes well on the staging server or ghost copy, then we can move on to updating the production site.

PRODUCTION SITE

 

Conclusion: Our WordPress updates process

 
Clone production site to a temporary location or use an exact copy on a staging site
Screenshot entire cloned site to be able to compare it to the after state
Run automated backend functionality tests to ensure everything is working before we begin updates
Update WordPress, themes and plugins on staging site
Screenshot entire site again and compare before and after states to detect any changes (Visual Regression Testing)
Run backend functionality tests again to ensure functionality after updates
If everything checks out on the staging site then the same process is applied on the production site
This method is by far the most safe and secure way to update your production WordPress site. It will detect any changes on the frontend, and backend problems will be discovered by a combination of automated and manual tests.
 

Our maintenance products

  • Maintenance

  • $55/month or $550/year
  • Keep your site running smoothly without any headaches
  • Daily backups
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Monthly updates of WordPress/plugins/themes
  • Updates on ghost copy of site prior to updating production site
  • Visual Regression testing to detect any front-end changes
  • Automated tests to check backend-end functionality (4 included)
  • Manual tests to check backend-end functionality (2 included)
  • Support via email, Slack or Hangouts
  • 30 minutes of fixes or general development per month
  • Security plugin with firewall
  • ORDER NOW »
  • Maintenance + Page Speed + Security package

  • $800
  • 1 year Maintenance plus everything included in the Page Speed and Security packages. Save 15%.
  • ORDER NOW »

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