Happy December 1st everyone! As we prepare for the end of the year, now is as good a time as any to make sure your server is humming along to the best of its abilities.
Like most things in life, servers need to be looked after every now and then for optimal performance. Here’s some easy maintenance steps for clients to ensure everything is running smoothly.
The End of the Year Server Maintenance Checklist
1. Backup your data. If you listen to just one thing in this article, let it be “backup your data”. Always be proactive when it comes to your business.
Luckily you can automate monthly cPanel backups easily. To enable this, head to your WHM account, go to “Backup” and then “Backup Configuration”. Select “Enable” for the “Backup Status” setting. Then select your preferred settings for the Backup Configuration feature.
WHM has various “Scheduling and Retention” settings that let you specify when the backup process runs. Choose between daily, weekly, or monthly backups, or a combination of the three settings. Your system then creates a backup on the day you choose.
It is strongly recommend that you save your backups to a remote location in addition to the local destination. A second secure location is preferred in case of hardware failure, data corruption, or human error. HostDime offers in-house remote storage as an add-on to your server account.
We have a ton of resources dedicated to data backup. Check out the following links if interested:
- Backup Primer – Read this first!
- How to Back Up Your Clients’ Accounts Automatically
- How to Configure Backups on a Dedicated Server
- How to Backup Your Database
- How to Configure Remote Backups in cPanel
- How to Configure a Full cPanel Backup through SSH
2. Ensure your CMS is current. Whether you use WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or some other CMS, it’s always best to update to the most current installation as they often come include much needed security improvements. Remember to perform a complete backup before updating, just in case something breaks.
3. Update all plugins and themes. Take a look at your can’t-live-without plugins and see if a new version is ready for download. Update the plugins you are using and delete the ones you don’t need. Eliminate unused third party plugins that slow down and bloat your site.
4. Upgrade your control panel. Look every few months and see if your control panel needs to be upgraded to the latest version. For example, as you can see in the chart below, cPanel releases a new version about every four months. Note that once a version enters End of Life, there will be no more installations, fixes, or patches available, so upgrading is important.
5. Check RAID alarm. For you RAID users, check to make sure you didn’t miss a notification regarding any sort of disk failure. Some RAID levels will only accept a single disk failure before it stops working. For more information on RAID and to check out a nifty calculator, head here.
6. Monitor Server Resources. Make sure you are not near peak resource limit by taking a look at your server’s CPU, RAM, and disk. If there’s nothing you can remove, you may consider upgrading your server.
7. Consolidate and archive old content. Now would be a good time to take stock of the backend of your site and remove any web scripts, databases, or other files that are no longer in use or needed.
8. Have you made the HTTPS switch yet? Google Search Console has begun sending out warnings to sites that have not yet migrated to HTTPS. If you don’t want your visitors receiving that message, you must install an SSL.
9. Clean out e-mail. Get in the habit of cleaning out your e-mail once a month if you are not in the habit of deleting them immediately. Also, remove old email addresses that are no longer in use to crack down on spam issues and save some server space.
10. Change and diversify old passwords. It’s a good habit to change you and your clients passwords every few months. Also it’s a bad idea to have the same password for most of your company’s logins. If one password is comprised, a hacker would have carte blanche over your data. Here’s the ultimate guide to creating a strong password and why this is necessary to keep your data from danger.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content & SEO Strategist.
HostDime.com, Inc. is a global data center company offering an array of cloud products which include managed services for scalable cloud storage, dedicated servers, VPS (Virtual Private Servers), and colocation.