As we dive into the New Year, we can’t think of a better time than now to make sure your server is humming along to the best of its abilities.
Like most things in life, your servers need to be looked after every now and then for optimal performance. Here’s some easy maintenance steps we can suggest for clients to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Server Maintenance Checklist for 2020
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. 1 in 4 businesses don’t reopen after a data disaster.
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 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, etc, it’s always best to update to the most current installation as they often 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. Ensure your control panel is upgraded to the latest version. Note that once a version enters End of Life, there will be no more installations, fixes, or patches available, so upgrading is important. You may even want to take inventory and see what other panels are out there; a few weeks ago, we posted an in-depth comparison article featuring InterWorx, cPanel, and Plesk, so you can determine which control panel is best suited for your operations.
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 those unsure if they need RAID, or which configuration is best for your server set-up, we recently did a deep dive on that subject.
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 need to consider upgrading your server. Perhaps consider an autoscaling cloud server that protects against traffic spikes, so your website is always available. You can view all this in the “Resource Usage” section if you have a HostDime CORE account.
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? HTTP sites that have yet to switch over to HTTPS or else visitor browsers will see a “Not Secure” next to the URL. Even when visitors arrive to apache.org, the 80th most viewed website in the world, they are greeted with this at the top:
This doesn’t inspire the greatest vote of confidence when someone is visiting your website. Websites with HTTP connections are labeled to warn users that their passwords and credit card data may be compromised.
9. Clean out e-mail and combat spam. Save server space by cleaning out your e-mail if you are not in the habit of deleting them immediately. Also, removing old email addresses that are no longer in use will not just save space as well, but alleviate spam. Speaking of, if you are having a problem with spam and/or reputation, consider checking out HostDime’s new e-mail filter. This removes spam from your mail in our cloud first, ensuring only clean mail goes to and from your mail accounts.
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. For more helpful tips, check out this article for more ways to stay secure.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content & SEO Strategist.