(Maintenance Plans) The success of WordPress is undeniable. Since it was released in 2003, the open-source platform has grown to become one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) for websites.
As a result, there are now different maintenance plans that people interested in keeping their site up-to-date can subscribe to.
The reason having your software updated is important, however, is due to the fact that it can improve security and functionality.
1. What Is A Maintenance Plan?
Maintenance plans are subscription services provided by certain hosting companies, whose goal is to keep your WordPress software up-to-date.
This will include not only the core but also some plugins, themes, and extensions that you have installed on your site. If any of these become out of date for whatever reason, they will be updated automatically.
It is important to note that most of the time, you will not be able to choose which plugins or extensions are updated.
Sometimes, they can even replace ones that you use with others that the host company prefers. However, when you choose a WP maintenance service, you will usually have the option of reporting a plugin or extension to be excluded from updates.
This way, if there is one that you are particularly concerned about, you can avoid it being automatically changed or removed.
When a WordPress hosting service offers a maintenance plan, they will usually send you notifications when it’s time to update your software.
All of the updates that occur through these plans usually happen overnight while you sleep so you won’t have to worry about the site being down for too long.
2. Types of Maintenance Plans
Although there are many different WordPress maintenance plans, most of them can be classified into one of three distinct types.
The first type is the free plan. While this may seem like a dream come true, most providers will limit what they offer for free.
For example, you might be able to keep the latest version of WP without paying anything. You would, however, need to upgrade in order to get updates for plugins and extensions.
The second type is the fully managed plan, which means that your host will handle most of the updating on their own.
Usually, they will take care of notifying you when there is an update and also make sure it goes live at night when nobody is using the site.
On the other hand, if there is a problem with something after an update, they will handle it for you.
The last type of plan is one where your host offers support but the updates are done by you or somebody that you hire.
This plan tends to be more expensive since your host would have to keep staff members on hand to help you with updating rather than having to do it themselves.
3. Free Maintenance Plan
With this option, you will usually be able to update both the core version of WP as well as certain plugins and extensions automatically.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to choose which plugins or extensions are updated as it will usually be the choice of your hosting company.
Furthermore, if there is a problem with one of those updates, they might not help you solve the issue unless it’s critical.
An example of an update problem that would be considered critical is if an updated plugin or extension causes your site to go offline.
However, if you are having issues with the functionality of a website, they might not notice it unless you contact them about it.
While this type of plan does offer some benefits like saving money and time spent on manually updating, it would be best to get a fully managed plan whose updates are completely handled by the hosting company.
However, if you want to save money, you could start out with this option and upgrade later when your site starts to need more features.
4. Fully Managed Maintenance Plan
With this type of update plan, your host would usually take care of notifying you when there is a new version available and then ensure that it goes live during a time when nobody is using your site.
If there is a problem with the update that prevents it from going live, they would handle it for you and ensure that the issue gets fixed as soon as possible.
With this type of plan, you will usually be able to choose which plugins or extensions get updated and also keep track of how often those updates occur.
One benefit of this type of plan is that your host will usually keep track of which plugins or extensions are most frequently used on your site.
If there happen to be some plugins that you use often, they might suggest replacing them with something better.
Furthermore, if you need help with WordPress-related issues, the hosting company would most likely have staff members on hand to resolve problems immediately.
The last benefit of choosing this type of plan is that your host would keep track of your site backups in case anything serious happens, like a hack attack or malware infection.
Although you might still have to pay extra if anything goes wrong, you will not have to worry about the hosting company dragging their feet or trying to get out of paying.
5. Self-Managed Maintenance Plan
With this type of plan, you will need to take care of all updates yourself. Whether it’s WP or plugins/extensions, the responsibility of keeping your site up to date will be entirely on your shoulders.
While this plan can save you money in the short run if you are taking care of everything yourself, it can be a pain to handle everything.
Additionally, with this plan, you would not only need to make sure the core version of WP remains up to date but also any plugins or extensions.
Moreover, if there happens to be a security issue with one of those updates, you might have trouble finding out about it and would need to become familiar with how to handle those types of problems on your own.
This is a great plan for tech-savvy people or businesses that have their own IT team in-house to take care of website issues.
However, it would be very difficult for people who are not familiar with websites or web hosting in general to use this plan.
While there are many different types of plans available when looking at the three categories above, there are some benefits that go along with each type.
Hardly any business or website owner has unlimited resources to spend on a WordPress hosting plan, so it is important that you choose a plan that will fit your needs and budget the best.
Since options 1 and 2 are all about saving time and money without having to do anything yourself, they might be good choices for people who need help with updating or don’t want to deal with it.
However, choosing option 3 would usually give the customer more control over how often their site gets updated and also who is responsible for making those updates.