WordPress Maintenance Checklist

Use this WordPress maintenance checklist to help you perform a complete WordPress maintenance routine.

WordPress Maintenance ChecklistThis tutorial is part of our WordPress Management tutorial series. In this tutorial, we provide a WordPress maintenance checklist to help you perform a complete WordPress maintenance routine.

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WordPress Maintenance Checklist – Putting It All Together

WordPress Maintenance Process

(WordPress Maintenance Process)

If you have followed our WordPress Maintenance Tutorials where we break down each step of the WordPress maintenance process and show you how to perform each task in logical sequence, then it’s time to put it all together.

In this section, you will learn how to put the entire WordPress maintenance sequence together, and download a practical checklist that you can print and follow to help you perform a complete WordPress site maintenance routine.

WordPress Maintenance Checklist

Use the checklist below to complete your WordPress site maintenance:

 Maintenance StepCommentsTutorials

Log into your WordPress site and go to your dashboard

view

Check if WordPress version, plugins, or themes need updatingDon't do this until you backup your site!

view

Check & repair broken links

view

Delete comment SPAMDon't add SPAM to your backup files

view

Delete unwanted media filesDo this every few months

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Log into your hosting accountIgnore this step if using automated backup tool.

view

Optimize and back up your WordPress databaseIgnore this step if using automated backup tool.

view

Backup your WordPress filesIf not using automated backup tools, zip the folder containing both the WordPress files and the SQL data file.

view

Upload backup files to secure offline storage accountIgnore this step if using automated backup tool.

view

Go back into your WordPress Admin

Upgrade WordPress to latest versionOnly if upgrade is required. If automated method doesn't work, use manual method instead.

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Update your WordPress plugins (deactivate/remove unused plugins)Only if upgrade is required. If automated method doesn't work, use manual method instead.

view

Update your WordPress theme(s) (remove unused themes)Only if upgrade is required. If automated method doesn't work, use manual method instead.

view

Log out and test site to make sure everything works ok.

Your WordPress site maintenance is done.
Errors or Problems? Try this ...

Troubleshoot Errors(If required)

view

Restore WordPress Data(If required)

view

Reinstall WordPress Site(If required)

view

Download The WordPress Maintenance Checklist

WordPress Maintenance Process – Video Walkthrough

The video below walks you through a complete WordPress maintenance routine performed live on a WordPress site.

Important Info

As this video was created using an older version of WordPress, the maintenance routine uses manual methods to backup WordPress data and upgrade the WordPress software and plugins. Use the automated backup and upgrade methods we recommend in our tutorials to perform the maintenance process significantly faster.

Congratulations, you have completed our WordPress maintenance tutorials! You should now be able to perform a regular WordPress maintenance routine on your website or blog in just a few minutes and keep your site, plugins, themes, data and files fully up-to-date and backed up.

WordPress Maintenance

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How To Delete WordPress

Learn how to delete your WordPress site and remove your WordPress installation files and data from your domain and server.

How To Delete WordPress SitesThis tutorial is part of our WordPress Management tutorial series. In this tutorial, you will learn how to delete your WordPress site and remove your WordPress installation files and data from your domain and your server.

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How To Delete Your WordPress Site

Do you need to delete your WordPress site or remove your WordPress installation from your domain and server? Complete removal or deletion of a WordPress site involves not only deleting your WordPress installation files but also any WordPress database(s) associated with your site.

This tutorial covers the following WordPress removal methods:

  • How To Delete A Domain Account From A Web Hosting Server
  • Deleting A WordPress Installation Setup Using Script Installers
  • How To Delete Your WordPress Files & Database Using cPanel
  • Deleting Your WordPress Files & Database Using FTP

Why Delete Your WordPress Site?

Some possible reasons for wanting to delete, remove, or uninstall your WordPress site may include:

  • You no longer required your WordPress site (e.g. your site has been moved to a new domain or the domain has expired.)
  • Your WordPress site has been hacked and cannot be fixed, accessed, or repaired easily.
  • You were trying to edit or customize your WordPress site or template files, something has gone terribly wrong, and the error cannot be easily reversed.
  • Your WordPress site has become corrupted; your site data can’t be restored, or a previous backup of your site can’t be reinstalled.
  • You decide that it’s easier to delete your existing WordPress site and build a new or better website from scratch instead.

Important

Before permanently deleting your WordPress site, make sure that this is what you really want to do.

For example:

  • If your existing WordPress site structure is fine but you no longer want the existing content on your site, you can bulk delete posts, pages, categories, tags, links, etc …
  • If your existing WordPress site structure is fine but you are not happy with your site’s design, you can easily change themes.
  • If you are experiencing a problem related to the database and you have a recent backup of your WordPress database, you can simply restore your WordPress database data.

Warning

If you are 100% sure that permanent site deletion is the best decision, then we recommend backing up your site before proceeding any further.

help If you need help backing up your WordPress site, see the tutorials in this training module:

redarrow WordPress Backup Tutorials

How To Remove WordPress

Let’s go over different methods you can use to permanently delete, remove, or uninstall a WordPress site from your domain or server.

Delete The Domain Account From Your Web Hosting Server

Deleting the entire domain containing your WordPress site from your web hosting account is the simplest and easiest way to completely delete a WordPress site.

This process involves terminating a domain account from your server.

Warning

Note: This method essentially “nukes” everything in your domain. Everything associated with your domain will be deleted. This method not only will delete your WordPress site, it will also delete ALL files and scripts associated with the domain account from the server. Only use this method if you are 100% sure about deleting ALL files associated with the domain.Useful Information

In this specific method, we’ll show you how to terminate an account from a server using cPanel. In order to use this method, you will need to either have access to the server’s cPanel administrative console called the WHM (Web Hosting Manager) or ask your web hosting provider to do it for you …

WHM

Having access to your server’s WHM account is not the same as having access to your cPanel user account.

WHM is the administrative console for cPanel-based internet web hosting servers.

Basically, cPanel and WHM is the same software, but “cPanel” refers to the user interface and is accessed by the user to control certain aspects of their webhosting account (e.g. set up emails, edit files, view databases, etc.), and “WHM” refers to the administrator interface, and is accessed by the administrator who manages the server and who needs to set up, control, and manage the cPanel user accounts and logins within the server.

If you are hosting your WordPress site on a shared hosting server plan, then you probably don’t have access to WHM – only cPanel. In this case, we recommend either contacting your web host for this method or using one of the other methods described further below to delete your WordPress site.

If your site is hosted on a dedicated server (i.e. where no one else shares your server – the server is only for you), then you should have access to your WHM account.

If this is the case, then log into your WHM account …

Web Hosting Manager

This will bring you to the WHM control panel …

Web Hosting Manager

Click on the WHM icons, or scroll down the main menu to locate the ‘Account Functions’ section, and then click on ‘Terminate an Account’ …

How To Delete WordPress

In the ‘Terminate an Account’ screen, locate and select the domain you want to delete from the Account Selection > Domains section and click on the Terminate button …

How To Delete WordPress

You will be asked to confirm your decision. Click OK to proceed with the account deletion or ‘Cancel’ to abort …

How To Delete WordPress

Allow a few seconds for the server to run the account termination script.

Once the termination processes have been completed, WHM will notify you that the domain account containing your WordPress installation files and database has been permanently deleted (i.e. removed from the server) …

How To Delete WordPress

The server administrator will also receive an email notification about the domain account termination …

How To Delete WordPress

After the domain account has been terminated, you can verify that your site has been permanently deleted from your server by opening up your internet browser and typing in the domain URL …

How To Delete WordPress

If the account has been terminated successfully, you will get a message telling you that the account does not exist or be presented with a default page from your web host.

Deleting A WordPress Installation Setup Using Script Installers

Use the method shown below if you want to completely remove a WordPress site from a domain without deleting any other files from that domain.

If you have previously installed WordPress using a ‘quick setup’ script installation program like Fantastico or Softaculous, you can remove your WordPress site using the script’s ‘uninstall’ feature …

How To Delete WordPress

In this example, we’ll go through the process of deleting a WordPress site installed using the Fantastico script …

Fantastico

Log into your cPanel area …

cPanel Login

Scroll down to the ‘Software/Services’ section and click on the ‘Fantastico’ button …

Fantastico

In the ‘Fantastico’ screen navigation menu section, click on ‘WordPress’ …

Fantastico - WordPress Installer

The ‘Current Installations’ section displays all WordPress installations for your domain. Locate the WordPress installation you want to delete (if you have multiple WordPress installations) and click on the Remove link …

Fantastico WordPress Installation Removal

(Fantastico WordPress Installation Removal)

Confirm the deletion by clicking on the Remove WordPress button …

Fantastico - WordPress Installer

Fantastico will delete your WordPress files and the WordPress database associated with that installation from your domain …

Fantastico - WordPress Installer

The above process is similar for other WordPress installation scripts (e.g. Softaculous) …

Softaculous WordPress Installation Removal

(Softaculous WordPress Installation Removal)

Delete WordPress Files And Database Using cPanel

If you have manually installed WordPress or if you have installed WordPress using an installation script like Fantastico but have modified the installation files to the point where you can no longer remove your installation as described in the method above, then use the method below to delete your WordPress site.

Deleting a WordPress site using cPanel involves two steps:

  1. Deleting WordPress installation files
  2. Deleting WordPress MySQL database(s)
Step 1 – Delete WordPress Installation Files Using cPanel

To delete your WordPress installation files, log into your cPanel area …

cPanel Login

Click on File Manager in the ‘Files’ section of your administration panel …

cPanel File Manager

After ‘File Manager’ opens in your screen, locate the folder on your server containing your WordPress files and check the Select All check box to select all files …

cPanel File Manager

Important Info

  • Your WordPress files will normally be found inside the ‘public_html’ folder on your server if your WordPress site was installed in the root directory of your domain (e.g. www.mydomain.com).
  • If your WordPress site is located in a subfolder of your domain (e.g. mydomain.com/blog), then your WordPress files will be located in a folder with the same name as the subfolder (e.g. look for a folder called ‘blog’)
  • WordPress files and folders typically start with the prefix “wp-“

Unselect all the ‘non-WordPress’ files that you would like to keep and click on the ‘Delete‘ button in the File Manager menu …

cPanel - File Manager

Click on the Delete File(s) button to proceed, or ‘Cancel’ to abort …

cPanel - File Manager

Your WordPress installation files will now be deleted …

cPanel - File Manager

Now that you have deleted the WordPress installation files, the next step is to delete the WordPress database(s) associated with the site.

Step 2 – Delete WordPress Database(s)

Tutorial

The process for deleting a MySQL database is fully explained in a separate tutorial.

help For step-by-step instructions on how to delete your WordPress site’s MySQL database, see the tutorial below:

redarrow How To Delete A MySQL Database

Delete WordPress Files Using FTP

As an alternative to deleting a WordPress site using cPanel, you can also delete your WordPress site using FTP.

Important

Notes:

We recommend using cPanel to delete WordPress manually from your site if possible. The reasons for this are listed below:

  • Deleting WordPress installation files via FTP is often a slower process than using cPanel’s File Manager.
  • You cannot delete the MySQL database associated with your WordPress site using FTP. To delete your MySQL database, you will need to either log into your hosting account (e.g. cPanel) or ask your web host to do it for you.

As per the previous methods, deleting a WordPress site using cPanel involves two steps:

  1. Deleting WordPress installation files
  2. Deleting WordPress MySQL database(s)
Step 1 – Delete WordPress Installation Files Using FTP

To delete your WordPress installation files, open up your FTP application and connect to your server …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

help If you need help using FTP, see the tutorial below:

redarrow How To FTP Files To Your Server Using Filezilla

Locate the server directory (i.e. the folder) where your WordPress installation files are located.

Typically, if you can see your WordPress site when you visit your domain name (e.g. www.yourdomain.com), then WordPress has been installed in the ‘root’ directory, which you can access by clicking on the ‘public_html’ (or ‘www’) folder. Otherwise, look for a folder called ‘blog’ or whatever the name of the directory where your site has been installed is and click on that folder to view the WordPress files …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

Select all of the WordPress-related folders and files to be deleted. Typically, most of these will contain ‘wp-‘ in the folder or files name (e.g. ‘wp-admin’, ‘wp-content’, ‘wp-includes’, wp-load.php, etc …), but some files won’t (e.g. ‘index.php’, ‘readme.html’, ‘.htaccess’, ‘fantversion.php’, etc …).

Unselect any files that you do not want to delete from your domain and right-click on your selection. Choose Delete from the right-click menu or select whatever the “delete” option on your FTP program is …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

Click OK to proceed with the deletion, or click ‘Cancel’ to abort the process …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

Allow a few minutes for all files to be deleted …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

Your WordPress installation files will be deleted and removed from the FTP screen …

Deleting WordPress Using FTP

After your files have been deleted, you can verify that the WordPress site has been permanently deleted from your server by opening up your internet browser and typing in the domain URL …

How To Delete WordPress

After deleting your WordPress installation files, the next step is to delete your WordPress database.

Step 2 – Delete WordPress Database(s)

As mentioned earlier, you can use FTP to delete your WordPress installation files, but not your MySQL database.

Tutorial

The process for deleting a MySQL database is fully explained in a separate tutorial.

help For step-by-step instructions on how to delete your WordPress site’s MySQL database, see the tutorial below:

redarrow How To Delete A MySQL Database

Congratulations! Now you know how to delete your WordPress site.

How To Delete Your WordPress Site

(Source: Pixabay)

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How To Reinstall Your WordPress Site

Learn how to reinstall your WordPress site in this step-by-step tutorial.

How To Reinstall Your WordPress SiteThis tutorial is part of our WordPress Management tutorial series. In this tutorial, you will learn how to reinstall your WordPress site.

Info

This tutorial cannot help you reconfigure your site’s settings if you have not been performing regular data and file backups of your site, but it will show you how to perform a fresh new WordPress installation and how to re-import the settings and content of your last backup.

help To learn more about creating regular WordPress backups, go here:

redarrow How To Perform WordPress Backups

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How To Reinstall Your WordPress Site

It’s important to know how to reinstall your WordPress site in the event that you cannot get your WordPress blog or website back by reimporting your MySQL data or by re-uploading your backup files.

Reinstalling Your WordPress Site: Step-By-Step Tutorial

How To Install WordPress On Your Domain

If your web hosting service offers cPanel with the Fantastico or Softaculous script installation program, then installing a WordPress site on your domain is a breeze.

If your hosting account does not offer cPanel or have Fantastico installed, you will need to either ask you host provider to install it on your server or install WordPress manually using FTP.

Creating Your WordPress Site Using cPanel And Fantastico

Log into your webhosting account …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

If your webhosting account needs to be recreated from scratch, you may need to go into the ‘Email Accounts’ area in the ‘Mail’ section of your cPanel administration area first and set up your email addresses, aliases, forwarders, usernames, passwords, etc. again.

Set Email Accounts

If you need help with this step, see this tutorial: How To Set Up Email For Your Domain Using cPanel

Click on the Fantastico icon in the ‘Software/Services’ section of your cPanel administration screen …

Fantastico Installation Program

Select WordPress from the installation items menu, and choose ‘New Installation’ to set up a new blog on your domain …

Install WordPress

Fill in the installation setup fields as explained below, then click on Install WordPress

WordPress Set Up

  1. Install in directory field:
    • If installing site as the MAIN SITE on your domain address, then leave this field blank.
    • If installing site as a business blog on an existing site, then enter a name for the subfolder where your blog will be installed (e.g. “blog” without the quote marks – your site will then be installed on domain http://yourdomain.com/blog )
  2. Administrator-username field: Choose a login username for your site’s administration area.
  3. Password field: Choose a password for your site’s administration area.
  4. AdminNickname field: Your nickname will appear as the author of all posts added to your site. Tip: Choose a nickname that contains a keyword related to your business. For example, if you own a Golf-related business, you may want to choose a nickname like “Golf Editor”, “Mike’s Golf Store”, “The Golfing Expert”, etc …
  5. Admin e-mail field: Enter your email address here.
  6. Site Name field: What you enter here will appear as the title of your site (e.g. “Mike’s Golf Store” or www.MikesGolfStore.com)
  7. Description field: What you enter here appears below the title of your site. Tip: Create a keyword-rich description that also makes sense to your site’s visitors (e.g. “Discounted Golf Equipment, Golfing Accessories And Gifts For Golfers”
  8. Click ‘Install WordPress’ when ready.

Complete the installation process by clicking the Finish installation button …

WordPress Installation

Choose ‘Send E-Mail’ to email a copy of your installation details to yourself. These details will include your site’s login and password details …

WordPress Installation

To view your new WordPress installation, click on Back to WordPress overview

WordPress Installation

Click on Visit site

WordPress Installation

Your new site will open in a new browser window …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Congratulations … your WordPress site has now been reinstalled!

Useful Information

Note: If you have installed a WordPress site using Fantastico and need to remove your WordPress installation, then log into the Fantastico application via cPanel, click WordPress under the “Blogs” menu, select the installation you want to remove and click remove. This will delete your files and database and allow you to perform a fresh installation …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

The next step is to re-import your old WordPress site from your backup files. The backup contains your themes, plugins and custom files and folders.

You can re-import your old WordPress backup files automatically using plugins, or manually (see below).

Reimporting WordPress Backup Files Using cPanel

If your webhosting does not offer cPanel, see “Reimporting WordPress Backup Files Using FTP” below.

If you’re still logged into your hosting account, return to your hosting administration area. The screenshot below shows you how to get back to your main cPanel area from the “Fantastico” panel …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Open up File Manager

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click on Upload

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click the Browse button in the ‘Upload files’ screen …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Locate the compressed backup file you would like to reinstall on your hard drive and click Open

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Your file will begin uploading to your server automatically. This may take a few minutes depending on the size of your file …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Wait until the file completes uploading, then close the ‘Upload files’ screen and return to ‘File Manager’ …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click the Reload button to refresh the ‘File Manager’ screen …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Warning

*** VERY IMPORTANT ***

In order for your new installation to work, you must not delete the new “wp-config.php” file.

If you re-import your old backup file without following the steps below, your old file’s “wp-config.php” will overwrite the new file and you will experience errors with your reinstalled site.

These next few steps are very important. The first thing we need to do is make a backup of the newly installed “wp-config.php” file. This file contains important settings and instructions for your site on how to access your new WordPress database.

If this file is deleted, you will not be able to login to your site. You will have to delete your WordPress installation and start all over again.

Select the wp-config.php file …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click Download

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

A pop-up screen will appear. Make sure it is set to ‘Save File’ and click Ok to continue …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Locate the WordPress backup folder in your hard drive and click Save to download your file …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Your new wp-config.php file is now safely backed up.

Return to ‘File Manager’ and select wp-config.php again …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

With the wp-config.php file selected, click on Rename

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Rename the wp-config.php file to make the file name slightly different. In the example below, we have simply added an “-a” to the file name. Click Rename File to continue …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Now that you have safely backed up and renamed your wp-config.php file, you are ready to continue the process of reinstalling your old WordPress site files.

Select the compressed backup file you recently uploaded and click Extract

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

When the ‘Extract’ pop-up window appears on your screen, click on Extract File(s)

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

After all of your files have decompressed, a pop-up window will appear on your screen letting you know the process has been completed.

Click Close to close the ‘Extraction Results’ window …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click on Reload to refresh the window …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

The newly extracted files will replace your existing installation files, effectively restoring your old WordPress site.

All you need to do to complete this process now is delete the file called “wp-config.php” (from your old backup) and replace it with the “wp-config.php” file from your new WordPress installation, which you recently renamed to prevent it from being overwritten.

Select wp-config.php and click Delete

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Click Delete File(s) to confirm the deletion …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Select your renamed “wp-config” file (in the example below this file is called “wp-config-a.php”) and click on Rename

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Restore the original name of the file to “wp-config.php” and click Rename File to continue …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

The last step in this process is to delete your old backup file, as you have now restored your site’s files and you don’t need to keep such a large file sitting on your server.

Select your old backup file and click Delete

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Your old WordPress files have now been fully restored.

Important Info

Once you have reinstalled your old WordPress files, the next step is to restore your site’s previous settings and configurations by reinstalling your old WordPress MySQL database data, as explained in this tutorial.

Reimporting WordPress Backup Files Using FTP

If your web host does not offer cPanel, then you will need to re-import your WordPress backup files using FTP.

First, make sure that the compressed backup file containing all of the files you want to re-import have been extracted into a separate folder in your hard drive. This way, you will not be uploading unrelated files to your server …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Warning

*** VERY IMPORTANT STEP ***

Once you have extracted all of the files from your old backup file, delete the “wp-config.php” file from the folder.

You do not want to upload this file to your server, as it will overwrite the new “wp-config.php” which contains important data and settings about your new WordPress installation …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Your files are now ready for uploading to your server’s WordPress installation directory.

All files in this folder should be uploaded EXCEPT for the original compressed backup file …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Launch your FTP client and connect to your server:

(1) Locate and select all of your backup files (except for the original compressed file as noted above).

(2) Make sure you will be uploading files to the correct directory on your server containing your new WordPress installation.

(3) Upload files …

WordPress Maintenance Tutorials

Your old WordPress files have now been fully restored.

Important

Once you have reinstalled your old WordPress files, the next step is to restore your site’s previous settings and configurations by reinstalling your old WordPress MySQL database data, as explained in this tutorial.

Next Step:

Now that you know how to manually reinstall your WordPress site, then next step is to continue learning about WordPress site maintenance:

redarrow Learn How To Automate Important Aspects Of The WordPress Maintenance Process

redarrow Learn How To Manage Multiple WordPress Sites

redarrow Learn How To Troubleshoot Common WordPress Errors

redarrow Learn How To Put The Entire WordPress Maintenance WordPress Together  (WordPress Maintenance Checklist)

How To Reinstall Your WordPress Site

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Disclaimer: WordPress and its related trademarks are registered trademarks of Automattic, Inc. This site is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Automattic, Inc. or the WordPress Open Source project. This site and the products and services offered on this site are not associated, affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed by WordPress, nor have they been tested, certified, or reviewed by WordPress. The owner, contributors and/or advertisers may derive financial benefit from sales of items linked to, reviewed, or advertised on this site.

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