In case you missed it, WordPress’ 5.2 update last year actually came with a significant new metric for measuring your website’s stability or quality. It’s called the site health score and you can use it as a way to find out whether your website should be functioning properly. It will give each and every WordPress website a rating from 0 percent up to 100 percent.
Of course, 100 percent is the highest and best number a WordPress website must aspire for in the site health score. This ensures that your website is not only clean but also secure and safe for your visitors. If you do find that your score isn’t at the highest, you always check what you can do to improve it.
However, we believe that prevention is better than cure, so to speak; for that matter, we also believe in doing whatever pre-emptive measures you can to improve your site health score in WordPress before even checking. If that’s what you want, then do try out these methods below.
You probably don’t need to do this already if you’re attentive to your WordPress website. Still, this is one of the most basic and effortless steps in ensuring that your site health score remains favorable. Updating your WordPress website (either manually or automatically) is a sure way to increase that score.
So, if you have a habit of ignoring that update notification for WordPress which can be annoying for some people, then you might want to practice being more attentive. This is even more important if it’s WordPress itself that suggested the fix in order to increase your site health score. The same goes for your plugins and themes.
Clean your plugins and themes
Speaking of plugins and themes, cleaning them or making sure they are being fully utilized is also a rather important step. You might even need to make this a priority especially if you’re the type of website owner who liberally downloads plugins or themes.
All of those can add up and might even hamper your website or servers. This happens even if the plugins or themes are not being used. The solution is simple, of course; you can clean your plugins and themes– the ones you’re not using anymore. There are bound to be some, sometimes they can even be outdated or unsupported ones.
Get SSL certificate or HTTPS
For most website builders or developers, this is already a standard procedure. If you’re unsure, you can check your site’s URL to see if it’s preceded by “https.” If not, then you have some work to do. Luckily, you can easily do this by contacting your web host for SSL certificates and then moving to HTTPS.
Not only will this improve your site health but it will also make your website look easier on Google’s eyes. Apparently, Google has already started marking non-HTTPS websites as not secure which can and will scare off visitors from checking your site.
Use the latest database software version
For most WordPress websites, there are only two database software options. The first one is MySQL and the second one is MariaDB which is a variant of MySQL. Whatever you might have, having and using the latest version of either is crucial to a health site score.
Doing this is not as simple as enabling automated updates. You might need to contact your host’s support and discuss with them about the latest version of database software, whether it’s MySQL or MariaDB.
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Latest PHP version and modules
In addition to ensuring you have a good database software and an up to date WordPress, you also have to update your PHP. It’s the programming language that powers WordPress and its functions. For some, this is also standard procedure as having the latest PHP version also guarantees better security.
Moreover, you’ll also want to make sure you get all the required modules for PHP. This ensures a fully functional WordPress website that’s also secure. Sometimes WordPress will even tell which PHP modules are missing. Again when it comes to this, contacting your host’s support is the most efficient action.
Turn off debug mode
WordPress usually has a built-in debugging tool to better help developers with messages. Most of the time, you don’t need these debugging tools in a live site as it can reveal some unwarranted information about your visitors, potentially making it a security risk. One of the most prominent of these tools is WP_DEBUG.
Configuring your debug mode is quite easy. You only need to access your wp-config.php file in your WordPress installation and look for the line
define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );
Change “true” to “false” and you can disable debug mode. Alternatively, you can also just delete the whole line to disable the function.
Enable WP Cron
The WordPress cron system is a vital tool for many automated routine tasks. It’s a special technology utilized by servers to handle scheduled and recurring actions. In fact, many plugins even use it. However, those plugins can also tend to tax the cron system. This can lead to improper functions sometimes.
You can do two steps to ensure that the cron system is enabled. First is to download a checker plugin for cron. It will show you whether cron is enabled or disabled. If it’s the latter, then open the wp-config.php file again and look for the line:
Change “true” to “false” or just completely erase the line altogether.
Enable REST API
Like the cron job system, WordPress’ REST API is also a system that’s inherently enabled. It provides WordPress with the ability to communicate with various online applications. REST API also helps WordPress store and present content. The problem is, some security plugins or tools can disable this.
Developers might also do this for our WordPress website. The reasoning for this is to help protect the website against brute force attacks. However, it’s up to you to decide how to balance this. If your site is not prone to brute force attacks, then you can leave this on. Some plugins and tools even let you do this.
Perform all of these tasks and your site health score will be perfect in no time.