How to deal with WordPress management when a crisis hits your client’s page? [part 1/2]

The popularity of WordPress and why it may cause a lot of website bugs

Do you manage projects based on WordPress and wonder how to improve the process optimization in your team? Let me show you the mechanics of WordPress and explain why the most popular CMS platform in the world can be a source of many of your clients’ problems. Website bugs can frustrate your clients. That is why it’s important to know how they work.

How does WordPress work? Development, plugins, themes, updates

WordPress was created in 2003 and it evolved from being a blog platform into a complex system that today is used to implement projects of many shapes and sizes. The system is

administered by a couple of main WordPress developers, but primarily, it is expanded by volunteers from all around the world who test and improve each consecutive edition of the platform.

WordPress development thanks to the open-source formula

It is thanks to the above mentioned open-source formula that we have continuous WordPress development. If it wasn’t for a number of programming enthusiasts, the platform would not be so simple to use. The most recent example of this is the testing and development of Gutenberg – a plugin that showed up in May, 2018, in the official WordPress repository which simplifies the website creation process.

Thanks to the simplicity of WordPress, it can be used to implement large projects. The WP system is constantly being improved so that you can build large, fully customized shop platforms.

Source: own elaboration

Above you can see exemplary brands that decided to build their websites on WordPress. Since WordPress is an open-source system, all these brands must pay special attention to the safety of their websites.

WordPress plugins and themes – the mine of customization possibilities

One of the most important WordPress pros is its richness of plugins and themes that are accessible in the CMS repository. Did you know that WordPress has over 50 thousand plugins – small programs that expand the page’s functions? What is more, thousands of themes allow the owners to customize their website according to their individual needs. 

Source: own elaboration

A screenshot of wordpress.org/plugins/​ – the official WordPress plugins repository. As you can see, on the day this article was written, that is the 28th of August, there were over 56 thousand plugins.

WordPress updates – why are they risky?

Numerous possibilities of customizing WP to fit your clients’ needs increase the risk of website bugs. They come from the fact that, for example, the on-going version of WP is incompatible with the currently used plugin.

Every couple of months, the creators of WP release the system updates and simultaneously recommend updating your websites. This allows your clients to be up-to-date with the newest version of WP, which, in turn, increases your website’s security. The only question is how the plugins behave when the programming is being updated?

According to research conducted by The SSL Store, 33.58% of WordPress websites are at least two updates behind.

WordPress bugs – how do they work?

Depending on the creators of themes and plugins installed on a given page, WordPress updates can, in greater or lesser extent, have an effect on those themes and plugins. Some bugs deactivate only certain functions, some cause the website to stop working. Let me show you what kinds of problems your website-owner clients can report:

  • Bugs that cause one element of the service, for instance: contact form, payment module, dynamic photo gallery, to shut down.
  • Bugs that make the entire service go down or bugs that deactivate certain pages. The most popular bugs of this type are:

the so called white screen of death – a bug that is caused by the failure of the PHP server to connect with the MySQL database. Because of this bug, the content of the page cannot be properly displayed. In this case, the only thing you see on the screen is complete whiteness.

error 404 – a bug that indicates that the client (web browser) communicates with the server properly, but the latter cannot find the required file in order to correctly show the page’s content.

theme error​ – a typical example of the lack of compatibility between the theme and the currently used and recently updated WordPress version. As a result of this conflict, it may turn out that a part of the theme’s function can stop working.

At the moment of a web page crisis, you have to quickly recognize and solve the problem, especially when you run an Internet shop. Anything that interrupts the functioning of your shop entails financial losses. FIXMAKERS quickly and safely deal with such bugs in order to bring back the website’s proper appearance and functionality.

Now you know what kinds of bugs can cause problems for your clients. In the next article, I will show you how FIXMAKERS deal with such crisis situations. I will demonstrate the practical side of project management in the world of open-source CMS. Also, I will introduce you to a theoretical basis, starting from the achievements of japanese Toyota, and ending with the present management guru, Jack Welsh. In the next article, I would like you to focus on why processes and standards are essential in project management, as well as on how to apply them in practice. This is all to help you improve your project management skills. Stay tuned!

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