Website Care plans

I’ve been using ManageWP for 8 months and am now moving over to MainWP. Curious to know what you offer your clients as far as maintenance on WordPress sites, and which MainWP extensions you will be using.

In the past I’ve been doing;

  • Weekly Backups
  • Broken Link Checker
  • Performance Checking
  • Vulnerability monitoring
  • Plugin/Theme/Wordpress updating
  • Uptime Monitoring
  • Security

With MainWP I plan on offering these using the following;

  • UpdraftPlus connected to my Dropbox for Backup
  • Not sure yet because there is no extension right now for broken link checking.
  • Pagespeed for Performance monitoring and Google Analytics for Analytics
  • The MainWP built in vulnerability scanner
  • MainWP for updates
  • Advanced Uptime Monitoring for uptime monitoring
  • Wordfence for Security

What about you all?

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My maintenance plans are somewhat customized, hardly fully automated.
I like to check that the sites are functional before I do any updates, and just to make sure nobody else broke anything since the last time I touched it.

After I review the site I’ll do the maintenance.

My stack is similar though. Starts with daily offsite backups to go along with whatever their host does. Monthly updates although I set more trivial plugins to auto-update.
Uptime monitoring with UptimeRobot, it goes in the report. Sucuri malware and use of their firewall on a handful of sites that want it. Some extra hardening and security measures like limiting login attempts. Image optimization.
Everything else is more or less optional.
Help them with setup/configure of Google Analytics or other, Facebook Pixels, other custom code. Google Console. Caching and performance tools. File monitor I use to check for suspicious file changes. Broken Link scanner and audits on occasion, I don’t run these things constantly, or even monthly.

Each plan level I have comes with different amount of built-in retainer time for extra tasks, troubleshooting and fixing issues, or whatever else they need.

Since each site is different, some need extra testing for WooCommerce shops. Some what higher priority for tickets and monitoring downtime reports and other alerts.

As far as MainWP is concerned, I still have to do a lot of manual work. MainWP really is only there to assemble the basic report shell, and then I add more information about anything manually done, found, suggestions, other requested work, audit notes, ongoing issues they need to comment on, etc.

The only stuff I actually do “in bulk” is running updates when I have time to check all the sites afterward manually. Or if I need to mass update/install/remove/deactivate/activate a plugin, and export the reports. Otherwise, I don’t do anything in mass because I like to manually verify when work is done to make sure nothing went sideways.

I could never just click a mass-update button and hope it worked without checking all the sites. It sucks because if I’m checking all the sites manually anyway, it’s only a couple more clicks to just do the updates while I’m in there, no need for MainWP for mass updates.

Anyway, it’s a work in progress.

Hi @zackw,
Check Hexowatch! It will save you time to manually check your sites… We are using to check more than +100 websites after a mass update (except for Core and certain themes like DIVI!!). It is working pretty well. We are doing a check daily because sometimes caching issues (especially with DIVI!LOL) can appear and Hexowatch will send you an alert… We have to check maybe 10 sites, and most of the time, it is a positive false with sliders or issues to generate the desktop view. But it is better than manually check +100 websites.

I own Hexowatch with 10,000 monthly checks. Just haven’t connected any sites yet, lol

I still don’t trust anything but my own eyes. Force of habit I guess.

@zackw - Can I ask you how many sites you are managing?

About 40+ at the moment. All client sites. I also have a gaggle of personal and business sites.

Hi Fredric,
What tests do you use on Hexowatch? I’m trying out visual and content monitoring before I commit to a paid plan.

Regards
Richard

@zackw - so you are testing 40 sites manually? Whaouuu, it must take you a few hours…
@RichThorne - Yes, we are using visual with Medium desktop view, delay 5s and more than 5% changes. They do have some false positives (1 or 2 a day) but, it is better than manually checked 140 sites! We are on the Agency plan.

Thanks Fredric,
I manage 24 sites at present, I wouldn’t want to physically check them every time I update them.
Do you check a selection of pages per site or just one?

I think I read somewhere Hexowatch is rolling out full website checking at some point? That could be interesting?

@RichThorne - we don’t check any! We are receiving a daily notification from Hexo and my VA takes a quick look at it…

Sorry I meant do you set up visual monitoring on Hexowatch for a selection of pages of a website or just one?

@RichThorne - usually, only the home page but, for specific clients, we are monitoring specific pages like shop page on ecommerce sites.

I understand the economy of scale. Checking sites manually can be a pain, but totally worth it considering the bizarre issues that often come up out of nowhere.

Hexowatch can check things, but it may not see subtle things. For example a site where fontawesome icons suddenly break for no reason, turning tiny icons into empty squares.
Or another case where the image compression plugin was suddenly outputting thumbnail images stretching to larger sizes, creating ugly low quality images.
Or another case where an archive page wasn’t showing all its thumbnail images next to each posting (would not have caught that unless I was randomly checking various pages, not just the home page).

I get other random inner-page breaks, like google maps not loading. Recaptcha not loading on a contact form.

Another site had a WooCommerce plugin bug out and show its popup on every page load. It’s only supposed to show the popup once and people close it and it stays gone, but in this case it popped up on every page view. Hard to notice this unless visiting the site manually and clicking around a bit.

Other times it may be backend issues, like messages on the dashboard to deal with, licenses expiring. Things like WooCommerce wanting to update its database. Or WordPress wanting to update its database.

I could make a list a 100 points long of random oddities that automated tools typically just don’t pick up, only a pair of real eyes really using the site would notice.

Of course, I could just let things break and wait for clients to come tell me something looks odd. But this is not acceptable to me. I’m the one caring for the site, I should be discovering issues before they do or their own clients do and complaints start filtering down to me.

Visual regression testing is really the biggest thing, I hope Hexowatch does good at that, but I don’t know how it’s supposed to notice more subtle things, like animations not working, or if lazy loading is broke, or a CDN stops working, or any number of non-visual issues. It doesn’t test that popup forms work, lightboxes work, embedded videos play, etc.

Nothing can really replace a real person using the site in a real person way to discover issues. Time consuming it is!

@zackw - with Hexomatch, you can check specific parts of your site like HTML, text, price… more details here: https://hexowatch.com/use-cases/track-page-changes/
The hardest part is to set it up on time and then, just wait for the alert.