The importance of website maintenance

Just like a garden, keeping a website running well requires maintenance. Plugins have to be updated, security scans run, servers improved. While it’s possible for website owners to do a large amount of this work, some tasks demand the investment of a lot of time and effort — both to find the information required and to implement the necessary changes.

That’s why we do it for you.

At Performance Foundry we love to see websites succeed, which is why we’re constantly making adjustments and improvements to the sites in our care. Hosting isn’t a wholesale offering for us; we pay much closer attention to each unique site and the underlying technology than most hosting providers. We’re constantly hacking our server with new techniques for best performance, and our recent server upgrade is a perfect example of this.

Our customers think so too:

Site load speed is one important measurement of the health of a site, and we work hard to keep our websites loading as fast as possible. While load times were still well below average, the average speed was starting to creep up for some sites on our US server. We researched why this was happening and identified the issue as relating to our server stack — we needed an upgrade.

Upgrading a server is a large task that requires logistical planning and a fair amount of personnel time. We had all hands on deck as we flicked the switch, and affected sites saw just 11 minutes of downtime as we made the change — well on the lower end of our estimated 10-30 minutes.

What’s changed?

The improvement was instantaneous. One site that was loading in (a very respectable) two seconds now loads in a quarter of that time; spikes in load times have disappeared; and all sites have seen a significant speed boost.

Here’s the actual response time from a real site (one of our slowest sites!), to show the benefits of this kind of work.

server upgrade
This chart shows the real-time server response time — how long it takes to “give” the page to the browser. We see php in blue and the database processing in yellows. The huge php time was largely because of a bad theme choice that was causing all sorts of havoc. Now, without changing that theme, it’s calmed down to close to 350ms! A saving of over 500%!!

Why does this matter?

I’ve been thinking a lot about maintenance recently. When I was younger I always assumed that old buildings lasted so long because they were built to last, that beautiful gardens were just designed to look so gorgeous. Somehow I never saw the armies of gardeners sweeping leaves and straightening borders, or the subtle improvements painters and other workmen do to keep buildings looking good.

Perhaps that’s the trick of good maintenance — it all happens behind the scene. No gardeners raking leaves or tradesmen fixing walls should be visible; no trace of their work should even be seen once they’re done. Just the beautiful garden or stunning old building that looks as amazing as it ever did. Or, in this case, visitors should experience a great site that’s loading smoothly and well, with no lag or wait times. That’s what we want, that’s what we’re working towards — and this server upgrade is a great example of one way we’re making sure it happens.

Need help with website maintenance?

If you’re looking for help with website maintenance, we’d love to help!

Check out our Managed WordPress Hosting and Maintenance Package to see if it’s for you.