Here’s the thing. WordPress isn’t unreliable. Your host is unreliable. Maybe one or two of your plugins is. Perhaps your theme.
It’s Probably Your Hosting
How do I know? Because I’ve spent 15 years perfecting WordPress implementation, and can say that the biggest issue most WordPress site owners have is this: bad hosting.
That’s not a software problem.
To use an analogy, blaming WordPress for bad hosting is like putting square wheels onto your car, then blaming the manufacturer; or perhaps, more appropriately, it’s like filling the tank with vegetable oil instead of gasoline… it will work, for a while, but it will always give off a funny smell, and you’ll just know that there’s damage being done to your engine.
If you’re thinking you have a WordPress problem, consider moving your installation to a quality managed host, like Cloudways, Kinsta or WP Engine – the first two will offer a free migration for you – before you consider moving to another software.
What’s managed hosting? This means they’ll look after things like core updates, and (sometimes) plugin and theme updates. Oh, you thought this was all your problem? Not always.
Additionally, there are a variety of maintenance services which will take care of updates, backups and more, with WordPress, while allowing you to retain ownership of your entire application.
As well as providing a managed service, good hosts keep automated off-site backups, which work, too.
It Might be some plugins
WordPress isn’t unreliable, but with access to a huge ecosystem of plugins, you’ll sometimes find that the more obscure and less updated plugins are… not so good. To avoid this being an issue, read and react to user ratings – it’s open source – before you install, and, as always, test first in a staging site – don’t just throw some random download into your live website!
Good hosts provide one (or few) click staging solutions, so you can test things before they hit your live site. This is always a good idea.
Lastly, your theme
Depending on how old it is, where you got it, and who made it – and how many Stack Overflow code snippets you put into functions.php – your theme is another place that you might have created some instability into your WordPress website.
As with plugins, go for a good, well supported, often updated, theme. I tend to recommend paying developers who make themes, because they will have an incentive to hang around into the future.
Reliability Is a Choice
Having a reliable WordPress website is therefore down to choosing:
- A quality (ideally managed) WordPress hosting provider
- Good quality, well supported plugins
- A quality well supported theme
Do the above, and follow best practices, such as:
- Harden your security (consider locking down the wp-admin directory with htaccess, firewall (by IP) and 2 Factor Authentication)
- Test plugins, themes and any updates first in staging
- Use documentation, and keep code snippets to a minimum – keep it simple!
If you do the above steps, WordPress will be your reliable companion for many years.