WordPress: Site Health Check

Wordpress site health heartbeat

Have you ever wonder about your websites health and performance? There are times when you want to check on detail information about the server. Should it be checking PHP version or details on memory limit/upload limit or while debugging any errors on website or may be checking on folders permissions, etc. All the days are over when we have to ssh into server to get the details or some time use different 3rd-party plugins to get all the information required. With the recent release from WordPress 5.2, Site health check tool has been added at its core which checks for security and performance issues of the site and gives instructions to improve them. Overall, it helps us to debug common issues due to server and software configurations, PHP versions, etc.

What is Site Health Check Tool?

Site health check tool was first introduced in WordPress 5.1 when they added PHP version compatibility checks for plugins and themes. In WordPress 5.2, they’ve added a completely new tool which include two new pages in the admin interface to help end users to self-service their site through common configuration issues and other elements that go along with having a healthy online presence.

Check your Website health with WordPress site health tool

Site Health tool can be accessed under “Dashboard > Tools” main menu. Click on “Site health” to get started. We now have 2 pages to provide detail information on Site Health:

  1. Site Health Status
  2. Site Health Info

You can switch between the tabs to see the status and the information.
Site Health WordPress

1. Site Health Status:

This page runs a series of tests on the website with results categorized as:

  • Critical:
    Shows the number of critical issues found. Marks issues with category namely security or performance then says what to do about them.
  • Recommended:
    Shows all the recommendations to improve site health and gives instructions on how to address them individually.
  • Good:
    Displays the number of items with no issues and shows all items in details.

Site Health Score as displayed on this page is determined by tests outcome (where critical is weighted more heavily than recommended). With the site health score there has been some discussions on whether or not grading system as such should exist. Some devs have already expressed their views against this grading system, which can be found here. Concern is mainly based on getting 100% score as this might introduce additional problem for people obsessed with scoring 100%.

Anyways, let’s continue with the tests. Each test result can be expanded to get an explanation of what you as a user should be paying attention to, and which problems are there if any, that need addressing.

Wordpress site health check
WordPress Site Health Status Page

The health check results show critical information pertaining to both performance and security.

Performance Checks

  • WordPress version
  • Latest PHP version
  • SQL server version
  • Installation of recommended PHP modules
  • UTF8MB4 support
  • Scheduled events
  • Working HTTP requests
  • REST API availability
  • Performing loopback requests

Security Checks

  • Active themes
  • Up to date plugins
  • HTTPS connection
  • Secure communication
  • Debug mode off
  • Communication with WordPress.org
  • Background updates enabled

2. Site Health Info:

The second page is the Site Health Info page that contains a load of information related to your site health. The list below is the display of the issues in their respective categories.

  • WordPress: Version, site & user language, home URL, site URL, permalink structure, multisite check, and more
  • Directories and Sizes: Directory location, size, upload location and size, theme location & size, plugin location & size, and more.
  • Active Theme: Theme name, version, author, author website, parent theme, theme features, theme directory location.
  • Active Plugins: Names of all active plugins, versions, and author names.
  • Media Handling: Name of active editor, ImageMagick version number, string, resource limits, GD version, Ghostscript version.
  • Server: Server architecture, web server , PHP version, time limit, memory limit, max input time, upload max filesize, post max size, Imagick library status, .htaccess rules, and more.
  • Database: Extension, server version, client version, database user, host, name, and prefix.
  • WordPress Constants: ABSPATH, WP_HOME, WP_SITEURL, WP_CONTENT_DIR, WP_PLUGIN_DIR, WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT, WP_DEBUG, WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY, WP_DEBUG_LOG, SCRIPT_DEBUG, WP_CACHE, and more
  • Filesystem Permissions: Shows whether WordPress is able to write to the directories it needs access to. main WordPress directory, wp-content directory, uploads directory, plugins directory, and themes directory.
Wordpress site health info
WordPress site health info page

There’s a convenient button with label “Copy site info to clipboard” that can copy all the information to your clipboard so that you can share it with a developer who’s supporting you. For example, if you’re asking a plugin author for help, this gives you a convenient way to provide them with information about your site.

Conclusion:

Overall, Site health is a tool that helps normal user to keep track of their websites performance and security. While it’s always better to implement all the recommendations mentioned on these pages, but do not stress out if you can’t eliminate every single recommended issue. Focus on critical issues which should definitely be resolved and then you can try and get others fixed as much as possible. We consider score above 75% to be good enough for a secure, functioning WordPress site.

If you have any questions or concerns about Site Health in WP, feel free to reach out to us on comments.

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