WordPress website health: feature in detail

February 3, 2020 maintenance

With version update 5.2. In May 2019, WordPress surprised its users with a new tool function that provides information about the technical condition and thus also about critical security gaps on the respective WordPress site. We clarify what the “site health“ can do everything and how useful it really is.

Site Health: Overall impression of the site

In the WordPress dashboard, the new function is hidden under Tools > Site Health (see screenshot, left navigation bar). Similar to the general medical check-up, the function initially provides a rough overall assessment of the technical conditions on the present page, recognizable by a colored circle in the upper area of ​​the screen. The respective color already makes it clear how the condition of the page is:

  • Red circle: poor website health, critical issues and recommended improvements are piling up
  • Yellow circle: Average site condition, few critical issues and recommended improvements
  • Green circle: good website condition, there are no critical issues and no to few recommended improvements

In this case, the site will be diagnosed with a green circle and the word “Good,” which sounds reassuring. The following subpages or tabs status and report are the real heart of the function, which is why we want to take a detailed look at their special features.

Site Health: Status – critical items and passed tests

The status subpage is already open by default when you call up the website status. It provides information about all the technical details of the website and not only refers to the critical elements, but also to those already there passed tests (see screenshot below). In this way, the site operator can very quickly get a comprehensive picture of which technical aspects contribute to the security of the website and which ones still have some catching up to do.

Occurring threats or vulnerabilities are at the top of the status page. They are to be taken particularly seriously critical problems, such as outdated themes and plugins. With a click on the corresponding button, each problem can be expanded again if you want to get more information about it. Below the critical issues are the recommended improvements listed. These include, for example, the lack of an SSL certificate, outdated PHP versions or the presence of inactive themes – things that do not decide the life and death of a WordPress site, but which should be corrected in the long term to ensure high performance and security .

Speaking of performance and security: For each listed criterion, it is indicated on the right side whether its implementation affects the performance or the security of the site. Security criteria have a higher priority and are therefore classified as critical more quickly if they are not met or do not correspond to current standards.

Website Health: Report – Useful system information

Clicking on the “Report” menu item at the top of the screen takes you to the second sub-page of the function. Various details for configuring the WordPress installation are listed here, which can also be expanded as a button. The following points are listed:

  • WordPress: Information about version, language, URLs, etc.
  • Directories and Sizes: Location and size of various directories (WordPress, Uploads, Themes, Plugins), database size, installation size
  • Drop ins: existing drop-ins in the wp-content directory
  • Active theme: Name and information about the theme used
  • Inactive Themes: Names and versions of all inactive themes
  • Active plugins: Names and versions of all active plugins
  • Media Handling: Information on the media software used
  • Server: Server architecture information
  • Database: Database information (user, host, name, etc.)
  • WordPress constants: Settings for loading WordPress components
  • File system permissions: Access rights to various directories

All this information can be easily exported as plain text using a button called “Copy report to clipboard” (see screenshot), which is particularly advantageous for communication between the site operator and support, developer or the WordPress agency. Instead of laboriously collecting the necessary system information, the system report provides everything important at a glance – with just one click.

Conclusion on the website status: useful function for the general check

With the new “Website status” function, WordPress pages can be quickly and easily subjected to a technical check, which indicates both positive aspects and critical weaknesses in terms of website performance and security. Detailed details and recommendations for action for the individual criteria are available via fold-out buttons, so that operators with less technical experience can easily find their way around. With the “Report” subpage, the function also provides a range of important system information about the WordPress installation. These can be easily exported and are particularly useful for exchanging information with support or developers. All in all, the “Website Health” is a welcome and very useful little feature to make your own WordPress site more secure and performant.

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