A new tradition: LlamaSlayers computer utility day

Starting today, the fifth of every month will be “LlamaSlayers computer utility day”.  Join if you want, basically all you have to do is complete any or all of the tasks from the following list.  After each task listed, there will be notes telling you how to do the task and why the task is important.  Some of these tasks are for Windows computers (I don’t have a Mac or Linux computer so I can’t say anything to do for them, you’ll have to look elsewhere), some for WordPress blogs, and others for general things to do around computers on the fifth of every month.

Of course, you don’t have to do any of these, they’re just suggestions.  And the fifth of every month is just a random date that popped into my head.  You can celebrate your own computer utility day on any day you want.

  • First of all, if you have Internet Explorer for a browser, get a new one.  You could try Safari, Firefox, or Opera.  Just don’t use IE, alright?
    • Why this is important: http://browsehappy.com/why/ has listed a few highly respected sources on this topic.
    • How to do this: Just click one of the three links above and download a new browser.  You can even start using it without rebooting your computer!
  • Defragment your hard drive.  I can’t stress this enough.
    • Why this is important: If your computer gets slower while accessing files for no reason, it might be because of fragmentation on your hard drive.  Think of it this way, if you need a lot of water, and you know that there’s water in hundreds of nearby puddles but you need to go to hundreds of puddles to get enough water, versus having enough water in one pool that you also know where to find.  You choose the pool, right? Defragmentation is your computer’s way of putting all the water from those puddles in one pool.  It takes pieces of files from all over your hard drive and puts them (basically) inalphabetical order.
    • How to do this: Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.  Click the defragment button and your computer is working on it right away.
  • Make a full backup of your WordPress.
    • Why this is important: If you ever mess up your server’s copy, you’ll have one to put back on.  Also, if the server crashes, you will be able to put your blog back on the internet as soon as the server is fixed and you won’t have to worry about losing all of your posts.
    • How to do this: Go get your FTP client.  If you don’t have one already, use Filezilla.  You’ll also need to get your phpMyAdmin or similar program.  There is a great article on how to back up your database on the WordPress Codex.  Now with your FTP client, log on to your server (you should have been given the info you need when you got your hosting plan, if you don’t have the info, ask your host), navigate to your WordPress directory (for my blog, it’s at “/llama_html/daily-llama/”), make a new folder on your computer (call it something like “blog backup” or “[Name of blog] backup [Date]”) and download every file from your blog into that folder.
  • Check every part of your WordPress for updates.  Make sure you have the latest version of WordPress, the latest version of all of your plugins, and the latest version of your template.
    • Why this is important: Most security risks that are found will be fixed by the next version released.  If your plugin or theme has a security vulnerability, your whole blog is at risk, along with everything stored in your database.  If you don’t have the latest version of WordPress, there are security vulnerabilities and missing features.
    • How to do this: Plugins can be easily updated using plugins like One Click Plugin Updater, WordPress can be updated by WordPress Instant Upgrade, but the Instant Upgrade plugin should not be used if you did not install your blog via FTP.  In that case, you should update your installation the same way you installed it.  For themes, there is currently no “one click” solution that I know about, you’ll have to use FTP.
  • Optimize your database.
    • Why this is important: If your WordPress is running slowly, this may be the culprit.  When anything is deleted from a database (even if you change an option on your blog), there is empty space in your database that the server still has to look through for each query.  Cleaning out this empty space dramatically decreases time taken per pageload and should be done (at least) monthly.
    • How to do this: Look into your phpMyAdmin and see if there is an “overhead” number.  If there is one at all, you should click “Check tables having overhead”, then “With selected:”, and finally “Optimize table”.  You should see a dramatic increase in speed per pageload.
  • Delete temp files.  This is for both your computer and your browser.
    • Why this is important: Look at the following image.  That’s over 7 gigabytes of space I can save with one built-in program’s function.
      Disk Cleanup-Over 7 Gigabytes!
    • How to do this:
      • In Windows: Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
      • In Firefox: Tools > Options… > Privacy > Clear Now…
      • In Opera: Tools > Clear Private Data…
      • In Safari: Edit > Empty Cache…
        Edit > Prefrences… > Security > Show Cookies > Remove All

That’s all of the tips I have for you today.  Maybe next month there will be more tips to add to the list.

2 thoughts on “A new tradition: LlamaSlayers computer utility day

  1. Computer Utility Day sounds like a fine idea. In observance of such, I today got rid of all my temp files (and other useless stuff) using Disk Cleanup. I recently did a defrag, so I’ll save that for next month. The work on WordPress sounds important, but I’ll leave that to the administrator. Could save a lot of problems in case of a crash! Great tips!!!

  2. Nice tips. I’ve automated a lot of maintenance tasks to avoid missing them in my busy schedule and also since i never have time to check the list. For instance, one of the popular automatic defragmenters runs in real time and lets me work even during the defrag. It saves me time and money.

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