5 bugbears of inheriting websites | Reflect Digital
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  • 31/10/2019
  • by Matt

5 bugbears with inheriting websites

Inheriting websites, for a few developers can sometimes be more of a trick than treat. You don’t always know what state of coding you are about to take on and they can come with a brief description of all the changes required and an expectation of a quote without having the time to dig deep and see if there are any horrors that could lie in store. 

Peeking through the blinds

You should never quote anything from guess work. The problem with this could be that you end up finding that the code underneath the website is sometimes in most cases wacky, unextendable and just plain frightening. Learning the code initially and how it works can usually be a long winded process depending on how everything is pieced together, but certainly a worthwhile task.

‘Witch’ brings us to plugins

In the context of Wordpress websites, plugins can sometimes be an issue. In some sites, there can be over 30+ plugins installed that are handling simple things that just allow the content managed aspect when they could have been done with other Plugins that were already installed. These are a strain on the website, usually because some are built by what we can only refer to as Victor Frankenstein. This monster can become really tedious to maintain and The best thing to do; if you can; is to condense all the plugins down and remove anything not required.

ComBATability

Compatibility you say? The ultimate gotcha in most cases and a simple thing that some people are not aware of - your code won’t last forever, technology is a marvellous thing that is constantly evolving. That's fine you say? You have a magic button in Wordpress to update it you say? Wordpress have tried their best to allow users to update and maintain the codebase of their website but it can only go so far. One day you’ll push that button and BOOM! Bye bye Frankenstein. You could find out that your database version is no longer supported as it’s not been maintained or your version of PHP is no longer a valid version that is supported, but dont let that scare you, that’s where we come in!

When taking over websites there are many things to consider. If you cannot run them then you either have to upgrade the website to meet newer technologies or choose to run old technology, just to support that singular website, which is certainly not ideal. 

It’s behind you

You’ve taken on this website only to then realise that after studying the code and trying to update it, it’s actually more of a horror house filled with nasty surprises! The best thing to do here is to take a step back and think about whether what you’re actually trying to do is even possible on the existing codebase?

In some cases you might find there is no safe route to take and instead you may need to rethink your whole approach which in some cases can be a blessing.

The final fright

Delivery is often the hardest part when it comes to taking over an existing website. When all the changes are complete and everyone is happy there will be the excitement to put it live as soon as possible. You are then in two situations:

  1. You have full control of the hosting: this is much easier as long as you have all the DNS login information you need
  2. You are working with an existing hosting provider whether that be a VPS or Shared Hosting: Well what can we can say, is that you just have to hope that you have copied everything over correctly without causing any downtime and it doesn’t end up like a scene with Laurie Strode. 

So all in all, you might end up on a bit of ghost tour, but it will be a guided one if you make sure you sign up with our expertise!

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