WordPress Site Health: what is it and where to find it?

December 30, 2023

Izumi Izumi Mitsui

WordPress is a powerful platform that empowers millions of websites around the world. As a website owner or manager, it’s important to ensure your site operates smoothly and securely, over and above what you can learn by clicking around your public-facing website. This is where the “Site Health” report, a feature in WordPress, becomes an invaluable tool. This article will demystify the Site Health report, aimed at helping semi-non-technical users understand and utilize this feature effectively.

What is the “Site Health” Report?

The Site Health report is a feature within WordPress designed to monitor and identify potential issues with your site’s performance and security. It provides a status check on critical aspects of your site, offering a checklist of actions to improve its overall health.

Development and Purpose

Developed by the WordPress community, the Site Health report was first introduced in WordPress v.5.2 to provide website owners and administrators with an easy-to-understand breakdown of how their site is performing. The report’s primary goal is to ensure WordPress sites remain secure, fast, and running smoothly, alerting you to any issues that need attention.

Where to Find It and Permissions

You can find the Site Health report in the WordPress admin dashboard. Navigate to Tools > Site Health. Typically, you need to be an administrator or have sufficient permissions to access this feature. If you can’t see it, check with your site’s administrator to ensure you have the appropriate permissions.

Understanding the Sections

The Site Health report is divided into several sections:

  1. Critical Issues: These are problems that might need prompt attention as they could significantly affect your site’s functionality, security, or performance.
  2. Recommended Improvements: These suggestions can enhance your site’s efficiency and security but aren’t necessarily critical.
  3. Passed Tests: This section lists the checks your site has successfully passed, indicating areas where your site is performing well.

Examples of Misinterpreted Critical Issues

Sometimes, what’s listed as a critical issue might not be so critical for your specific situation. For instance, automatic updates might be disabled intentionally if your site is under version control. In such cases, automatic updates might pose a risk as they could overwrite custom code or conflict with your versioning system. It’s essential to understand the context of each reported issue to determine its actual criticality.

Accuracy and Reliability

While the Site Health report is a powerful tool, it’s not infallible. Sometimes, it might flag false positives or not recognize the nuances of your specific setup. Most expert WordPress developers and administrators view it as a starting point rather than an absolute authority. They recommend combining its insights with professional judgment and additional tools for a comprehensive understanding.

Alternative Methods and Tools

Several reputable plugins and methods exist alongside the Site Health feature to monitor your WordPress site:

  • Security plugins like Wordfence or Sucuri offer additional layers of security scanning and monitoring.
  • Performance plugins like WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache can help you understand and improve your site’s speed.
  • SEO tools like Yoast SEO provide insights into your site’s search engine optimization health.

Fixing and Upgrading: Risks and Considerations

Some of the critical or recommended items may be resolvable within the hosting account of your individual website. Others may require the support and cooperation of the server administrator.

Each fix or upgrade that is recommended by Site Health should be actioned with an abundance of caution and testing. For this reason, most non-technical WordPress site owners prefer to empower their tried and trusted website development person or agency to perform the work. The primary challenge is that of multiple inter-dependencies between the hundreds of moving parts of a modern website. If you upgrade one component of your site (e.g. you upgrade the PHP scripting language from 7.3 to 8.1), there’s a reasonable chance that not every component of your website will be 100% compatible with the upgrade, causing unexpected negative outcomes.

Depending on the size of your site (e.g. number of plugins), and the sophistication of your site (e.g. the quantity of advanced configurations and customisations), the amount of effort to achieve a good-or-better Site Health report might range from trivial to huge. That said, it’s always recommended to continually investing in keeping your website fully updated, patched, and secured.


For WordPress website owners and managers, the Site Health report is a valuable resource. It offers a snapshot of your site’s performance and security, guiding you towards a healthier, more robust online presence. However, it’s crucial to approach the report with an understanding of its limitations and to supplement it with other tools and professional advice. By doing so, you can ensure that your WordPress site remains secure, fast, and reliable for all its users.