Websites get hacked. Websites that don’t protect themselves are easy pickings.
If you get hacked, you might not even know it right away. Hacking might mean a website is taken completely offline, but it can mean smaller, more insidius changes too. Things like providing hidden backlinks to other sites to boost their SEO, or embedding new links that drive your community elsewhere (probably something shady), or try to capture email addresses or payment information from your customers so their private information can be sold.
There are a few things you should be doing to make sure your website is as safe as possible. Are you making sure your website is as secure as it can be?
Keep your software up to date
The number one thing you can do to protect your WordPress website is keep your software up to date.
Many of my clients aren’t aware that building a site on WordPress means you’re running CMS software to power the site. The core WordPress software combines with additional plugins and themes, all of which is code that can be prodded and poked by hackers – who might eventually find security holes.
WordPress is excellent at patching security problems and releasing new software quickly, but it’s no use unless you are updating your WordPress and plugin software on a regular basis.
Updating the software always has the potential to cause a conflict or failure on the site. So it’s important to have a full backup before upgrading, and to be prepared to resolve or fix any problems that arise.
But don’t let that stop you from upgrading – or from getting someone with technical WordPress knowledge from upgrading for you. It’s critical, and you should do it, and do it often.
Add helper plugins to block hacks and stop spam
Every WordPress site is better off running a firewall program. There are a few to choose from, with several excellent options out there. It doesn’t matter so much which firewall you choose – just make sure you have one.
And most site owners are a lot happier if they have some sort of spam protection added to their site. This might mean a plugin that stops spam comments, or a captcha added to any forms, or the ability to block any IP addresses that have shown themselves to be attacking your site.
Make sure your site has all of these features added, for safety and security.
Take regular backups
If you are hacked, there are a few awesome services out there that can help clean up your site – but you never want to rely on their services as your only plan should trouble arise.
Your best bet is to have regular backups running, stored in an offsite location, that are accessible to you at all times.
You’ll always be able to restore your site yourself in an emergency; whether it’s your site designer or your hosting company or your cool cousin with programming knowledge who is helping you out, you’ll have your own backups to work with.
Don’t scrimp on hosting
Lastly, good quality hosting is another great way to protect your website. A good quality host will:
- include an SSL certificate with your hosting – allowing you to move your site to the HTTPS protocol for added security
- will have their own security protections and anti-hacker protocols in place, including properly configured servers
- will have excellent support, 24/7, to help you if any problems arise
Good hosting isn’t cheap.
It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but if you’re looking for the lowest possible bottom line for hosting, you’re probably not looking at the big picture. Make sure you invest in solid hosting from a professional company that has a proven track record of protecting and restoring sites.
Got questions about any of this? We can help you set up a site that is safe and secure – or bring your existing site up to snuff. Get in touch with us today for a free quote.