Website security is like health insurance – you never really worry about it until you absolutely, positively need it and it’s too late to get it. You may think,
“That can’t happen to me” or “I’m busy…I’ll get to it next week.”
Famous last words!
Every day, hosting servers get fried, hackers break into accounts, websites mysteriously disappear, and whole businesses evaporate.
Think about it.
That is, unless you have proper website protection and security in place. If you don’t, then this series could make a huge difference to your online future. There is no time like right now to get your website completely secure and protected from unwanted attacks, hackers, and other unexpected disasters.
Since most of our clients are on the WordPress platform, this series will focus on it specifically. There are many great tools available for WordPress that make it easier than ever to automate your website backups and protection. Keep reading for tips on backing up your website, using plugins to protect against spam, scouring your site files for signs of hacking, and actions to take when your sites are attacked.
And don’t wait for next week! You’re reading this for a reason and I encourage you to take action now to protect your valuable asset today. If you don’t, you may regret it, and probably sooner rather than later.
Why You Must Protect Your WordPress Website
A recent post I wrote at WebGuys about hosting quality explained that your website is hosted on a computer. The term “server” is just a fancy term for a PC sitting in an office building, warehouse or datacenter somewhere. Most people don’t realize that the internet is not quite as ‘virtual’ as it seems. It may feel like it’s out there in cyberspace, but your website is actually a group of files on a computer sitting somewhere in a completely physical building.
Computers can have technical difficulties, as you’ve probably experienced with your own computer.
And so your hosting server, which is also a computer, can run into trouble too. It can get overloaded and have a hard drive crash, or it can get hacked. Sometimes it hiccups and needs to be rebooted. Any of these things can shut it down for a short or even a long period of time. And these servers are maintained by people who sometimes have bad days or don’t know what they’re doing.
Many people assume that it is the responsibility of their hosting company to keep their website safe. That is just not the case. Go take a close look at that hosting agreement you signed (you probably clicked a button online) and you will see that the responsibility of protecting your website and your business is your responsibility.
We are going to get into the how of it soon, but let’s first look at why. Why should you protect your website against hackers and other unexpected issues?
The obvious answer is that you don’t want to lose all the hard work you’ve put into building your website and your business. Trust me, this happens for real.
Just recently, I got to witness firsthand how being unprepared for problems and having holes in your security set-up can have devastating consequences. First a new client came to me asking for help with a rather routine issue. Upon looking through his website I noticed that he had been hacked. The hacker used his site as a file server to serve up all kinds of porno and other nasty content. He had almost 10 Gigabytes of somebody else’s garbage on his system.
Last month another client, in England, discovered his site was hacked as well. It was so bad he had to wipe it out completely and start from scratch.
Both issues were easily preventable.
Here are a few of the ways your website can become compromised:
− Website hosting issues − Hackers add code or take down your site − Malicious employee or contractor messes with your site − An upgrade creates errors and takes down your site − Website mysteriously disappears without reason (True story - this happened to a friend of mine!)
Any one of those possibilities is a good reason for taking action.
This is the first in a series that will show you some specific actions you can take and tools you can use to prevent problems before they occur. Below are the subjects that will be covered in upcoming posts:
- Is WordPress Vulnerable to Attacks?
- Common Problems That Can Take Down Your Website
- Top WordPress Security Plugins – Most Are Free
- Easy Ways Back Up Your WordPress Site
- WordPress Software Security Updates – Just Do It!
- Other Security Measures to Consider
- Employees, Contractors and Guests – Be Safe
- Being Prepared When Security Fails (it will)
- Free Download – WordPress Security Checklist