Regular Site Maintenance is Essential
You’ve just purchased a new car and it comes with a great warranty…
IF you maintain it according to specifications and you use the recommended repair and maintenance company… the ones who know your car like the back of their hand.
Your website is no different and yet how many people rarely or never log into their dashboard, change their login information, update their softwares, deal with comments and spam and check that their site is clean and clear of virus or malware.
The answer to that is, way too many people assume their website will be OK and the sad truth is that it will not.
WordPress Is So User Friendly Anyone Can Do It
You don’t get to become the NUMBER ONE choice for websites by accident, there are many people working really hard to bring you WordPress. As a result there are new releases fairly regularly and then as system weaknesses, bugs and vulnerability are uncovered by users there are further updates to patch, fix and plug all those things.
When a whole new version of WordPress is released, there is a flurry of activity updating and upgrading all those lovely little software plugins that give your site so much flexibility, so much extra functionality – they all have to lift their game to ensure the software works with the new versions of WordPress.
Now you might be saying “OK Cate that’s all very interesting and just a little bit too techie for me – why are you telling me this?” I am SO glad you asked. This is really important so I want you to listen up.
If You Don’t Do Your Housekeeping and Maintenance Your Site Is In Trouble
2012 and 2013 saw unprecedented, organised, powerful and effective brute force campaigns against websites using WordPress.
The sites targeted were… you guessed it, sites that had not been updated, sites whose login information was not regularly changed, sites whose softwares were out of date and gave the hackers a vulnerable point of entry.
These entry points may have been through your home computer with a virus or malware designed to gain entry to your site. Of course YOUR website is not the real target. The target is your hosting company. They keep the details of MILLIONS of organisations, names, addresses, emails, bank accounts, credit cards… who knows what else. This kind of information is gold to those behind these activities.
If you don’t stay on top of your basic website maintenance then you are a security risk – not just for your information but for millions of other people too.
So What Do You Do Now?
The focus of the most recent attempts to access information via WordPress (and other platforms) was through the Administration interface.
That is the Admin panel on YOUR website
– YOUR user-name and YOUR password combination.
1. Pop right in there and change that password RIGHT NOW. That is your first point of confusion for the bad-guys. Write your new password down so you don’t forget it. If you don’t know how to do that, I posted about it a while ago in a post about Your Top 3 WordPress Security Hacks – follow along and get that password changed. Please don’t change your username UNLESS you’ve read the post above or you may lose control of your site. We certainly don’t want that!
2. Update ALL your software to the latest versions. Simple really – check your version of WordPress and if there is an update, do it. Please, backup your site first just in case something goes wrong. Then check your software plugins and your theme and update them if there are some available.
3. I like to get on top of all the comments and spam while I’m in housekeeping mode – delete them, respond to them if needed and just tidy things up.
That’s the basics taken care of. This needs to be done regularly, at least once a month. If do this as a minimum you will make it much more difficult for anyone to access your website, upload a virus or malware and infect you and everyone connected with your site.
This kind of care applies to every account your have online, every username, every password. It’s really important and becoming more so every day.