How to prevent hackers on your site part 2: Website Maintenance
If your website is built using WordPress, congratulations! You’re part of the large majority of website owners using this fantastic platform. And if your site is built on WordPress.org (the self-hosted Content Management System, as opposed to WordPress.com, the blogging platform) it’s important to understand the security value in keeping the site up-to-date. Because WordPress is so widely used across the globe and because the platform is constantly evolving, WordPress sites are common targets for hackers. If you’re using a reputable host (see previous post about this) then the underlying coding framework such as PHP and MySQL will also be kept up to date. But it’s important – and this is your responsibility – to make sure that the WordPress core, your WordPress theme and any plugins you use are kept up to date.
Why it’s so importantPlugins have become a huge part of the WordPress landscape, and you’ll find a plugin for virtually any feature you can think of to enhance your website experience. It is precisely because they’re so widely used and so popular that they’re often a target for hackers looking to exploit their vulnerabilities. If you’re managing a WordPress site you’ll often see security patches released for plugins because a vulnerability on tha plugin has become known. Failing to update that plugin on your site in a timely manner leaves you open to potential hackers.
Managing updates yourselfOn the dashboard view of your site you’ll see at the top a heading called “Updates”. This is where you can review all the updates needed, and apply any that you want to. You can also set your plugins to update automatically whenever a new security feature or upgrade is released, although this can lead to problems if an update causes conflict with something else on the site. We recommend manual updates, and creating a site back-up just before any updates so you can revert to the previous version if anything does break in the process.
Using a Website Maintenance ServiceIf you don’t have the time or capacity to keep your site regularly updated you can use maintenance services to review and update for you. Some will provide monthly or quarterly maintenance to make sure your plugins are up to date, while others such as Jiffi Web Help can provide programmatic daily updates of your plugins and make sure that everything is as up-to-date as can be. Where possible, it’s best to have your website custom-built to minimize your need for plugins, and always choose plugins from a reputable source. Jiffi Web Help can also give you a quote for a custom-built site for your business. Whichever way you choose to maintain your website, ensuring that all elements are updated regularly will go a long way in helping keep your site safe.