What You Need to Know and Do to Keep Your Website Secure

website secureSo, you have invested in a new website.  It all looks good.  Now, how do you take care of it?  Or, do you need to?

Unfortunately, the world we live in is not always safe and secure.  There are bad guys out there in all forms.  They want to take control of your website and they have really sneaky ways to do it.

“Why Would Anyone Bother Hacking MY Site?”

“I don’t have that many visitors.  My site is so small, why would they care about it?  No one even knows I’m here,” you may be thinking.  But, you would be surprised that these things really don’t matter to hackers.  They have built bots that automatically check for sites with known weaknesses that they can exploit easily and take control.  They don’t care about your site or  your customers.  You’re just a number to them.  Any site that can be compromised will be sooner or later.

So, What Can I Do?

With all these bots automatically checking for known weaknesses, you really need to be on your toes to keep your site secure.  Luckily, the best ways to keep your site safe are relatively easy.

  1. First, you need to keep your site updated.  This is the single most important step in keeping your site secure because older sites have more known security problems.  Before updating everything, make sure to make a backup.  This may be tempting to skip if it sounds hard, but it’s so important.  Please don’t skip this step.  Get the plugin called updraft plus and make a backup of your site.  It can even be stored in a remote location (more secure) and scheduled to backup automatically (talk about easy!).  Next, visit your wordpress dashboard and hover over dashboard in the top left corner and click updates.  There are three sections to this page: WordPress Updates, Plugin Updates, and Theme Updates.  Make sure and update all three sections.  Then, check the front of your site in case there are any errors caused by the updates.  If there are any errors, just give me a call and we’ll work through getting your site back up and running smoothly.  This is why the backups are so important!  If anything goes wrong, which doesn’t usually happen, but very well could, you’ll have something to go back to.
  2. Next, install some new plugins for security.  My favorites are ithemes security and wordfence.  You can use them together to get a head start on keeping away the bad guys.  Once you have installed and activated these two plugins, there are a few things to get set up.  Just follow the on screen prompts and you’re well on your way to being more secure.  You will receive notifications from each of these plugins which just mean they’re doing their job and keeping bots away.  If you’d rather not receive these notifications, just remove the email from the notification setting and you’ll stop receiving them.  Beware that these notifications help you see if your site is under attack, so you may want to keep them on.
  3. Last, but not least, you may want to consider switching your hosting account.  I’ve been very impressed with getflywheel.com for their fast, easy hosting, which includes free malware removal if your site gets hacked.  This is especially helpful when you have a site that needs to remain clean, such as your main website.  The cost for hosting is around $15 a month right now for a single wordpress site.  They also have bulk plans for developers and things, but the cost is well worth it when you need to keep your site clean.  I had a website that was always being hacked and I was so sick of cleaning the site.  I switched that site over to flywheel and had them clean it.  It has stayed clean ever since.  Did I mention they migrate your site for free?

While there is no way to stay 100% secure, by following these steps, you will avoid most of the hacking attempts made on your site and keep out of hot water with Google.  Believe me, you don’t want your site to get hacked.  If these steps sound difficult, give me a call and I’ll help you through them.  Being hacked will cost you lots of money and time getting your site back.  Protect your investment now.