Over the last few days, I spent quite a bit of time with Web security experts. Some worked for private Web security firms and others worked for some of the big Web hosting companies. The scope of all the discussions we had dealt specifically with WordPress. Though much of the information also applies to whatever type of Web site you have.
In short, if you are not vigilant about keep it updated, the chances are much higher that you will get hacked. Every time I see a site that hasn’t been touched for 5-10 years, I just cringe. The good news is the site is still functioning!
So let’s talk specifically about WordPress. It is a Content Management System on top of which Web sites are built. For those who aren’t familiar, think of it like Windows. New updates are released on a fairly regular basis. Some of the updates add functionality, but there are also many of them to address potential security holes. Below is a screen from a real site that shows a few of the updates that need to be installed.
Look at the top of the screen shot and you’ll see that the base WordPress is a bit out of date. It shows the version numbers and that may not mean anything to you so know that this was last updated around six months ago. That’s not good, but I’ve seen a lot worse! Below that are a list of plugins that add functionality to the Web site. Many of them are also out of date.
Unfortunately the company who owns this site doesn’t want to spend the money to keep the site updated (it wouldn’t be much) and they don’t do it themselves (it wouldn’t be difficult). Strangely this site was hacked about a year ago and the site was completely down for a month. I only got involved because I got an emergency call to get it working again. Once fixed, they are rolling the dice again. Can you afford it if you company Web site is completely dead for a month? A week? A day?
All of the sites in the Unleashed network are on what is called Managed WordPress hosting. That means our host, GoDaddy, automatically installs new versions of WordPress soon after it is released. Most of our clients are also on this service so they are kept updated. The rest of willing to gamble on their security with lesser offerings.
Managed WordPress hosting also takes care of other issues to give me more peace of mind that our sites will be safe. They do a daily backup of the site so it would be fairly easy to restore the site shouldn’t disaster happen. There is scanning for spam, malware and other bad stuff. Plus it is really easy for us to setup new sites. Let me knock on wood as we’ve never had a site hacked that was on this Managed WordPress platform. Sadly other clients haven’t been as lucky because they have lesser hosting and don’t maintain their sites.
For those of you who don’t have WordPress sites, the updating process is different. But it is just as important. So if you’ve done nothing in the past year, you have work to do! I have a feeling many of you have sites that need a makeover as well as improved security and maintenance. If that sounds like you, please visit our Web Design Solutions Unleashed site and give us an idea of how we can help. I would love to help you get a site that boosts your marketing in a secure way so that you can have peace of mind at night.