You’ve invested quite a lot of money in getting a professional website built, and it’s only natural you want to protect that investment. The main threat online is having a website hacked, so it is a smart idea to secure and maintain your website. But there are other good reasons for keeping your website software maintained.
Having your website hacked can cause damage to your brand
Why do hackers target websites? Some of the reasons are:
- to store files for free by using your web hosting account
- to send spam
- to make political statements by defacing your website
- to redirect traffic to unsavoury websites
- or simply just to prove they can do it.
I have seen all these examples first hand and had to repair the damage done. Imagine your clients reaction at searching for you online, clicking the link and copping the landing page of a hardcore porn site. Does not help your brand at all. On top of that, Google will drop you like a hot potato. So how can you minimise this risk?
Your website is constantly under attack
You should have solid security plugins to minimise the risk of attacks getting through. When you see the log files of these security plugins, you realise that your website is constantly under threat in some form. We need to make your website a difficult target and deflect attention elsewhere.
How real is the threat of being hacked. Very real. I have uploaded an unprotected site to a well known hosting company and had the site hacked within minutes. Do not go online naked. Check with your developer that you have security software in place.
Running old versions of wordpress increase the chance of being hacked
Popularity becomes a vulnerability. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers 35% of all the websites on the Internet. This means it is a target for hackers and known vulnerabilities are spread very quickly. If you have an older version of wordpress, your chances of being hacked greatly increases. Your core wordpress CMS must be regularly updated.
Website software changes can break your website
Website software is constantly evolving. Hosting companies update their software constantly. This means that some parts of the original code that your website was built with, will eventually be out of date and your site will start to stop functioning as the web server software changes. In other words, websites get old and fail.
By keeping your website software (wordpress and plugins) up to date you will increase the lifespan of your website.
Your website has many pieces of software that need too work together. These include WordPress (CMS), plugins that add functionality, and your website theme (creates the look and feel of your web design). They all have to work together to provide a functioning website.
When you leave the time gap between updates too long it increases the chances of update failures and makes it more difficult for your web developers to isolate the problem. This means an increase in costs to fix the problem.
Updating your website at regular intervals makes it easier to isolate the problem and get it fixed quickly.
Sometimes things just go wrong
Your website is working fine one day and the next day your home page is a blank screen – yes it occurs more often than you think. It can happen for any number of reasons and is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the root of the issue. Mostly it is a simple fix for your developer but other times not.
What is important is that you have the peace of mind knowing that you have a solid backup plan to restore your website if it is required.
Backup on your hosting account is good but even better is backup to a personal cloud account just in case there is a hosting problem that prevents the backups being accessed.
What can you do to secure your site and maximise its’ lifespan
If you don’t currently have a website support plan, chat to your web designer about the options they have available. The alternative is to learn to do it yourself by reading up online. Either way this cannot be ignored anymore. Don’t leave it too long as it can become costly when things go wrong.
Basic Support Plan
To help keep out the constant threat of intruders, we can install software modules that harden security to minimise the risk of hacking breaches.
Software updates include your WordPress CMS (content management system) and your theme (software that creates the ‘look and feel’ of your website).
For peace of mind, your website can be backed up to the cloud on a regular basis. If anything goes wrong, the backup can be restored and disruption minimised.