WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) according to W3Techs. In fact, the platform is well liked among business sites because it is well supported by a developer community, it offers many plug-ins, and a seemingly infinite variety of eye-catching themes. This makes it possible for small and larger businesses to create functional websites without the investment it would cause to custom develop a website from scratch. The downside to using WordPress (and any other CMS for that matter) is that your website administrator and web team need to stay on top of security updates and backup processes to keep a website secure and running in tip top shape.
There are many reasons a website can go down or inexplicably look broken. It’s not always because of hackers. Sometimes, a plug-in has been updated and is not compatible with an updated version of the WordPress software which could cause a site to display oddly. That’s why it is so important to test each update and back up as you conduct routine maintenance. Regular maintenance and strong security protocols will help you protect your website from downtime, hackers, and unexpected bugs. The following five maintenance and security strategies will help keep your WordPress or other website secure and running smoothly.
Keep Your CMS Software Current
No matter which CMS you use, it pays to keep your software current to be sure your site takes advantage of security and bug fixes and new functionality. WordPress rolls out major updates to its software approximately every six months. Whether you use WordPress or another CMS platform, be sure to do the research to determine how often your CMS is updated so you can plan your website maintenance schedule around it.
Have a Disaster Recovery Plan
Make sure you have a plan of action in case you get that dreaded after hours email or call asking “What happened to the website?” In addition to having your website backed up with your host, you’ll want to be able to backup your site more often. Before updating plug-ins or doing extensive work to your website, you will benefit from being able to back up your work as you go. Losing several hours of work is a bummer. Losing several days is worse. This is why having a plug-in or app that allows you to back up your site while you are working makes sense. A regular back up schedule, having an off-site backup, and being able to back up your site on the go will all be important tools to make it easier to restore your site if the unexpected arises.
Choose Plug-Ins Carefully
If you are using themes and plug-ins on your website, they should be checked and updated regularly. Again, updating these will add functionality and reduce any security vulnerabilities. Make sure that your plug-in is compatible and back up your site before upgrading to save any unexpected headaches later on. As part of your regular maintenance routine, remove any functionality if you are not using it anymore. Before you decide on a plug-in or theme on your site, always select them from reputable sources and read over the reviews, how many times it has been downloaded, and if the plug-in is still being updated. You’ll want to use a plug-in where the developer is still updating it, adding features, removing bugs, and addressing compatibility and security issues. Whatever you do, do not download plug-ins, apps, or themes from sources that are not reputable. Many times those “free” plug-ins may not be as free as you thought and contain malware in the code that could affect your site.
Choose Your Password with Care
Pick a password that is long (8 characters or more) and that combines upper letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and set a schedule to change your password on a regular basis. If you have more than one person working on your site, be sure they have good passwords and are changing them often as well. There are apps out there that can provide help generating randomized passwords and remembering for you, too. Two-step authentication is another tactic you can use to keep your password safe and your website secure. Brute force cyber attacks that hackers use to guess your password using a computer to generate many combinations are rarely successful with two-step authentication in place.
Install Anti-Virus on Your Personal Computer
Make sure your personal computer or laptop is protected from viruses, malware and hackers. Any attacks on your personal computer or that of a co-worker can affect your website. Also, have common sense limits to the number of people to can access the administrative area of your website and only give them the access they need.
We Can Help
Intelligent Evolution is an Information Technology company dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs make the most of their technology resources. Whether you are a solopreneur or have a small office, let our tech savvy experts help you with a backup strategy and disaster recovery plan, reliable website hosting, and website development and regular maintenance you need for your WordPress or other CMS-enabled website. We can help you assess the security of your website and keep it maintained to protect your site from unexpected circumstances, hackers, viruses, and other technology gremlins. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you.