Why You Must Protect Your WordPress Website

Are you aware that your website is hosted on a computer? Yes, the term “server” is just a fancy term for a PC sitting in an office building or warehouse somewhere. Most people don’t realize that the internet is not quite as ‘virtual’ as it seems. It may feel like it’s out there in cyberspace, but your website is actually a bunch of files on a computer sitting somewhere in a physical building.

You already know that computers can have technical difficulties – I’m sure you’ve had more than your fair share of computer issues, am I right?

And so your hosting server, which is also a computer, can run into trouble too.  It can get overloaded, or it can get hacked.  Sometimes it get tired and just needs to be rebooted. Any of these things can shut the server down for a period of time.

Many people assume that it is the responsibility of their hosting company to keep their website safe. I’m willing to bet that if you go right now and review the hosting agreement you signed, you will see that the responsibility of protecting your website and your business rests entirely with you. {eek!}

We are going to get into the how of it throughout this series, but let’s start by talking about why you should protect your website against hackers and other unexpected issues.

The obvious answer is that you don’t want to lose all the hard work you’ve put into building your website and your business.  Unfortunately, this does happen to real people.

I belong to a mastermind group of very smart entrepreneurs.  Just recently, we got to see firsthand how being unprepared for problems and having holes in your security set-up can have devastating consequences. Many member of this network lost weeks of work and whole websites when their hosting server unexpectedly went down for just 24 hours! There were technical problems that the host couldn’t fix. At first, some people were very angry that their host let this kind of thing happen, but then, they slowly came to realize how crucial it is  to have their own security measures in place.

Here are just a few of the ways your website can become compromised:

Website hosting issues

As I mentioned before, your host server is just a computer.  Anything that could happen to your own personal computer could feasibly happen to your host’s computer – from catching fire to just needing some downtime.  Other potential hosting issues include poor customer service. Your needs may outgrow their capabilities, or they may be not providing the kind of quality you expect. It’s a good idea to have your backups ready and handy so that you can make a quick switch of hosts, should the need arise.

Hackers add code or take down your site.

I recently had to fix a friend’s website that was hacked – what a nightmare it was for her!  These hackers sometimes add viruses to YOUR site that affect YOUR visitors.    Once they’ve hacked into your site, they have much more control than you’d ever want them to have.  They can add links that you can or cannot see, or even delete some of your website files.  Some particularly malicious hackers can lock you out of your own site or delete your website completely!

An upgrade creates errors and takes down your site

You should always back up your site before doing any kind of updates!  This includes updates to plugins, any changes to code or design, upgrading a theme, or updating to the latest version of WordPress.

If you’re not prepared, you could lose your whole website.

Malicious (or clumsy) employee or contractor messes with your site.

This may not be an obvious issue, but it can be a real threat. Whether you work with a virtual assistant, or you have an employee in your office who works on your website, you hopefully know that it’s important to limit their capabilities within WordPress to match their responsibilities (and the level of trust you have in them).

For instance, there is no reason one of your regular contributing authors should have admin rights and be able to change your site’s theme or install new plugins.

Website mysteriously disappears without reason

 

This happens more often than you think!
I would say any one of those possibilities is a good reason for taking action.

In this series, I will cover how to back up your wordpress site as well as some top security plugins that you have to choose from.