I’ve talked about the website as your hub, your home, where you steer people to go to learn the details about you, your work, your organization. Well, as with any home, it requires maintenance. You don’t just move your stuff in (add content) and never touch it again. You have to regularly keep things in order, like dusting, emptying the garbage, airing the place out, etc. Otherwise entropy comes in and mucks everything up.However, instead of having your home smell like mostly-empty pizza boxes housing roaches, hackers come to your website and squat. They insert malicious code in your website and wait for an opportune moment to start causing a ruckus — slowing down or completely disabling your website.
What’s the website equivalent to scrubbing the floorboards? Keep your WordPress installations up-to-date.
Outdated software is a huge problem on the Internet. Often, new versions of software get released solely to fix issues that have been exploited by hackers. So, if your website suffers from well-known bugs, it’s highly susceptible to compromise and needs to be updated.
WordPress makes this really simple for you. Every time you log in, it checks for updates and displays a banner at the top of your admin panel to let you know about them. The process is easy and usually takes very little time.
Even if you don’t log into your website very often (well, that’s another issue worthy of discussion but not now), you’ve still got to clean it up. No matter how often you log in to post new content on your site, you should still log in frequently to update its software (along with any plugins you use).
In addition to ensuring that WordPress and plugins are up to date, here’s what I do for my sites as well as those of clients:
- Empty the Spam folder regularly (filter provided via the Akismet plugin), especially if you tend to attract a high volume.
- Stay up to date moderating your comments (Approve, Spam, Trash).
- Scan the site with Wordfence, a security plugin.
- Back up the entire website (files and database) regularly.