Being in the web development business we are often hearing from business owners trying to recover from a hacked WordPress sites. WordPress is much like Microsoft Windows; very popular and quite secure, but a hot target for hackers to go after due to overwhelming market share. With roughly 25% of all websites running on WordPress, hackers are constantly looking for new websites to break into and abuse the hosting by sending out spam, or inserting malicious links in your website. Fortunately, with thousands of developers backing it, any security holes that are discovered in WordPress are fixed almost instantly.
The problem is that you need to update your WordPress website to be able to take advantage of each fix, and many website owners simply do not understand that the longer your site is vulnerable, the higher the chance of them getting hacked. When a WordPress site gets hacked, 90% of the time it is due to outdated software that could have quickly and easily been updated if you were on top of it.
As we’ve now established, security is an important factor when it comes to owning a WordPress website. We’ll cover the 3 main reasons why you constantly need to keep of maintaining your WordPress site.
1. New versions contain new features
More often than not a new version will contain multiple new features, whether this is a new version of the WordPress core software, a plugin or a theme. Who would not want new features for free?! Not only will they contain new features, but more importantly they will contain bug fixes. Some bug fixes will prevent crashes or unexpected behaviour from the website, others may patch a vulnerability. How will you keep up-to-date of all new releases of WordPress, plugins and themes as they are released? How will you know when there is a critical patch that needs to be installed to protect your site from a vulnerability that might open it up to be hacked? It takes a lot of effort for business owners to stay informed in their own field of expertise, let alone WordPress.
As with any software, you have to keep maintaining it to ensure certain levels of compatability between WordPress, plugins and themes, as well as the underlying server hosting software and hardware. Falling behind in updates could easily put you in a position where there is no simple upgrade path, causing more work to manually update your software. Will you know how to manually update the software if this happens?
As we mentioned at the top, security is a very important factor when it comes to maintaining your WordPress website. We have seen too many websites fall victim to hacks which can not only be costly to recover from, but also damage your reputation by affecting your brand and your Google rankings. If your website is hacked and then defaced, your visitors might be shown adult material that will seriously damage your brand. If Google crawls your website and detects malicious code, they will flag this in the search results and potential visitors will be aware that your site is dangerous and will not visit it. Before too long your site will then drop rankings faster than a buttered bullet!
Before any maintenance activity occurs on your WordPress website, we strongly recommend a full backup is taken. For our hosting clients, we backup their websites nightly and send a copy off-site, so they don’t need to worry about this.
Whilst our own hosted WordPress clients have never been hacked, we’ve had a number of new clients come to us with hacked WordPress websites and we’ve resolved their issues on the same day. We strongly recommend all clients maintain their WordPress installation, or signup to one of our WordPress Care Plans that take the stress out of maintaining your website.
Contact us today to discuss your WordPress maintenance needs.