Getting hacked can happen to the best of us. I should know about that – because last year one of my own websites was badly hacked. As so often happens with these things, one doesn’t realise one has been compromised until days, or in my case weeks, go by. Then little things start to go wrong or look strange. When I finally got round to investigating it my site had been invisible to online searches for about two weeks. Disaster!
So, how did this happen?
Well, I got distracted by other things and just kind of trusted (naively) that nobody would want to hack my site. I mean, what could they possible get from hacking a life coaching website? But I was wrong. I don’t know why they hacked it, but they did.
In the end the fault lies with me – you see I had neglected to update my WordPress installation when a new version of WordPress was released, so the hackers exploited a vulnerability in the older version. I had been fine with this laid-back approach for years and nothing had happened, and then something did happen, and I’m still paying the price for it. Because of the hack, Google dropped my site from its search rankings and I am still clawing my way back into their good books. Google and the other engines know when your site has got evil code in it, even if you don’t!
The moral of the story is – always keep your WordPress software version updated, even if you secretly believe nobody would possibly want to hack your lovely site.
How to update your WordPress
If your website is hosted with WebRabbit, you don’t need to do anything because we update it for you. This is part of the service included in your monthly hosting fee.
If you are hosting your WordPress website with a company that doesn’t offer automatic updates, make sure you log in to your Dashboard regularly and see if there are any Update notices. The Dashboard will show a clear notification at the top of the page inviting you to update your software.
NB – before you update the software, it’s a good idea to first do a backup and then update all your plugins. We recommend the BackupBuddy plugin for doing your backups. But if you don’t want to be bothered by all of this – don’t ignore it, just contact us and ask us to give you a quote on doing it for you.
If your site has been going for a while and it hasn’t been updated, you definitely need this right now. Don’t leave the door open to hackers! Trust me on that.
Disclaimer: Following the advice in this article will make your site more secure, but it will not guarantee you are safe from all security threats.