Updating Your WordPress Website is Crucial – and here’s Why…

First of all – Happy New Year – it’s 2018 and it’s hard to believe how quick the years seem to fly by! We will be doing one of our usual “trends to look out for in 2018” type posts soon. However, we start 2018 with a stark warning that needs to be highlighted in the here and now – a website getting hacked and the issues it creates. So here we will look at why updating a WordPress Website is so important.

Website Update Service. 

As part of our web design services, we offer a software update package. It isn’t compulsary as it’s usually straight-forward and something most customers are happy to do themselves, it’s just an added chore most days of the month. It isn’t expensive either. However it is the sort of thing that customers looking to save money will invariably trim off and say they’ll do themselves.

The reason for updating a websites themes and plugins is that unfortunately there are hackers out there who will use vulnerabilities in the out-dated software to insert malicious code. This code causes all sorts of havoc, from linking to porn sites, to completely downing a website – or even worse, Spyware, where personal details can be compromised. 

Still, whilst it seems a no-brainer, many customers still opt our of paying for the service it as they will “do it themselves” or just don’t see the need. 

There are occasions however, where updates are more complex – and in these cases, they often get brushed aside and an “I’ll do it later” mindset kicks in. 

The consequences of your website being hacked. 

In December I was approached by an excellent client of mine and one whose website has flourished magnificently over the years. The message this day though was tangibly panicked. “Help, I think my website has been hacked”. Sure enough, it had. 

This hack was redirecting customers to various porn sites. Which as you can imagine not only turns customers away from your site, but looks horrendous on your business. 

In diagnosing the issue, the first port of call was to rollback the website to a version when it worked previously. Passwords were then changed and the in-site security ramped up. This quickly got things back on track and damage was minimal.

However, a couple days later, the virus was back there was only one place it could be coming through – an outdated version of the WooCommerce plugin. 

To investigate this, update the plugin, source new plugins to work alongside the updated version (as old plugins no longer worked with the new version of WooCommerce) and lots of faffing around later, this whole experience has cost the customer £400 to sort out and lots of our time which we would rather have spent with our customer doing more positive things.

This is quite a lucky escape really – the alternatives which much starker. One option, for example, could’ve been to refer it to a security expert who would in most cases have double/treble our hourly rate. 

How to Protect Your Website Against This

Look, if you have a WordPress website, don’t panic. It is a fabulous platform that brings forward some of the best websites you are using daily without even hardly realising and they run without any issues.

Keeping your website safe is pretty simple really. It can be listed as such…(everyone loves a list)

  • Make sure all your themes are upto date
  • Make sure all your plugins are upto date
  • Delete any plugins or themes you do not use (even though they are inactive, they can still be targeted whilst the files are on your server).
  • Make regular back-ups of your database and wordpress files. Some hosts will do this for you – I use TSOHOST and they have been brilliant with this. 
  • Difficult to hack usernames and passwords – sounds obvious but it’s scary how many people still use “admin” as a user name
  • Use a security plugin like WordFence to keep an eye out for some of the other nastier stuff. 

If you would like to find out more about our website updating service and what we charge, call us on 07969 333344 or email us.



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