As a blogger, your top priority is probably creating great content that your followers will love. But what happens when they click on your blog, and find that’s it’s been overtaken by hackers? Not only are they going to click away — maybe never to return — but they are probably going to wonder if their own devices are now infected.
Of course, this situation can be avoided, if you take a few basic security precautions to protect your blog. All the time that you spend writing, photographing, and designing fantastic posts will be for nothing if your blog isn’t secure. In short, you have to spend some time on a regular basis ensuring that everything is protected, or it will only be a matter of time before you have a security breach.
The good news is that even if you aren’t a tech whiz, or you don’t have a lot of time, you can make your blog secure with a few easy checkups. If you haven’t thought about security in a while, or you need a plan for regular security attention, these six steps will do the trick.
1. Install or Upgrade Your Antivirus
If you are working on a Mac, it’s time to stop fooling yourself: You can get viruses, or spread infection to PCs without even realizing it. Install antivirus for Mac on your computer to ensure that you are keeping all of your files as safe as possible, and not inadvertently infecting your blog.
If you are working on a PC, make sure that your antivirus protection is as up to date as possible, and upgrade if necessary. Check on your blog as well to be sure that you are using an up-to-date virus and malware blocker, and that there is nothing lurking below the surface that could cause trouble.
2. Review User Profiles
Who has access to the backend of your blog? Did you hire someone to help you manage the blog, and they no longer work with you? Did you let your WordPress expert friend have access to help you get everything set up? The more people who have access to your blog, the more potential points of entry for hackers.
If there are individuals who have access to your blog who do not need it, remove their access. Chances are, they don’t even remember or know that they have it. If you have contributors who do need access, be sure that they only have the most basic permissions that they need; giving everyone full administrative permissions is just a recipe for disaster.
Changing passwords regularly, for all of your accounts, is just smart security management. If you haven’t changed your password in months (or longer) change it now. Right now.
While you are at it, add additional measures to protect against brute force attacks. There are plug-ins available that will limit the number of log-in attempts, for example, and adding a Captcha challenge question will all but eliminate the possibility of such an attack.
4. Install Software Updates
One of the easiest, and most important, things you can do to protect your blog is to stay on top of all software updates, both on your blog platform and your computer itself. More often than not, these updates include important security patches that, if ignored, create vulnerabilities that hackers will exploit. Check for updates on a regular basis, and if you are notified of an update, take the time to install it before you do anything else.
5. Check Your Plug-Ins
Plug-ins allow you to do more on and with your blog, but they can also create security vulnerabilities — and in some cases, even slow down your blog’s loading speed. Review the plug-ins that you have installed, and remove any that you no longer need or use.
Double check to be sure that any that remain are secure and up-to-date, and do some research to determine whether there are any better, more secure options. And for the plug-ins you do use, be sure you’re getting them from secure, legitimate sources. Don’t download premium products from “free” sources, since they are likely fakes or loaded with additional malware.
6. Run a Backup
Finally, run a backup on your blog, and schedule automatic backups on a regular basis. If something does happen, having a recent, clean backup can get your site up and running again quickly.
Securing your blog doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time — in fact, you can do most of these tasks in just a few hours. Doing so will save you time in the long run, and allow you to focus on the important job of creating great content.