4 Tips to Maintain Professional-Level Security on Your Blog
Cyberattacks are a constantly growing problem across the world. Between ransomware attacks, malware, and data breaches, cybercrime continues to rise year after year. Hackers will target anyone, including bloggers since most blogging software isn’t properly secured.
The scary thing is it doesn’t take much to fall victim to a data breach. For instance, one abandoned WordPress plugin can cause enormous devastation. Although WordPress has the potential to be secure, it requires effort from multiple angles, including the user. Outdated, unsupported plugins are prime targets for hackers because vulnerabilities don’t get patched.
Even if you’re not using WordPress to run your blog, security is partly your responsibility. Want to keep your blog secure? Here are several ways to avoid becoming the victim of a cyberattack.
1. Keep all software updated and patched
Do you install software updates immediately? If not, you should. The minute hackers know about a vulnerability, they will scour the internet looking for websites with vulnerable versions installed. If you don’t update your software, hackers will eventually find it and exploit its vulnerabilities.
In general, there are two types of software releases: updates and upgrades. Within the category of updates are feature updates and patch updates. Feature updates generally install upgraded features or additional features, while patch updates install fixes for bugs and vulnerabilities.
Upgrades are major changes that are usually only provided to licensed users for free. While it’s sometimes okay to skip upgrades (for a while), it’s never okay to skip patch updates. Skipping patch updates will put your blog in a vulnerable position where it will be easy prey for hackers.
Get into the habit of installing updates to all of your blogging software, including your core files, themes, and add-ons/plugins.
2. Create new login credentials for all contractors
If you ever need to hire a contractor to work on your blog, make sure you create a separate user account for each contractor. Never give anyone your main account credentials and remember to delete their account the second they’re finished with the job.
Most blogs should have the option to create additional user accounts with limited administrative privileges. WordPress has this feature, which is great if you just need someone to load draft content into your system. However, if you need development work, you’ll need to give your contractors full admin access. In this case, create a unique user account for them and back up your entire website and all databases before granting them access.
For development purposes, you’ll probably need to provide FTP access as well. Create a separate FTP account that only grants access to the highest directory your contractor needs to do their job. Never give anyone more access than they actually need.
3. Avoid installing plugins
This is a tough one, but it’s crucial. Avoid installing plugins whenever possible. Try to get by with as few as possible because each plugin is a potential point of vulnerability.
There’s a reason 90% of all hacked websites run on WordPress. It’s not that WordPress is a security risk, it’s that most users don’t secure their sites. Unsecure plugins happen to be one of the biggest security risks around, so it’s best to avoid plugins whenever possible.
Instead of installing a new plugin every time you want to add a feature to your website, ask yourself if you really need that feature. Will it directly support your goals? Will it generate sales? Email signups? If it’s just a fun feature, skip it. If it’s vital to your website’s function, install it.
4. Research theme vulnerabilities
Before committing to using any theme, regardless of your platform, research the vulnerabilities to make sure there aren’t any known issues. Since you can buy themes anywhere online, you never know what you’re going to get. Generally, it’s wise to get your themes from well-known, reputable distribution websites, like ThemeForest. Both the website and users will hold developers accountable for major problems and if a theme turns out to be a security risk, it will be removed from the platform.
You can also buy themes directly from the developer, but before doing that, research that developer’s reputation. Make sure they have a happy customer base on other platforms like Template Monster and ThemeForest.
Prioritize security first
Maintaining a secure blog is mostly a matter of practicing good cybersecurity habits. No software is inherently secure, and you will always be responsible for taking the last steps toward securing your blog. Start with the tips outlined in this article and then reach out to a cybersecurity professional if you need more help.