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Optimized Webmedia’s List of WordPress Maintenance & Security Best Practices
WordPress today powers more than 24% of all the websites on the internet today, making it one of the most popular CMS (Content Management System). However, its popularity comes with a fair share of its own worries one of which is the increasing security hack to its platform. About 60% of all CMS run on the WordPress platform due to the ease of use and the search engine optimization features that WordPress boasts of. Again, because it is open source, there are a large number of contributors that are continuously trying to enhance the WordPress functionality by adding new and improved version of WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.
On the other hand, caution should be exercised when using a very popular platform like WordPress for building a new website because it requires constant maintenance and round the clock security to ensure that it doesn’t fall prey to hackers – security is indeed a red flag on the WordPress platform and not paying adequate attention to it can lead to security mishaps. Although there are some security plugins like Sucuri, Shield WordPress Security, iThemes Security that can do a pretty good job of keeping the platform safe to a reasonable extent. However, additional steps should be taken to ensure that your website is not at risk to any form of hack. In this article, we are going to be looking closely at the best practices to ensure that your WordPress website is secure in addition to how to maintain them.
It is never a pleasant experience for any business when they get their WordPress website hacked. Not only will it hurt your traffic, it will require a ton of time, money and manpower to get it running again. In addition, it can negatively impact your Google search engine rankings – although dedicated SEO companies like SEO Vancouver can bring you back up to speed almost immediately. Therefore, it is better to take the necessary steps to prevent this attack from happening in the first place.
“Prevention costs are far less expensive than recovering from a full-blown security hack.”
WordPress websites commonly get hacked through WordPress security vulnerabilities, such as in the hosting platforms, non-secure WordPress themes, vulnerable plugins, or weak passwords. Hacks can come in several ways:
- Redirect your visitors to other websites.
- Hackers can use your site to infect your visitors’ PCs with malicious software to gain information. It can also infect your website with malware such as key trackers, backdoors, and ransomware.
- Server takeover and use your hardware for sending spam emails.
Best Practices in Maintaining and Securing WordPress Websites
1. Use a unique table prefix: when you are configuring a new WordPress website, ensure that you change the Table Prefix to something unique. The prefix is always set as a default “wp.” Hackers will take advantage of this knowledge to attack new WordPress designers so that their websites will be vulnerable to SQL injections. Some security plugins like iThemes Security can help you change the prefix or alternatively you can hire us – Web Design Vancouver based company to design your websites to the highest security standard.
2. WordPress versions: ensure you keep your WordPress versions up to date as new updates come with security updates.
3. Theme updates: ensure that you get rid of any WordPress themes that you are not using. This can make your website operate faster. To verify the authenticity of themes you can use any of these plugins: the database for WordPress Plugin Vulnerabilities, Theme Check, and Plugin Check.
4.Plugin updates: ensure that you remove any plugins that you do not use to boost the speed of your website. Also, if plugins last update is longer than 12 months, then you should search for an alternative. Themes and plugins are one of the most vital steps when it comes to WordPress security.
5. Tools for website scanning: if you suspect that your website may have been hacked, then ensure you scan your site with any of these tools:
- General: Unmask Parasites and Web Inspector
- Viruses: AntiVirus, WP Antivirus Site Protection plugin, VirusTotal web service
- Spam: MX Toolbox
- Malware: Sucuri SiteCheck
6. Usernames and passwords: delete the default account name “admin” and change it to something unique. Always use a combination of numbers and letters. Also, limit the login attempts to prevent the possibility of a brute force attack.
7. Backup your website: backing up your website regularly will ensure that you can always have a copy of your website ready in the event of a hack or attack. You can alternatively back up your website via your hosting provider, downloading local copies through FTP or alternatively by using plugins on your website such as BackupBuddy, UpdraftPlus, BackWPUp, BackUpWordPress.
8. Optimize your database: your database is basically where all the content on your website is saved. These contents can include images, videos, blog pages, settings etc. as your website continues to grow, your website database will get bigger and this can affect the speed of your website and this can equally hurt your Google ranking factor. There are some good WordPress plugins that you can use to optimize your site database and MYSQL database tables: : WP-Optimize, WP-Sweep, P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), WP Clean Up, Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions, WP-DBManager, Optimize DB, W3 Total Cache, EWWW Image Optimizer, WPDBSpringClean, Revision Control, WP Performance Pack, NextGEN Gallery Optimizer, WP Database Cleaner, Wordfence Security.
9. Optimize your website speed: website managing services like SEO Vancouver can help you reduce the loading speed of your website and in turn improve your website SEO functionality. A sluggish site can hurt your SEO and web traffic. Use these tools Google PageSpeed Tools and GTmetrix to monitor and enhance your sites speed and performance.
10. Maintenance mode: if you are carrying out real time updates to your site, it is always advised that you take your site offline so that users do not see any information that you wouldn’t want public. You can use these plugins to notify your users that your website is offline for maintenance – WP Maintenance Mode, Maintenance, and Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode.
11. Test your forms: you should test your order and contact forms to ensure that they are working properly so you do not miss any lead conversion chances. You can alternatively hire a Content Marketing Vancouver company to handle all your content management needs.
12. Index check: if you would like more visitors to your website, it is important that Search engines like Google index your website. You can use this tool Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool or you can simply type your site in a search engine like this: yoursite.com.
13. Monitor SEO: it is very important that your site gets indexed by search engines. You can hire an SEO Vancouver company to handle all your SEO related issues or you could use a plug-in such as Google Analytics.
14. Monitor offline status: the faster you know that your websites are offline, the quicker you can fix it. This is especially important for an e-commerce or business oriented website. Use the Pingdom plugin to get a notification when your website goes offline.
15. Hire a Website Maintenance company: to ensure that your website is competently and professionally handled, you should consider hiring a web maintenance-company like a Content Marketing Vancouver web-maintenance company to oversee all of your website content operations. Equally to boost your company’s profile on social media which is important these days, consider hiring this professional Social Media Vancouver based social media managing company to re-brand your company’s public image on the internet.
Below is a list of the features that web maintenance companies will usually offer in their packages. Some companies may offer a combination of some of these packages while other companies may offer all the features and they will be priced based on the size of the company, company’s preferences etc.:
- Technical support
- Security audit & recommendations
- Full-site & database backup
- WordPress version updates
- Plugin version updates
- Content updates
- Uptime monitoring
- Malware and virus scans
- Changes to the website
- Spam comment cleanup
- Support marketing initiatives
- 24/7 Up-keep monitoring
- Available performance caching
- Strategy & planning
- Database optimization and cleanup
- Security audit
- SEO analytics report
- Speed up your website
- Tighten security
- Grow more traffic
- Fix broken links/codes
- Decrease cart abandon rates
- Mobile responsive on all devices
- Priority urgent request support
- Annual development hours
- Plugin or theme installs
- Site migrations
- Custom development of the website as per requirements
- Site performance check & recommendations
This post was published by Donald Kim at Optimized Webmedia. Optimized Webmedia is a customer centric, 360° Digital Marketing agency, specializing in SEO, Google Ads PPC, Content Writing, Social Media Marketing, and Website Design. To learn how Optimized Webmedia can help optimize your website to attract more visitors, book a free consultation and ask for our free SEO Site Audit.