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WordPress 3.8.1 Are You Up To Date?

One of the incredible things about the WP (WordPress shorthand he he) is the amazing community of folks who work without financial reward to build one of, if not THE world’s most advanced and user friendly open source blogging or website platforms.

With all the glee and joy that comes with this universal blessing to mankind, there is an unfortunate dark side. Not all people working on WP are altruistic, some people are just plain evil. Hackers fall headlong into to this dark category of the Internets bad boy club and you need to be aware they are out there with one thing on their minds and it is not to make your day a pleasant one.

As with all software code there are vulnerabilities and weak points, that once discovered and shared create a twofold situation.

  1. Firstly they alert the team of tireless voluntary workers of a need for a fix to the problem
  2. Secondly they alert the team of guileless hackers of a backdoor into your site

One cannot exist without the other, being open source means anyone can gain access to the community project that open source software projects essentially are. So with two sets of eyes on the prize, it raises the need to stay one step ahead of your not so friendly neighborhood hacker, should he come a knockin’.

The way to do ensure you keep your WP site or blog from being compromised, is to ensure good security policy.

  • Use strong passwords that consist of upper and lowercase, at least 8 characters and mixed alpha, numeric and symbols
  • Keep your WordPress installation up to date – this one is crucial

Not following these two basic security protocols can get you into a whole lot of trouble. If your site gets hacked, any number of scenarios can unfold for your complete displeasure.

Anything from having pornographic pictures displayed on your site, to hidden black hat backlinks to Russian drug networks and sales sites, to having your site or server turned into a zombie. Yes zombies do exist and once they takeover a machine for their own evil purposes, it is very hard to get back control.

My own experience here, is a very long sordid tale of woe. I run a large number of websites for my business, and I was slack in keeping them up to date with the above security protocol, purely because the site demands and the scale of my blog network made it difficult so, I cut corners and it wasn’t before long that I got hacked bigh time. It took me well over 6 months to finally clear out the scum that had infected my network of sites, so when I say things like is “your WordPress up to date?”, I say this with the utmost respect for the good guys who are out there fighting evil.

One of the tools I have found to be invaluable to managing the task of keeping WP up to date along with the zillions of plugins on my 80+ websites, has been the services of ManageWP. These guys have a control dashboard where you can add in a WP site(s) and have it(them) listed with a semi-automatic process for keeping all your sites or clients sites up to date. It works by a simple click of a button and all your managed sites are updated in one time saving operation.

When I first heard about ManageWP from a web design friend, Matt Webb from the Squad, I was blown away with gratitude as it was the answer to my prayers for a simple way to manage WP on a whole slue of sites. The cost for this service is very reasonable and they have a great team of support staff, so it runs like a rolls royce and since having my security protocols up to date, I have been able to stay one step ahead of the hackers.

So whether you have a bunch of private sites, and need some help from the ManageWP team or not, it is crucial to keep that backdoor shut on any potential hackers who want to make your life a misery. One last word of advice, I find that waiting a couple of weeks when a major update comes out gives most of the plugin community time to play catch up and this can be helpful if you want your site to run smoothly, and if it doesn’t ManageWP also has backups for you to rollback, those guys think of everything.

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