There are three main areas that I advise my clients to pay close attention to when maintaining their blogs and wordpress sites. Using a three part blog series, I will dive into these keys areas to pay attention to; Security, Redundancy, and Integrity.

Your wordpress blog is a lot like your car.  If you take good care of your vehicle and bring it in for oil changes and other preventive maintenance, it will last for a very long time.  The same goes for your wordpress blog. 

Security, Redundancy, and Integrity.


Your wordpress blog is a lot like your car.  If you take good care of your vehicle and bring it in for oil changes and other preventive maintenance, it will last for a very long time.  The same goes for your wordpress blog. 

These blog posts will not require you to have a vast knowledge of coding or the wordpress architecture.  They only require that you are diligent and disciplined enough to cover all your bases.  If you love your blog and want to keep it healthy, give this three part series a try.  With that said, let’s jump into the first part; Security.

Security

The first topic to cover and the number one top priority for any wordpress (self-hosted) user should be their blog’s security.   I advise my clients to log into their systems daily and inspect their environments while making regular updates.  Here are some areas to consider;

Are there any plug-in’s that need updating?

Making sure all of your plugin’s are updated allows your blog to be more functional and secure.  Authors of plugin’s will make regular updates to their code based on QA work and submitted bugs.  Keeping up with these updates puts you in a better spot to have a safe and better looking website.  It also prevents you from falling susceptible to any security vulnerabilities.

Am I working off the latest version of wordpress?

Do not ignore this when you see it pop-up on your wordpress dashboard. (FYI – the latest version is 3.3.1, disregard the image showing 3.0.4)

wordpress update

Having the latest version of wordpress is crucial.  Going back to the car analogy, I relate this to having routine oil changes and tune-up’s done.  If you don’t bring the vehicle in for maintenance every 3,000 miles, the engine is going to cease up eventually.  Just the same, when you have a wordpress blog and don’t keep up with the updates as they are released, you run the risk of your blog becoming slow and unstable.  Updating the wordpress core to the current version keeps your files clean, healthy, and it also makes sure you are using the most current version of PHP and MYSQL DB’s.

Are there any spam comments in queue?

Spam comments are the worst.  You hate them, your readers hate them, and they can bog down your wordpress system.  First off, make sure you have a current version of Akismet.  This plugin is a powerful defender of rogue comments and spam bots.  Install this plugin, go through the steps of securing a key and rid yourself of spammers.  If you don’t have Akismet, go download it now.

Additionally, if you are seeing a lot of spam comments popping up on your public site without your knowledge, you need to re-configure your blog settings and adjust your moderation levels so you can keep a better eye on when comments are added in.

Go to the left sidebar in your wordpress dashboard, and navigate to ‘Settings -> Discussion’.

Below are the settings that I like to maintain on my own blog, that help me moderate valid comments from spam.  The only suggestion I would make to a first time user who isn’t in the routine of logging in once a day, is to set the “Before a comment appears” option to, “An administrator must always approve the comment”.  That will ensure that no phoney or undesired content makes it to your public page without your prior consent.

Have any files changed?

A great plugin that I suggest to first-time wordpress users is WordPress File Monitor.  This plugin sends you an email whenever a file is changed in your wordpress environment.  This may be over-kill for the everyday wordpress user that is constantly updating their content.

e.g. – Let’s say you paid someone to develop your website using wordpress and want to keep an eye on things without actively logging in. Download this plugin and configure it with your email address.  Great tool for someone who wants to make sure nothing strange is happening behind the scenes.

Prevent hackers from logging into your site

The last plugin I suggest installing is Login Lockdown.  This plugin will allow you to block an IP address from accessing your login page after a pre-determined amount of unsuccessful login attempts.  Very easy to setup and little to no maintenance is required.   This is a great add-on to maintaining your overall  security level, and peace-of-mind.

Last thoughs

Your wordpress site is like a car.  Take care of it, and it will take care of you.  Doing normal preventative maintenance will save you from a world of hurt down the road.

If you have additional questions or would like to talk about how to make your wordpress site more secure, feel free to email me.

Stay tuned, as the next part of this three-part series will speak on how redundancy measures can help you maintain a fresh and current web-presence.




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