Hopefully, when you created your blog you were thinking about your safety. After all, any time you create a user name and a password, you’re taking a moment to decide how tight your cybersecurity is going to be. If you take security seriously, you chose a trustworthy site to form the basis of your blog, picked a unique username, and created a secure password, but maybe you made the mistake of stopping there.
When you create a blog, you may be more focused on your editorial calendar or branding your site, but neglecting security can be a fatal flaw. If you haven’t been keeping up, take some time now to fill in the cracks in your security with the advice below. Your blogging career could be at stake.
As any blogger knows, your readers are your livelihood. If people are going to continue to read your blog, you need to keep their trust, and that means making sure that your blog doesn’t infect them with malware or cause them to be redirected to malicious sites.
Not only can poor blog security directly affect your readers, but it can tarnish your reputation with Google. Hackers may hide links to their own sites to increase their PageRank or engage in other “black hat” tactics that will make Google punish your site.
Here are some easy steps you can take to protect your readers.
Change your username and choose a secure password
As soon as you created your blog, you should have created a new user profile for yourself and changed the username from “admin” to something unique. If you didn’t, hop to it!
Most people already know how to create a secure password, but we’re going to review because it’s so important. A password should contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t include any dictionary words or proper names. If you’re worried you may not be able to remember a complex password, there are apps that can help you with that, such as LastPass. LastPass keeps a vault of your passwords saved so that you can securely sign into websites with a single click. It will also help you generate passwords that match these criteria.
You may also want to consider installing a plugin that will cut off multiple login attempts, which are a signal that a bot is trying to crack your site’s password.
Install a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that everyone should subscribe to as a general security measure. A VPN forms a secure tunnel from the source of information to its destination and prevents anyone from intercepting it. It also encrypts the data, adding another level of protection.
VPNs were originally created for remote workers to access their business’ networks from anywhere, but they have been put to lots of uses since their invention. VPNs can help you dodge geo-blocking so you can watch Netflix from anywhere, keep you safe and anonymous when you’re torrenting, or just make sure that no one is spying on the information that goes to and from your devices.
A reliable VPN is especially important if you blog on-the-go and want to connect to public WiFi. To put it simply, unsecured WiFi is never above suspicion. If you don’t need a password to sign in to a network, don’t use it without a VPN.
A trustworthy VPN service will usually charge a small fee. It may be tempting to just sign up with a free one instead, but those aren’t nearly as reliable, and often end up slowing down your connection or bombarding you with ads.
Use security-scanning software
There are lots of plugins for WordPress that will help you keep a continuous eye on your blog’s security. Two of the most popular are Wordfence Security and iThemes Security, which can both be found in the WordPress plugins directory. They’re free, but offer premium features for a small fee.
Wordfence scans your blog’s source code to detect any existing infections and then helps keep it secure against new ones.
iThemes Security, which used to be called Better WP Security, will obscure parts of your website, and also fixes known vulnerabilities for you.
Update, update, update
Often, an app’s updates will be security fixes, meaning that if you don’t update you’re leaving yourself exposed to all kinds of threats that have already been taken care of.
While you’re at it, delete anything in your directory that you aren’t using. Stagnant themes and plugins can harbor the same hidden risks that any out-of-date software poses.
Double-check any plugins you install on your blog
Usually, the WordPress.org plugins directory is trustworthy and safe. However, it can’t hurt to check the plugin’s rating and number of downloads, as well as the reviews. Let other WordPress users look out for you and help you avoid any troublesome plugins.
Back up your blog
This isn’t exactly a security tip, but it will help you get back on track if the worst happens and you do get hacked. After all, no security system is perfect, so it pays to have a back up so that you can restore your site as quickly as possible after a security breach.
What are you doing to protect your site? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author: Cassie Philips is a technology blogger and internet security expert who aims to help people stay as safe as possible online. She often writes about technology news, cybersecurity programs and tips, as well as data privacy.
In conclusion: I’d like to thank Ask Will Online and its creator Will Green for giving me the opportunity to reach out to their readers to talk about cybersafety. After you’re done taking the steps outlined above, check out think piece article courtesy AWO Why Do People Blog So Much? for an interesting read!