As a business owner you understand the importance of having a website however many website owners fail to understand the importance of regularly updating a website. Maintaining a website, is a little like owning a dog, you have to take care of it every day and you shouldn’t have a website unless you are willing to do that. One major website maintenance requirement is to update your website regularly. Updates help plug up any weaknesses your website might have and gets rid of Malware that may have infected it.
Software works perfectly well and is completely secure when it first produced and comes off the production line, but over times it becomes outdated which is why software is constantly updated. Hackers unfortunately play with programs and especially those associated with the Internet and figure out weaknesses in its coding. They then take advantage of these loopholes they find to gain access to your computer through the software.
Most software programs will sign you up for automatic updates when you first install them. Periodically, a dialog box offering an update will appear and you’ll be given a choice to update now or later. When you see one of these updates, get it as soon as possible to keep your software secure.
If you’re running a website on WordPress, Drupal or one of the other major content management platforms, it will occasionally offer updates. These updates are offered for exactly the same reason, to plug up security weaknesses. You’ll see an alert on your dashboard when it needs to be updated and all you need do is click on a link to update. Like software updates, this should be done immediately whenever an update is offered. Just make sure your entire website is backed up first as updates can and sometimes do break other components of a website.
Plugins and Themes
Website Plugins are small programs that are added to your website to give it specific features and themes are the design of your website and these need to be updated as well. These are actually less secure than software programs or the WordPress core platform. They can easily get infected or expose your site to attack. The reason is that plugins and themes put additional code on your site. More code means more opportunities for hackers to get through, especially if your website is using free outdated plugins.
Plugins and themes don’t update automatically like your web browser does, but you’ll get an icon on your site’s dashboard when an update is available. If you have plugins or themes that you’re not using anymore, delete them from your website. The old code presents a security threat even if you are not using it, this is because it is still online and accessible.
Expired Security Certificates
Your SSL certificate has an expiration date, it usually lasts for one year, and when it expires, you have to renew it with a certificate authority. You can do this through your web hosting company or wherever you purchased the certificate, and they’ll generally handle it all for you or give you full details of what to do.
Change Your Passwords
This is the simplest of updates and one that every website owner can do, every few months you should login and change all of your passwords. The more frequently you do it, the better your security will be. Through various methods such as phishing, key logging, hackers can obtain your passwords. If you change them often, the old passwords are useless and you are protected. Remember to use strong passwords and to be careful were you store them.
Back It Up
No matter how good your website security is, it’s never fully secure so remember to always back up everything. Back up your files, content and database. Just in case your website gets attacked or goes down, you’ll be able to restore it with all of your data intact. Along with regular updates and password changes, making backups of your website should be part of your regular maintenance routine.