3 Vital Must-Do’s To Save Your Website From Zombies (or other bad guys)!

Protect your website and keep it safe

Imagine it’s a beautiful, lovely day and you’re skipping along, humming Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”.
(You’re welcome :))

Just floating on cloud 9 because you FINALLY got your site out in the webisphere loaded with all kinds of juicy goodness to share with the world. WEE!

You poured your little heart, blood, sweat and tears into it getting your website perfect but then…BAM! You hit the wrong button / your website got hacked / the server got hit with a two ton meteor / (*fill in catastrophe here*).

Now what!?

You could go cry to your momma and run down the road screaming, tearing your hair out or… you could say, “Well that bites… thank goodness my website is safe!” Then you wave your magic backup wand and Voilà! You’re beautiful site it back in business!

Be confident because you’ve protected your website.
These 3 vital must-do’s will make sure you are.

1. Back that thang up!

Back up. Regularly. Forever.

“But my web host backs my site up…” HA! I laugh at you silly human! Yes, sometimes they do. Sometimes they even back up ALL of your WordPress files too. If your web host automatically (key word here) regularly backs up all of your WordPress AND website files, GREAT! Think of their backup as 1 of the 2 MINIMUM (3 is even better) backups you should do.

“Being too busy to worry about backup is like being too busy driving a car to put on a seatbelt.” – T.E. Ronneberg

You’ve heard the saying… ”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” So, don’t just rely on your web host to backup your website. Things happens – YOU make sure it’s done – YOU backup your website. Then, if your website is shot with a poison tipped arrow, you’ll be ok.

Here are my favorite backup plugins for WordPress:
For superific, hech yeah, zombie proof protection.

  • BackupBuddy by iThemes: – Automatically backs up your website. The $80 cost covers 2 websites and it comes with a nice amount of storage as well. Get a 25% off coupon here.
  • VaultPress: from WordPress. The Lite option is $55 with daily automated backups. You can also level up for more options like real time backups, spam protection and security threat fixers.
Bring in the muscle.

2. Lock it up!

You shall not pass!

Gandalfisize your website (that should be a thing).

Hackers – smackers! That’s what you should be able to say if you properly secure your website. Put that thing in total lock down, turn on the electric fence and let loose the rabid robo-dogs to detect any malicious attacks or the zombie virus.

You can protect and detect by using these:

  • Wordfence – One of my all time top-o-the-list plugins for WordPress. Scans for malware, notifies you when people try to hack or log in plus and more. Keeps an eye on things and keeps the jerks out. Both the free and $39 options are super powers.
  • iThemes Security – More ways to keep safe from our friends at iThemes. Create a custom WordPress login URL (to bump up security) + more. Options for free or Pro for $80 a year.
  • Unhack.us OR Sucuri – Scans, protects and repairs. If something bad does happen, these are the super heroes who will save the day. You can also use Sucuri’s FREE SiteCheck now to check for any problems or issues.
Keep things tidy.

3. Maintenance & Updates

The #1 way to maintain your site is to keep it up to date.

Things with working parts need to be maintained. It’s just like checking the oil in your car. You’ve got to keep your website well oiled and tidy too.

WordPress, plugins and themes release regular updates in order to provide new features as well as fixes to bugs and the latest security updates.

Skipping out on your website updates leaves your site wide open and easy pickin’s for web hackers aaaand could also cause things to break or quit functioning properly (which would totally bite).

BONUS TIP: Do a back up BEFORE running any updates. Every now and then, there’s a plugin that hasn’t updated to the latest version of WordPress or one that decides it no longer wants to play nicely with the other plugins. When that happens, it sometimes causes a hiccup or worst case – you could get a white screen of death or a screen with a bunch of geek speak language that looks scary. No worries – why?? Duh? You backed it up! Just restore your backup then go back in and try deactivating each plugin one by one and updating after each to weed out the trouble maker. If you still need help, contact the plugin developer or your favorite web developer to help figure out the problem and get ya back in business!

 

Mark your calendar with these and never forget to maintain and update again.

  • DAILY: Back it up. Set up your backup software to do this automatically everyday. You can be productive while you sleep! I’ve set mine to backup at 3 in the morning.
  • WEEKLY:
    • Perform plugin, WordPress, Theme updates (don’t forget to back up first).
    • Scan for malware and run security checks. Better yet, set your security plugin to do this for you.
    • Make sure your daily backups are working.
    • Do an overall site scan. Look at your pages, is everything still aligned and working properly?
  • MONTHLY:
    • Deactivate and delete any unused themes or plugins.
    • Remove any old users.
    • Save your backups to multiple places (other than your server) like: an external hard drive, AmazonS3, Dropbox, etc. That way if your server or website gets hacked, you’ve got a clean, reliable back up to use.
    • Update your passwords. Use LastPass to make it easy as well as secure.
    • Test your contact forms. Make sure people can actually reach you.
  • EVERY 6 MONTHS (or as needed):
    • Update your content. Pricing, pages etc. to make sure everything out there on the web is still relevant.
    • Freshen it up (step away from the crazy flash dancing kittens) like colors and layout to keep from burning people’s eyes. Make it more user friendly and fresh.
Do these so you can rest easy, sleep at night and even kick back with a margarita knowing that your online home is safe!

Now go… back it up, lock it up and maintain that puppy.

Too scared or too busy to do it yourself? I can help (I’d love to actually – it’s kinda my thang!) with Got You Covered WordPress Management.

Do you have any awesome website safety tools or steps that you use and love? Tell me about it below.

– Janet
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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Nesha March 5, 2015, 12:36 pm

    Backups are SO important! I totally broke my site last month fiddling with the functions.php file, and my backup totally saved me. Great post!

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 2:59 pm

      Saved me more than once too! 🙂

  • Erin E Flynn March 5, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Great article, Janet! Agree with everything you said, and love the list at the end!

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 3:00 pm

      Thanks Erin!

  • Beth March 5, 2015, 2:31 pm

    So helpful for a DIYer such as myself! I have BackUp Buddy but not much else on your list. Bookmarking. Thank you!

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 3:02 pm

      SO glad that helped! And yay for BB! Be sure to get Wordfence next 🙂

  • Callie Willows March 5, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Great post Janet and so important! The lists of timeframes for updates at the end is especially useful.

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 6:04 pm

      Thanks Callie! I love it when people just tell me what to do (I like not having to think lol). I was hoping this would help people!

  • Emily March 5, 2015, 4:55 pm

    This post is utterly fantastic, other than the fact that it completely derailed my plans for what to do after reading it and made me immediately go implement a long-overdue task on my own site. I’m usually pretty good about security but this was more thorough than me! Thanks. 🙂

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 6:05 pm

      Mission accomplished then! So glad it helped Emily and thank you!

  • Janet March 5, 2015, 6:05 pm

    Mission accomplished then! So glad it helped Emily and thank you!

  • Naomi Liddell March 5, 2015, 7:05 pm

    SO important. People seem to always forget that a website is not a ‘set and forget’ marketing tool. It needs care and attention! Bookmarking this to share with clients and colleagues. xo

    • Janet March 5, 2015, 8:42 pm

      Exactly Naomi – keeping things nice takes work. But, it’s totally worth it! 🙂 PS: I like your “it’s not a set and forget marketing tool” what a perfect way to describe it.

  • Funmi March 5, 2015, 9:42 pm

    Completely agree with this great post. There are so many things that we as Business owners need to do that I am grateful for the monthly reminders from my website to backup. I act upon them immediately.

    • Janet March 6, 2015, 9:55 am

      So great it can help you!

  • Katie March 5, 2015, 11:15 pm

    Super important info shared here! I love your graphic with the zombie hands. LOL (very creative)

    • Janet March 6, 2015, 9:55 am

      Lol, thanks – it thought it was funny 🙂

  • Christine March 6, 2015, 6:49 am

    Always good to have a reminder to get these things done. I’ve added 1. set up back up system and 2. add security system to my March to-do list. Thanks Janet!

    • Janet March 6, 2015, 9:56 am

      Yay! So happy to hear that! Not the fun things to do but gotta do ’em.

  • Christophe Gonzalez March 6, 2015, 10:53 am

    Great read, something everyone skips over until it’s too late!

  • jennifer September 12, 2015, 9:36 am

    This advice is so awesome! But I use blogger. Do you have any advice for blogger blogs?

    • Janet September 14, 2015, 1:19 pm

      Hi Jennifer! What ever your website CMS you can always do your own manual back ups by keeping a folder on your computer (or somewhere else safe) that contains all or your images, copy of your page/post content or anything else important. So, if you aren’t able to run additional backups yourself of your whole site (say for instance, the service backs up their selves – like Blogger or Shopify, etc.) you’ll at least have most of your content saved in a safe place in case anything bad does happen. You can (and should) also use strong passwords, limit users, check for spam and run monthly checks to make sure things are working properly. Little things make a difference!

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