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David Gunnels

Have you ever found out a stranger has been reading your emails and IMs? I am not talking about information on a company server where you are an employee. I am talking about personal emails and chats. It feels violating, and it comes with an unsettling aura. More than anything, you feel exposed and vulnerable. I know, because it happened to me.

Several years ago, my former place of employment underwent a system of layoffs. The website team was on the chopping block, so I soon found myself unemployed. I learned about a week later that a friend at work from another department was fired. I found this out because they brought him into a meeting and laid out transcripts of private chats between us. Ones where he vented to me about the company. A lot. They got a hold of them because I never got a chance to log out of my personal email. Being logged in was not the best idea in the first place, but honestly, the company operated by having us send ourselves email attachments from Gmail accounts. It was a whole, dumb thing.

Regardless, I did not realize how this experience was going to make me feel. I fully understood that they had access to that email account while I was employed with them if I used it at work. But now, I no longer was. Logged in or not, it was an invasion of privacy since I was no longer an employee. The experience left me feeling digitally naked. Younger me learned a valuable lesson in security, and I have not made a similar mistake since. This also opened my eyes to how isolating it can feel to be hacked. If I had personal or financial data stored with that account, it would have been way worse than it was.

Like email accounts, websites can be at risk for security and privacy breaches. It is important to know how to prevent them as much as possible. Make sure to learn what you can about website security by navigating this article with the table of contents below.

Table of Contents

What is the Danger of a WordPress Site Hack?

prevent WordPress hacking

If you are unable to prevent WordPress hacking, there could be a wide range of consequences. The severity depends on the kind of hack and the data you deal with. If you have a successful blog, your personal data, advertisement revenue, and visitor information could be compromised. This could lead to you and your visitors getting spammed. You could also end up out a lot of money.

Things get worse if you conduct eCommerce. Now, the financial data of you and your visitors are at stake. While appropriate SSL certification and encryption helps keep everyone protected, once a hacker gets into that information, there is not much you can do. Collected credit card numbers can commonly be found for sale on the dark web.

Can WordPress Itself Prevent WordPress Hacking?

protect WordPress site from hacking

One of the best weapons to help prevent WordPress hacking comes from WordPress itself. They have dedicated security teams tasked with keeping the WordPress content management system (CMS) safe from hacking attempts and data leaks. They accomplish this with a mix of monitoring, consistent security updates, and more.

WordPress keeps a finger on the pulse of hacking news. When word gets out that there is a new exploit or method to break into an account, they work on shutting it down. Sometimes, this is something they can change on their end. Other times, they release an update to keep everyone safe. When everyone promptly applies the update to their WordPress site, everything continues to run smoothly. That is the thing about updates, though. They have to be installed for them to work.

Updates Protect a WordPress Site from Hacking

prevent WordPress hacking

When WordPress releases an update, it is normally a good idea to go ahead and run it. Sometimes, this may run the risk of rejecting an addon or theme until its author also makes appropriate updates. This can be frustrating. In that case, if you are comfortable with understanding changelogs, take a moment to read what the current update does. Not every update is a security upgrade. If you are able to tell that there would be no hacking risk in delaying the update for a while, you can consider that option when considering whether your plugins and such will be compatible. In general, though, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

On top of prevention efforts from WordPress, you should learn how to protect a WordPress site from hacking. One of the best things you can do is keep your software updated to the latest version. Look, I get it. Software, plugins, themes, operating systems, etc. are updating all the time. It gets extremely annoying to see that you need to apply a new update at the top of every hour. These updates are not for fun, though. Many are intended to fix bugs or make slight improvements, yes. However, there are a lot of updates centered around bringing security up to par to prevent a WordPress site hack. Missing even just one for a short time could potentially put your site at risk.

What if I Notice a WordPress Hack in Progress?

protect WordPress hacking

Sometimes, attempts to prevent WordPress hacking fall short. It could be from nothing you did wrong. There are some things you can not control. A single data breach or overlooked encryption from a plugin or host could leave you at risk. Luckily, many of these times, the issue is caught quickly. If you deal with respectable companies for your assets, they will have a policy to alert you as soon as possible.

So what do you do when you get an alert that there is a potential WordPress hack at work? Step one is to change all relevant passwords. And if you have committed a security no-no and used the same password for unrelated sites and services, change those passwords too. And this time, make them all different with variation in letter case, numbers, and special characters. It is best if the password does not have meaning and resembles a jumble of random characters. Yes, it is a pain. But it is even worse to try and recover from a vicious hack of personal or financial data.

Then you need to make sure all of your software and services are updated. This includes WordPress, plugins, themes, internet browsers, security software, operating system, and more. Hackers look for the path of least resistance. They will specifically target the one place you neglected to update or change your password. It is important to make sure you take care of everything.

Finally, check for compatibility. When one piece of software updates, others might no longer be compatible until they update as well. The most popular WordPress plugins and themes typically do a good job of staying on top of this, but everyone lags behind from time to time. This situation can affect your site performance and security. A broken plugin is a potential window into the back-end of your website.

Can Great Hosting Stop a WordPress Hack?

how to protect WordPress site from hacking

An extra layer of peace of mind can come from your web host. Traditional website hosting (and self-hosting) require you to be in charge of any management, updates, monitoring, and security measures regarding your website.  However, managed WordPress hosting takes on that responsibility for you. This idea works wonders when you are not familiar or comfortable with taking on the details of your hosting by yourself. And even if you are, the time and effort you save are definitely worth any additional cost. In the end, it is likely that the move even saves you a good bit of money.

Managed WordPress hosts, like WP Super Host, have experienced data engineers tasked with keeping things running smoothly. We monitor for WordPress updates, plugins, and uptime. That is on top of our fast speeds, high bandwidth, easy migration, and CDN. And don’t forget about our daily backups and SFTP access. When it comes to security and performance, your WordPress site needs hosting from WP Super Host. Visit our pricing page today to learn more.

Final Thoughts

Being hacked isn’t fun. It is not a cool experience you can talk about later. It leaves you feeling exposed and vulnerable. Knowing that someone broke into something of yours without your permission or knowledge can be scary: digital or not. And that is even before dealing with the fallout of the leaked data.

This is why it is really important to do everything you can to prevent WordPress hacking. You are already doing a lot by trusting WordPress. Put the rest of your security in good hands. Make sure to follow the best practices for online security and get your website online with quality, managed WordPress hosting.

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