Whether you write a blog for fun or as a profession, it’s something that you should do your utmost to keep safe…because trust me a hacked blog is enough to give you a cardiac! And a few simple tips — from web hosting choice to being smart with passwords — will help to prevent any unwarranted online issues.
As a blogger, you need to know that as modern technology evolves, so does the ability and resources of hackers. Unfortunately, we aren’t all tech geniuses, myself included. But with some good decision making and common sense, you can keep your blog safe. Here are four tips to get you started:
Choose a Variation of Strong Passwords
Gone are the days when ‘password’, ‘1234’, or passwords of a similar nature would be acceptable. Your chosen password now has to often fit certain criteria (capital letter, number, symbols) to make it stronger and, therefore, harder to hack your account successfully. There are a few ways you can make sure your password is strong, starting with the number of characters (12+ minimum), as well as using a variation of lower or upper case letters, numbers and symbols.
So now you have come up with the ultimate password; so good that surely you should use this password for all of your accounts, right? Wrong, very wrong. Doing so is like having one key that unlocks your house, car and even your bank account (bank accounts don’t have keys, but for this example, let’s say they do). Once they’ve obtained your key (password), a hacker will have access to every account you log into — and if you’re like most people, that’s plenty of accounts.
Don’t Store Passwords in Your Browser
Let’s stick with passwords for a moment. If you’re someone who finds yourself using the ‘forgot your password?’ feature a lot, it will be tempting to store passwords in your browser when prompted. Doing so will automatically fill in your login details when you attempt to access your account.
While it may be ideal in regards to making your online experience more fluent, without the interruption of stopping to enter passwords, it can be a security risk. Storing information in your browser — especially bank details — should be avoided, because it could easily be seen by prying eyes. In the worst case scenario, someone could steal your laptop and your browser gives them direct access to your account(s).
Choose a High-Quality Web Hosting Provider
If you’re currently using a free website hosting service such as WordPress, or chose a company for price alone, now would be the time to find yourself a high-quality website hosting provider. The service they provide will be beneficial to your site in regards to speed and dealing with high volumes of traffic, but also security.
A reputable hosting company will have more advanced hardware, with the ability to provide a more secure network for your site. Anti-virus and anti-spam software, along with automated backups, will prove to be efficient ways of maintaining the safety of your website. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the different types of website hosting (shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers) and deciding which is best suited to the needs of your blog.
Prepare for Attacks for Quicker Recovery
It’s an unfortunate fact that despite your efforts, there’s always the chance that you’ll become the victim of a cyber attack at some point. If this happens, you’ll undoubtedly be panicking, especially if the blog is your primary source of income. To avoid panic, negativity and the devastating thought that your beloved blog may be gone forever, preparation and backups will be a lifesaver.
Having your web hosting provider’s contact details and your account login info will be your first port of call if a cyber-nightmare should occur. The experts will be able to give you suitable advice to make sure you don’t suffer from extended downtime. Downloading an up-to-date backup of your website data will also be the ideal preparation, as this is what you’ll need for recovery.
Cyber attacks are an unfortunate product of the digital age, but something that we nevertheless have to deal with. As bloggers, you or anyone else who owns a website will have to make a consistent effort to protect your site — and the tips mentioned above will be a huge benefit.
Do you do any of the above to help protect your blog from attack? What other tips do you have to share?
*This is a collaborative post