There has been a rash of website hacking incidents over the last year. In particular, WordPress websites have been targeted. WP is still the most popular platform we use to build sites for a couple reasons. It’s the platform of choice for clients that want a content management system as it is considerably more affordable than custom CMS. As well, WP offers extensive functionality options with all the various plugins available.
But the one potential drawback of WordPress websites is the fact they can be subject to security breaches. The way to avoid these hacking incidents is to keep up to date on WP core platform updates and plugin updates. Most software updates are released to improve security to try and stay ahead of hackers, so it’s crucial to keep your website up to date. For our clients, there are a couple options for doing these website software updates.
1. If you login to the WP backend, you will see on the left menu the “Updates” tab that brings up all the latest updates. Implementing the updates simply involves clicking the box and pressing “Update Plugins” or “Update Now” for WordPress core. You can do these updates yourself and 95% of the time the site will not be adversely affected. However, in some cases an update to a plugin or WP core will cause a conflict between plugins and the core and functionality or site design can be affected because WP and plugin developers generally do not launch updates at the same time. When doing the WP core update, it is recommended that a backup of the site files are taken just in case there are massive conflicts and you need to revert back to the previous version of the site. At ZOO Media Group, we generally do updates once a month on our own website rather than the minute they are released and have not had issues with this approach. The one warning about doing the updates yourself is that if there is an issue, we may not be able to jump on the fix right away due to project scheduling.
2. The other option is to ask us to do the updates for you. We can do it monthly or even every couple of months (sometimes there are not a lot of updates released). In most cases, the process is fairly quick and there are no issues. But if there are issues, we are on the site and can address is right away. We also take a backup of the site to ensure there will be no down time in the event there are issues resulting from the software updates. We generally leave it up to our clients concerning how they would like to manage their website rather than setting a regular schedule for updates.
It is highly recommended that WordPress website software is kept up to date. In addition to potential damage to search ranking, hacking incidents are more time consuming and expensive to clean up, so spending the time to keep the site updated throughout the year will be more cost effective. Some web agencies charge ongoing monthly fees for website maintenance. We choose not to because some months there will be very little work to do and we only want to charge our clients for actual time spent working on the site. As well, some of our clients choose to do the updates themselves and only contact us if issues arise from the updates.
Contact us today if you have questions. As always, we are here to help.