Security for WordPress websites

I was delighted to hear from a long-time client whose been working on some amazing projects, has written several books to International success, and is working on yet another book. Then the bad news came: her website was hacked and she lost everything.

Sound of heart breaking.

I know, right? How does this happen?

Whether it be a lack of communication, an outdated email, an expired credit card, or whatever the reason, losing all of your hard work is just plain tragic.

She was calling to see if I had a backup of the original design and content files from 2006. We did. But still, those files are ten years old. I’m honestly surprised that this message needs to be communicated—everyone backs up their files, right? Apparently not.

Backing up your website is a critical step in protecting your security and ensuring that your website is never at risk of utter failure. Since we build WordPress powered websites at Monkey C Media, I am going to address WordPress in particular. But seriously, regardless of your platform, backup your website, and you computer for that matter.

There are three parts to your WordPress powered website and you will need a backup for each one:

  1. The Design
  2. The Theme
  3. The Database

THE DESIGN:
If you have a custom designed website, then someone had to design it. You will need those design files in order to make design changes in the future, so these are important to have regardless of whether your site goes down or not. Think of this as the architectural renderings of your house (although in an admittedly over-simplified way).

THE THEME:
Once you have an approved design, a front-end programmer has to convert that design into code. This is what we refer to as a theme in my industry. Even if your site is not custom designed, your site still has a theme. This is what dictates the structure, overall look and style of your website. Think of it as the foundation, roof, and walls.

THE DATABASE:
These are your words, the content that you add to your site and blog. Think of this as the curtains and furniture in your house. You should backup your database as often as you add content.

How do I back up my website? you ask.

The design is something you get from your designer. Be sure to ask for native, layered files.

The theme is something you get from your website company after your website has gone live, and anytime you make major structural changes to your website. You can also run a complete backup of your website from your server. Ask your your hosting company or webmaster to help you with this.

The database is something that should be set to backup automatically (if you add content once a week, then you should have a weekly backup in place). There are numerous plugins you can install that will automatically backup your site on a set schedule like BackUpWordPress.

As an aside, the coolest thing about WordPress is that there is a plugin for practically everything, so if you need something specific, a Google search will likely get you what you need. Happy Blogging!

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Jeniffer Thompson administrator

Jeniffer Thompson is a publishing consultant and author branding expert. She is the Founder and Principal at Monkey C Media, a leading book services firm specializing in book design, author websites, and Internet marketing strategy. Jeniffer has more than 20 years experience in publishing and would love to help you navigate your publishing journey.