If you have or previously had a blog of your own, you’re aware that blogging takes a lot of time and dedication. In order to bring attention to your page, you have to post regularly and sometimes even do a bit of research. Some turn their blogs into their career, and if you gain a lot of popularity, this isn’t unrealistic.
Because of all of the hours and time involved in creating a successful blog, the last thing any blogger wants is to have all of their posts wiped off of their site. It’s likely that your own personal information is linked with your web hosting account as well, so your posts aren’t the only thing at stake. This is why it’s important to know how to protect your blog from hackers. Here’s how to get started:
Start With Your Passwords
If your passwords are weak, it’s easier for hackers to access your account. What’s worse is that you could be using the same password for multiple accounts without realizing the security risks associated with doing so. When a hacker figures out what the password is to one of your accounts, it’s likely that they’ll also get into your other accounts that share the same one.
To avoid security breaches related to your passwords, ensure that each one you create contains both uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. When possible (not all providers offer this option), use symbols as well. It’s important that your passwords are at least eight characters long, exclude personal or easily identifiable information and contain more than one word.
If you’d like, you can use a phrase as your password, but don’t forget to include all of the things mentioned. An example of a strong password is Honest18Abe09. A weak password might look a little like this: abelincoln. Another tip about passwords: never share them or store them on your computer, smartphone or tablet. On that note, there are password storage services that are somewhat secure, but you’re still entrusting someone else with your account information, so use these at your own risk.
Secure Your Connection
You might already have an anti-virus program installed on your computer, but there’s an additional security program you should consider using that will actually secure your internet connection. Not everyone has the luxury of exclusively using a home internet connection, and some might just enjoy blogging from their favorite café. The problem is, when you’re using public WiFi or any unsecured network for that matter, you’re leaving your device open to hackers.
It could be that you’re doing just about everything right as far as security for your blog goes, but—surprise, surprise—you’re in your favorite little coffee shop blogging away and someone decides that they’re going to take this opportunity to hack into your laptop. This not only puts your blog at risk, but literally everything else on your device as well.
The way you can prevent this from happening is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a remote server that’s encrypted, so when you connect to it, your internet connection becomes secure. All of your online traffic is routed through the VPN, not only encrypting your connection, but also hiding your IP address (which tells others of your location).
A VPN can also come in handy when you’re traveling, as sometimes websites are blocked based on the location of its viewer. If you happen to come upon any of these sorts of websites while attempting to blog during your travels, all you need to do is set the VPN to a different location. For example, if a site only allows visitors located in the United States, all you would have to do is connect to the proper server on the VPN in order to view the page.
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
The longer your software has been on the market, the longer hackers have had to figure out ways to exploit vulnerabilities in the outdated code. Software updates tend to patch up these sorts of vulnerabilities, so it’s important to always use the most recent version of your blogging applications. Some programs might allow you to enable automatic updates, but if not, be sure to check the website of its manufacturer from time to time so you can manually update your software as soon as possible.
Consider Using an Anti-Spam Service
Sometimes visitors to your site can leave behind undesirable comments and hyperlinks that could end up infecting you or your viewers’ computers with malware. The last thing you need when you’re running a successful blog is to have your page’s reputation plummet because someone decided to post malicious links. For under $9 a month, Akismet will take care of the spammers for you by automatically checking and filtering the comments on your blog.
Akismet is surprisingly affordable and can make a huge difference in the security of your blog. You’ll also be able to save yourself time since you won’t have to manually delete every spam-filled comment on your page. Akismet also keeps track of your monthly and daily stats for you.
Keep Backups On Hand
If you use WordPress, you can take advantage of VaultPress, which will automatically backup your blog for you, as well as perform daily security scans. Though it’s a great service, VaultPress can be a bit costly if security scans are a feature you’d prefer; The Security Bundle will set you back $29 per month, whereas their basic Backup Bundle only costs $9 per month.
Both of those bundles are linked with Akismet though, so you’re essentially receiving both services for one fee. VaultPress itself can also be purchased separately from Akismet for under $15 per month, though you will have much more security on your blog if you choose one of the bundles.
Whether you’re using WordPress as your blogging platform or not, you can still backup your page. Check your web host’s site for additional information, as some provide specific instructions for backing up your blog. Whatever you do, be sure to keep at least two or three copies of your backup file and store them on more than one device whenever possible.
Protecting Your Blog
The security of your blog can somewhat determine the success of your page. If your blog becomes known as one that spreads malware, your reputation can quickly drop. Not to worry though; protecting your site doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It just takes a bit of knowledge and the help of a few services and programs.
What are you currently doing to protect your blog from hackers? Has it helped? Let us know about it in the comments.
Cassie Phillips is a technology blogger and internet security expert. She enjoys sharing tips with other bloggers to help them protect their websites from cyberattacks.