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Maintain Your Website to Prevent Hacking

The number of websites hacked in 2016 increased 32 percent from the previous year. There are many forums where users post every day about new strategies for breaking into your online files.

Small business owners might wonder why anyone would hack their small website, but even low-traffic websites provide value to hackers. Hackers often rely on small websites to gain access to the servers where your site is hosted or to send scams from your email. Once a hacker gains access to your website, he or she can cause many problems not just for your site, but for your computer or server. Hackers might insert code that takes the customer to a phishing site where it can steal their essential personal information, including credit card and bank account numbers or worse.

5 Tips to Prevent Hacking
One way to prevent hacking is by making sure your website has proper maintenance. Here are three ways to maintain your website and why they’re important:

1. Update your software. Any and all software associated with your website should be updated. This sounds obvious, but people dislike running software updates on their computers and sites because it takes time. Yet doing so is one of the easiest ways to ward of hackers. Most of the time Content Management Systems (CMS) put out updates just to update privacy and security settings, so if you wait to update, you’re putting your entire website at risk. Most of these CMS, like Joomla! and WordPress, will alert you when a new update comes out. Hackers will realize the holes in security and find systems that haven’t been updated as their easiest targets.

2. Update your plugins. Wordpress plugins are useful tools, but each plugin you add compounds your risk. Check the plugin section of your dashboard for updates and run them; many are related to security.

3. Pay attention to passwords. Make all passwords long and include both lowercase and uppercase letters in addition to multiple symbols and numbers. These passwords should ideally be about 16 characters long. A six-character, all lowercase password can be cracked in mere minutes. You should also change your password once per quarter.

4. Backup your website! If you don’t have a backup copy of your website somewhere, get one ASAP. What would you do if your website crashed and all your photos, words, e-commerce products, etc. are lost? You’d have to start over. If you have a backup, you just copy those files over and voila! Your site is up and running.

5. Stay aware. No business owner can keep up with every security concern out there. Hackers spend their waking time thinking about ways to break in, while you have other things to do. But you can at least keep an eye on hacker news via a tech website. And if you don’t tend to login or look at your website each day, start doing so. That way you’ll know quickly if something is wrong. Google Safe is a common site to detect malware on your page, but there are many others.

Help with Website Maintenance
Keeping up with security and maintenance is not easy, but we can help. Ask us about our monthly maintenance package so you can focus on your work instead of your website.

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