Twenty years ago I didn’t know anybody with a website, now I would be hard pressed to find a friend without at least a basic resume site online. It goes without saying that a lot has changed in this time, but the top issue on top of almost anyone making transactions online and using the web is security. There are tons of different areas of security regarding all the digital devices and social media accounts that we all have but I want to focus on the most basic issue of safety with regards to your own website.
If you still have a website written in just HTML and CSS then you can skip the rest of this article. This issue of security becomes paramount when the site you are running is operating with a database and when it’s an open source content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. While these open source content management systems have allowed the cost of a dynamic website to fall drastically with their advent, their proliferation among the web has allowed hackers to focus on a specific platform of code that is open to the public to view, alter or edit. What does this mean? It means that a determined and skilled hacker knows exactly what type of website you are running with a minimal effort. Then he or she can target your website based on known vulnerabilities in your websites platform.
The single most simple and best way to keep your website safe is to simply make sure it receives any needed updates as soon as they become available. Each of these content management systems have a built-in update alert system. When you log into the administrator section of your website, your website will search for any updates to it’s core software and any extension you are running on your website. Most of these updates will be a single click update, but some, such as a new platform release, will require a site migration involving multiple steps. There is a ton of information on site migration already online and since it’s not something that happens frequently you can deal with it when it happens. Typically a cms platform will need to be upgraded once every 2-3 years to the newest release.
So, in a nutshell, if you are running an open-source content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, make sure you check on your website at least once a week to perform any updates that may need to be applied. If you are running a WordPress site, you can set it to auto-update the core software but you will still need to apply updates to any extensions or themes your site is running.
Live long and prosper on the web.