Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of letting a WordPress update go for a day or two…or a week…or a month.
Hey, we’re all busy, and it’s easy to get so caught up in your day-to-day activities that you put off those updates way too long. But not only can skipping or delaying an update prevent your site from performing optimally, it can also make your site vulnerable to attacks.
“Hackers look at updates, figure out what changed, and exploit holes in websites that aren’t updated,” explains Mike Dell, Lead Support Tech at Blubrry. “Sometimes the hackers put in links to porn or other links to make money. I saw one where the hackers added a link in the footer to a male enhancement drug.” Dell also mentions that hackers can redirect bots to another URL so that the original site can’t be indexed, which can be disastrous for SEO.
So what can you do to avoid your podcast site being compromised? Follow these three tips:
- Set Up A System To Remind You. When you’re in your WordPress dashboard all the time, it’s all too easy to pass right over that little reminder telling you it’s time to update. Create a weekly calendar reminder that will help you remember that it’s time to stop what you’re doing and check for new releases or other potential security issues. While it doesn’t replace regular check-ins, a free plugin like iThemes Security can provide extra peace of mind. IF your podcast site is your livelihood, you might consider a paid service like WP Always, which continuously monitors and maintains WordPress sites to protect against security issues.
- Don’t Wait: Update! Or rather, don’t wait too long. “For major releases, I usually wait 2-4 days to see if there are any significant issues with the release. If not, I then update to the newest version,” explains Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry. For minor releases – you can identify these because they are labeled with a third digit, i.e. v. 1.2.3 – Mandato recommends updating right away.
- Monitor Your Plugins. One of the best things about WordPress is how easily it can be modified and adapted via the use of plugins. But plugins can offer challenges, too. “Make sure you keep all plugins up-to-date as new releases come out,” advises Dell. If your plugin is outdated, it might not work with your newest version of WordPress, and can cause issues you might not even notice right away.
Also, be selective about which plugins you download. “I recommend only using plugins that are hosted on WordPress.org,” says Mandato. “Many paid plugins do not have hooks in place to update your dashboard when they have new or security releases,” which can cause compatibility issues.
And no matter what you do, remove plugins you’re no longer using, advises Dell. Otherwise, over time your WordPress dashboard can begin to resemble a graveyard of out-of-date and non-functional plugins. Not only can it cause problems with your site, but it’s confusing when you try to work with the plugins you really are using since many have such similar names.
Have you ever forgotten or skipped a WordPress update with disastrous – or just inconvenient – results? How do you remind yourself to keep up on this essential task? Let us know about it in the comments!