Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What to Do When Your WordPress Site Gets Hacked Part 1

It was Monday morning and I was on a call with a dozen others who are my peers. Each of us helps the small business owner with their businesses in one way or the other. It was at the end of the call and we were each sharing our websites and going over how to make little improvements here and there. Time was running out and there was just enough time for one more website review, I volunteered. As my site was coming up for all to see suddenly the screen turned a maroon red with an outline of a security officer with his hand stretched out and the words of "don't precede malware danger." There was more but I was too horrified to remember exactly what it said. I was concerned about my website that I had spent hours on being ruined plus humiliated that the people on the call had seen me so vulnerable.

Protect Yourself

My first step isn't one you have to take but it helped me. I had a good old fashion pity party. I cried and railed against the evil hackers (that where probably 13 and smarter then me.) And then I did what I should have done before I even started my website. And here is where I want you to start as well. Learn how to protect yourself before you get hacked. The beautiful thing about WordPress and why so many of us recommend it is because it is so easy to learn. Unfortunately, that can also be a detriment to the health of our sites. We have to learn how to add a security fence around our site.

Keep Updated

Here are some things I learned the week of coming back from being hacked. It can and will probably happen to you. I had gone five years on the internet without being hacked and got lazy. I had several domains being hosted together. I didn't keep them all updated with the newest plug-ins and themes. There is such a thing called cross contamination of sites that share a hosting spot. And if your site has outdated items on it that becomes an opening for hackers and then it just spreads. I had a backup plug-in but when I went to check to see how to get the site back it didn't cover all of the different areas of the website. It was worth the amount of money I paid for it. Zero.

Keep Informed

I was scared and didn't know what I was going to do. I don't know code how was I going to wade through lines upon lines of code finding the problems. I went looking for people who could clean my site and it was expensive. By this time I was frustrated and angry at myself. How could I let this happen to all the work I have done. And what was I going to do now. I remembered a year ago I went to a conference in Atlanta and meet a woman who worked helping other small business owners keep their WordPress sites safe. I contacted her on Facebook and was directed to a site called They give out weekly WordPress security reports, best WordPress security practices and best of all a weekly webinar which was going to run that night.

There's More to the Story

There is more to the story. You are just going to have to read the second part to hear what I learned that night that saved my WordPress site from being destroyed. Until then don't make the same mistakes I did. Learn more about how to protect your sites from hackers. Keep all your sites updated, it is so important that the plug-ins and themes stay updated within the sites. Keep yourself informed this is the informational age and things change daily. One of the best ways I found is a great site called I'm not an affiliate for them. Just thankful for the information they provide.