There are millions of WordPress blogs around the world and if you host WordPress yourself you will know that there is often some maintenance to be done. But many people don’t know and therefore when things go wrong on their blog. Most are surprised to find out that there were things they could have done to prevent the downtime. These are 5 ways to secure your WordPress Blog & avoid downtime. My shanemcdonald.ie site is based on WordPress and rarely do I have issues.
1) WordPress Plugins
Your hosted WordPress installation will have some plugins installed and from time to time these will be patched, improved and in some cases be given security improvements. You will know if an update is due on your WordPress plugins as a circle with a number will appear after the Plugins section on the left hand column of your WordPress Dashboard. Simply click into the Plugins section, select the plugins for upgrade and hit the Upgrade button. It is a straight forward process which is worth checking for every few days.
2) WordPress Installation Updates
Occasionally WordPress itself will be upgraded, at the time of writing this post version 3.4.2 of WordPress is the latest stable release. You will know if an upgrade for WordPress is available as it will be highlighted across the Top of your WordPress Dashboard. This Notification should not be ignored as it usually gives security improvements plus new features. The Upgrade process may include a database backup advisory so if you don’t backup your wordpress databases you should and there are some excellent plugins which allow you to do this.
3) Framework Updates
If you use purchased or 3rd party WordPress Themes, these may come with a Theme Framework. These framework updates are sometimes overlooked and people don’t even know they are there. Most often if you click Appearance -> Themes you may see an extra dropdown for Update Framework…this may also appear further down the Dashboard left column under Theme Options. you should always know what theme you are working with so that you don’t inadvertently delete or change settings for the theme – also if you are on twitter / the web you may see notifications or alerts for certain themes saying that updates are available for potential security loopholes etc.
This is one of the biggest problems on sites which have been attacked or hacked – people don’t set the correct permissions on files and folders. Setting permissions using chmod 777 which is read, write and execute for everyone is one way of asking for trouble. Its like leaving your backdoor open and wondering why you got robbed. There are plenty of tutorials online which explain file permissions and correctly set permissions allow WordPress and you (as the web admin) access, but no-one else.
5) Table naming and Admin usernames
One other way of protecting WordPress is when installing the system to avoid calling your tables wp_ and also by not allocating admin as the username but by choosing something else. This helps avoid attacks on known tables / usernames.
Hopefully these 5 ways to secure your WordPress Blog will help you avoid downtime. It might help you maintain a safer installation of the worlds best Blogging software.
Looking back at the year that was on my website and the website traffic for 2011. This was the year Google Panda visited my site, Twitter and Facebook had an impact on search and website traffic, and an overall increase of 21% on website traffic from 2010.
2011 looks like hitting 690,000 unique visitors and 1.8 Million Page Views.
20 The Most Popular Pages on the site
1. Piano Chord Shapes : 198,647 pageviews
2. 420 Chords – ChordMap : 152,515 pageviews
3. Guitar Chords : 51,751 pageviews
4. Learn To Read Music : 50,402 pageviews
5. Easy Music Transposer : 42,333 pageviews
6. Queen Album List / Discography : 34,164 pageviews
7. Chordmap Italiano : 33,584 pageviews
8. Learn Types of Music Notes : 32,594 pageviews
9. How to Transpose : 32,199 pageviews
10. Shanes Queen Site Homepage : 31,194 pageviews
11. Guitar Chord Bm : 27,729 pageviews
12. Guitar Chord List : 27,131 pageviews
13. Piano Chord C Major : 24,666 pageviews
14. Bohemian Rhapsody Chords : 24,075 pageviews
15. How to Fix and iPhone / iPod Touch, with a Frozen Safari App : 23,121 pageviews
16. Homepage : 20,130 pageviews
17. Guitar Chord of Bb Maj 19,159 pageviews
18. Piano Chord of C : 16,702 pageviews
19. Piano Chord Variations in C : 14,552 pageviews
20. Piano Chords in Spanish : 13,443 pageviews
Top 10 Pages on the Blog
1. How to Fix and iPhone / iPod Touch, with a Frozen Safari App : 23,121 views
2. Flight Radar Vs Plane Finder iPhone Apps : 8,615 views
3. Blog Homepage : 1,683 views
4. Fix an iPhone or iPod Touch which Won’t Start : 1,570 views
5. iPhone 4 expected in Ireland in Early June : 762 views
6. Irish Language – What a Waste of Time : 642 views
7. Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore : 592 views
8. UFO Spotted over Copacabana Beach : 572 views
9. Goalkeeper Saves Penalty and Celebrates as Ball Rolls in to Goal : 548 views
10. NDrive – iPhone Sat Nav App : 360 views
Google Panda Update Visited the Site
Google Panda is a change to the Google’s search results ranking algorithm.This change reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results, my site was affected in October with traffic dropping by about 60%. Below is the output from Google Analytics which shows the dramatic drop in traffic during that time – thankfully traffic was come back up towards normal levels. The website traffic on my site has changed hugely over the years. One April fools day the website traffic was so high, I got shut down – I had generated 105,000 page views in 3 days. That was back in 2009! Hopefully I can replicate that website traffic again soon.
if you have a WordPress blog then you will be aware that from time to time plugins and WordPress itself require occasional updates to be processed. These updates fix security flaws and often provide extra functionality, all of which lead to a better and safer WordPress experience. However, many people forget to update, leaving these security holes open to potential exploits. Once a WordPress blog is open to these exploits, the site is then open to being compromised by a faceless hacker. There is an excellent WordPress plugin called WP Security Scan.
WP Security Scan can help by prompting you to what might be wrong with your sites WordPress installation. Many website attacks are caused by automated tools which try and determine software versions before launching exploit code. WP Security Scan removes your WordPress blog version in order to discourage some attackers and to mitigate virus and malware programs which rely on software versions.
WP Security Scan checks your WordPress website/blog for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions such as:
- File permissions
- Database security
- Version hiding
- WordPress admin protection/security
- Removes WP Generator META tag from core code
You can also visit the WebsiteDefender Blog for more information.
If you haven’t updated your version of WordPress, then do so now!
If you haven’t installed WP Security Scan, thats ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I have just launched a Photography Blog, I decided that although I use Flickr and Picasa for storing photos, I wanted something extra for displaying photos and discussing everything to do with Photography.
The link is www.shanemcdonald.me
ShaneMcDonald.me Photo Blog (screenshot)
Is it PhotoBlog or Photo Blog?
When doing my research I was curious to the naming – is it “Photo Blog” or “PhotoBlog”. Using Google Insights for Search and Google Trends I was able to see which was most used.
It turns out that PhotoBlog is a growing search term which is 2 or 3 times more popular than “Photo Blog”.
If you are doing SEO work and you have a photo blog then this information might be useful. The Google trends system is a great way to find out which term is more widely used and also if terms are growing or declining in search.
Hope you enjoy my site – still only a few posts on it but I hope to have at least 15 posts by the end of the year,