Keeping your WordPress installation updated is a crucial step towards preventing your website from being hacked. It’s such an important factor that Google has begun notifying people through their web master tools account to get with the program and update their website.
Even though it’s extremely important, I am amazed at how frequently web designers will setup a WordPress website for a client and leave them to figure out the updates. Very often clients come to us in need of assistance with a website or SEO issue and we find that they are running a WordPress installation that is outdated. In fact, more often than not, the WordPress installation has never been updated! Yes, sometimes these sites get hacked and some of them are lucky enough to dodge the imminent bullet (because eventually it will happen).
The truth is, often WordPress is a quick and easy solution for a small business in need of a website and more often than not, the website owner either doesn’t know that the website needs updates or doesn’t understand what the updates do – and why should they? Trying to figure our how to update WordPress is really not a good use of a business owner’s time, no matter how easy you might think it is.
It us up to us, in the open source web design industry to support and inform our clients. Clients should know exactly what they are getting – even if it’s over their head, it’s a client’s right to know that open source websites must be regularly maintained and backed up. Even if they don’t want the original developer to handle that task, they should be made aware before the project begins – not after!
So, if you’ve read this far and you are a business owner considering a WordPress or any other type of open source website – I apologize for this industry rant. I’ll leave you with a couple tips to help avoid getting a warning email from Google or worse, getting hacked:
Always ask questions and research your options.
- Ask your web designer if they are going to be performing updates and backups or if you will be responsible for handling those things or finding someone that can.
- Research your options – if your developer is using WordPress, take a look at the WordPress website and read a little bit about what it does before you sign any contracts.
If you’ve already got a WordPress website and need help with your updates and backups, we are always available 😉