When it comes to operating any form of online presence security is always one of the biggest concerns. You should always try to take a best practice approach to website security in order to protect your website investment. There are several ways that you can work to protect that investment, and this week we will be discussing website care and maintenance. Keep in mind some of the items in this article can be utilised for most types of website and some are specific to WordPress.
Website care and maintenance is a task that in most cases you can perform yourself if you have the time and the knowledge. In this weeks article we will cover the main tasks that you need to look at on a regular basis.
Website Up Time Monitoring.
It’s important to know that your website is performing well and online. By setting up monitoring on your site you will be notified each and every time there is an outage on your website. Website outages are bad for business and typically relate to either a misconfiguration of the website itself or poor hosting practices.
You should be aiming to have a minimum of 98% uptime for your website because in reality if your site is offline how will it generate leads and income. We will cover website hosting in a different article but for now we need to monitor that hosting.
The easiest and cheapest way to monitor your website for up-time is to visit the website Uptime Robot and register an account and your website for monitoring. Uptime robot at the time of publishing this article is free for up to 50 websites. For better coverage you can of course move to their pro plan for a small fee.
Visit Uptime Robot Website Here: https://uptimerobot.com/
Website Security Scanning & Protection.
Aside from the monitoring above which lets you know when your site is offline the next step is security scanning and protection. Every single day all over the world websites are being hacked whether by a physical human being or a scripted attack. There is really no way to be 100% secure because if a hacker really wants to gain access to your site they will. What you can do however is take the best measures possible to mitigate your website risk.
Step 1 – is to scan your website which you can do by visiting the Sucuri Sitecheck website. This website will scan your website for anything that looks out of the ordinary. You can visit the site here https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/ Simply enter your website domain name and press the button to have your site scanned for free.
Step 2 – is to install a plugin into your WordPress site that will actively monitor inbound and outbound traffic on your website you can use the free versions of Sucuri’s Plugin or WordFence plugin and follow the setup prompts in the plugins themselves. Both of these plugins are available on the WordPress repository which you can access from your WordPress admin dashboard. You only need one of these so there is no point adding both.
Step 3 – is to make sure you have good quality hosting. Whilst we will discuss more about hosting in another article it is true in the case of hosting that you get what you pay for. Typically you can find a good quality host by doing a check of their reviews online or asking in any number of online groups. You should expect to pay between $20 – $75 per month for decent hosting for one single website. We use and recommend hosting by either Conetix or WP Engine. Visit Conetix using our link here https://admin.conetix.com/aff.php?aff=31 or visit WP Engine by visiting our link here https://wpengine.com/more/specialoffer/?w_agcid=4snIY2OD PLEASE NOTE these links are affiliate links and as such these companies do pay us a small affiliate fee for your purchase.
Step 4 – is to make sure you have a valid SSL certificate on your website to protect all data sent between your website and the visitors browser. Both of the hosts we recommend above offer free SSL certificates with their hosting accounts however you can easily purchase your own SSL certificate from as low as $20 per year. If you have an eCommerce website we recommend purchasing certificate that is more suited to protecting this type of site.
Backup, Backup and Backup
There are so many ways to protect your website but often the most important way is to perform regular backups. Many website owners rely heavily on their hosting providers to perform backups. In most cases, however, your website host is not backing up your individual site. They may perform backups at a server level but often this will mean a cost to you to retrieve the backup from them if they are capable of doing that.
In order to make sure your website is safe and secure we recommend making a direct back up of your hosting account using the in built backup tool in cPanel or Plesk. If your control panel is a custom platform as used by some hosts backup functionality my be additional cost. Suggest contacting your hosting provider for assistance with making backups if you are unsure.
If your site is a WordPress site we suggest using a plugin such as Duplicator or Updraft Plus both of which are available from the WordPress Repository. You only need one of these plugins and we suggest making sure you create a backup on a regular schedule, and store your backups separately and securely away from your website.
Keep them updated
The final critical basic you need to worry about is making sure your website is kept up to date. For those reading this with a WordPress website you can read our in depth guide on WordPress Website Maintenance by visiting this link https://conceptualcreative.com.au/wordpress-website-maintenance-tasks/
If you have another type of website please contact your local community group for that platform or look at their frequently asked questions surrounding maintenance and support.
We hope that this article has helped you to better understand the 4 critical maintenance and care tasks for your website. Through other articles we will discuss some of these items more in depth. Should you have any questions, comments or feedback on this article please utilise the comments section on this article.