Your website is your online face to your current and potential clients, customers and partners. It is important therefore to always put your best face forward. Your website is available on the internet 24/7. This means that anyone in any country in the world, can view your website and connect with you. All they require is an internet connection!.
With this in mind we have developed this short guide to help you understand what you need to do to keep your website looking good and working effectively at all times. Please note that this guide on web maintenance does not include content updates.
There are two main reasons why you need to regularly maintain your website. Firstly for security reasons and secondly to ensure that it runs effectively and efficiently. Businesses would normally employ a web administrator or web manager or delegate web maintenance activities to their IT department. This would range from a single person for a small business to a whole department for larger organizations. Business start-ups would normally outsource this service to their web developer or hosting provider. Some businesses may choose to maintain their websites themselves and call in an expert if something goes wrong. Regardless of your approach, it is important that you have a clear strategy for maintaining your website.
It is important that your website is kept secure and only authorized people are allowed to access your website files and databases. Unfortunately, there are people out there who for malice or sport may seek to hack into your website. Once in your website, they can insert malicious code which can affect the front end of your website in various ways. The most common way is to take over the content of your website and replace it with their content which most of the time is offensive content. Security can be compromised by the following methods:
➢ Accessing your back office via weak passwords (the most common way hackers access your website)
➢ Outdated software versions: New software versions are designed to improve security as well as a host of other issues. Using outdated software increases your risk of getting hacked. In addition software developers may discovered a glitch in their software and rather than creating a new version will send a patch to fix the glitch. If this patch is not applied your website may be at risk of being hacked. This includes the main CMS software and any extensions or plugins used to build your website.
➢ YOU!: If your personal computer does not run the latest antivirus/antispyware scans on a regular basis. Your passwords can be stolen from your computer and used to hack into your website. Please protect your PCs, if your password is stolen this way, they can easily do this again. Be careful of suspicious links in emails, forums etc Due diligence should be given to ensure that your website’s security is not compromised at anytime. Having said that, hacking is extremely rare and there are over 400 million websites on the internet. It would be extremely bad luck for your website to be hacked. Key hackers tend to target political websites or commercial giants, and may hack into these to prove a point. Your website however can be hacked by malicious automated software, so it is imperative that you take care of your website. Ensuring that you have a current backup of your website files means that you can easily restore your website, change passwords and apply updates before any major harm is done.
More information/resources on web security
What to do if your website security is compromised
1. Don’t panic
2. Log into your site Control Panel
3. Take your website offline
4. Notify your web hosting company
5. Change all passwords
6. Investigate the problem
7. Replace the website from backups or local FTP files
8. Update all software – delete any vulnerable scripts
9. Try and identify the hackers’ IP address, report it and block it
If you are unable to deal with a hacked website contact us or any other web developer with experience of Joomla/Wordpress CMS websites.
Another reason to ensure that you regularly maintain your website is to ensure that it runs efficiently at all times. Visitors are put off by broken links, slow loading speeds, error pages, broken images and other such errors that can apply on a website, especially after software updates or applied software patches. It is vital therefore that regular website health checks are carried out, and a health check carried out after every software update. Website health checks can easily be carried out using a number of online tools. A number of these tools are free.
➢ Keep your administrator email current
➢ Ensure your passwords are as secure as possible.
➢ Keep your Internet browsers up to date and apply security updates
➢ Apply software patches once released
➢ Apply software updates once released
Every Day: Visit your website every day. The best way to do this is to save your website as your home page on your Personal Computer. In this way you can quickly track if there are any changes to your website.
Every Week: Run anti virus scans on your PC. This process can be automated.
➢ Check the Microsoft website for windows update to run latest updates to your PC
➢ Backup your website files and databases (cPanel and FTP downloads)
➢ Check the vulnerability status of all the third party software used on your website
➢ Undertake a website health check
➢ Check the last log into your cpanel. It should be from your IP address or the IP address of your web administrator
Every three – six months
➢ Update all your website key passwords
➢ Health check all your file structures
➢ Health check your database
➢ Undertake Google checks for any password security breaches
➢ Check website logs for any suspicious logins
We now offer a range of support services for organizations running Wordpress or Joomla websites. Our monthly maintenance costs start from £75.00 per month. We also offer a number of one off services for clients who prefer not to buy a monthly contract. We can tailor our service to ensure that it suits your requirements and budgets.
Please contact us if you want to know more about our web maintenance services.