Importance of keeping your website software up to date

Hacked!Ok, so you have a Joomla or WordPress website, and you can now make minor, or maybe even major, content updates yourself… Great! Don’t have to worry about website maintenance anymore, right?… But wait, have you thought about the “health” of your website? How long has it been since the content management system (CMS) software was last updated? Did you even realize that it should be updated?

Well, I can tell you that it should be updated… regularly! There are some analogies to understand why this is the case. Think of recommended car maintenance, a product recall or exercise and proper diet. All of these have to do with keeping something in good working, “healthy” condition.

Ever notice how software on your computer, tablet or phone updates automatically, or at least asks you to update it? Operating systems, apps, internet browsers, etc. all require frequent updates to keep them bug-free, secure and even to add new features. The same is true for your content management system (e.g. Joomla & WordPress) software.

Is your website a target for hackers?

You’ve probably either heard about, or been victim to, nasty computer viruses, malware or hackers that can infect your computer, devices and apps. Well, CMSes like Joomla and WordPress, are also desirable targets of hackers and malware. Research has shown that “more than 30,000 websites are infected with some sort of malware every day” and “a majority of these sites are legitimate sites that have had malicious code injected into them through any number of vulnerabilities”. These threats often target the websites that have older software running… that have well-known security vulnerabilities (at least well-known to the hackers anyway).

A hacker or malware attack could result in unauthorized updates or even complete control of your site being taken away from you. There are no guaranteed ways to prevent every threat, but there are some fairly easy steps to help yourself avoid becoming a victim.

Ways to protect your website

  • Be proactive about your website’s security
  • All registered users should have strong passwords
  • NEVER keep the default user account named “Admin” or “Administrator”
  • Schedule regular site backups
  • Update your CMS software regularly – particularly when it’s a security release
    • Don’t forget about any plugins, themes & templates – they also need to be updated
  • Check with your web host to ensure they have updated server software and take security seriously

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