Like all software applications, WordPress installations generally won’t be perfect from the very beginning. So much can go wrong, especially in an online environment. Even though developers conduct large scale testing before an initial launch, no matter how much of this is carried out there will always be someone who will find some sort of bug or previously undetected issue. To help address these bugs, regular updates are released which WordPress users can then apply to their own websites.
Updates help tackle another important issue which is growing ever more problematic – increasing security and reducing the chance of WordPress websites getting hacked. Regrettably, there are many dishonest people out there who want to hack into your website for a variety of unlawful reasons. These can include obtaining confidential data, sending large amounts of spam or uploading malicious content such as viruses or malware. Others do it simply to show their “friends” that they can.
The probability of someone being able to hack your WordPress website depends on how many security holes are present that can be exploited. The older your version of WordPress is, the more security holes there will be. Therefore promptly installing the latest updates can help reduce the risk of compromise and make it much more difficult for hackers.
Some of the consequences of getting hacked include:
- Your website could be infected with viruses or malware
Visitors to your website could inadvertently contaminate their own computers and help the virus spread.
- Malicious content could be uploaded to your website
This can include pages pretending to be legitimate banking sites, pornography and spam links.
- Your website could be blacklisted for spamming
Hackers often use exploited websites to send large amounts of spam. If this happens, your website may become blacklisted, preventing you from being able to send e-mails from your own website or domain.
- Your Website could be suspended.
If your hosting provider is made aware that your website has been hacked then they could take it offline until the issue is resolved to help protect other internet users.
- Your website’s reputation could suffer
If the visitors of your website can clearly see it’s been hacked then they are unlikely to come back. If your website relates to a business then this could heavily impact your reputation as a trader and your profits may suffer too.
To minimise these risks, our mini-series of weekly blog posts throughout August will show you how to update and secure your WordPress site. If you already have an existing WordPress website and know it needs to be updated, the instructions below will give you a head start: