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Backup WordPress – Don’t lose $1800 like I did

Always backup your WordPress sites.  It doesn’t matter if you have one or 100, backing up the content from the sites you spend a lot of time and money on should never be something you’ll do tomorrow.  Trust me – I learnt the hard way.

Always backup wordpress

I run several airport-related blogs which I have built up over the last three years, with each one being developed in WordPress.  I love WordPress and you’ll hear me talking about it all the time as it is easy to use, has any plugin you could possibly want from a customisation point of view and has many thousands of support options, from forums to specialist WordPress maintenance companies.

Just eight months ago, I lost about $1,800 across these airport blogs.  Why?  Because someone hacked into my sites and for some reason thought it would be funny to delete a whole heap of content.  I had a modest WordPress backup solution (a sorry excuse for one – who’s with me?), but it was quite manual and not lazy-proof.  Like many of you, I’d heard the constant mantra, backup, backup, backup but something else was always more urgent so a better backup solution always fell onto the backburner.

Even to this day, I don’t know how much content was actually lost.  Probably about eight months worth I guess, and that’s a lot of stuff considering there were multiple posts per week.  Some were retrieved from draft Word documents on my desktop, Evernote and the like, but most of it was just gone.  Our hosting company only had a day of backups, and we found out too late for them to be able to do anything about it.  Between my VA’s and I, we probably scraped together about 15 articles.  15!!  Out of over 100!  That wasn’t the worst part either….if you put together all the hours spent in researching, writing, comments left by readers, my team’s responses to those comments, the whole conversation!  All gone!  I don’t know why, perhaps to torture myself, but I just had to know what the rough value of what I lost was.  As I mentioned earlier, the figure I came to was around $1,800!

Months of work disappeared, and with it any SEO value that had been built up in them.  Our visitor numbers dropped considerably and though I can’t tell if this is related, each site’s corresponding Twitter accounts also lost followers over that short space of time.

Since then, having a WordPress maintenance package in place has been even more important to me than the content on the website.  What use is good content, if you’re going to risk it all disappearing after a simple hack?

I read many, many blogs and articles on WordPress site security and spoke to many experts before deciding to pick this WordPress support service.  Some simple tips:

  1. Online technologies change and with it so do online security measures.  Large organisations like WordPress are constantly updating their software in line with the latest security measures so one of the things you absolutely must do is keep all your WordPress versions, your themes and plugins updated regularly.
  2. All standard WP installations produce your admin panel at the following URL: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-adminThis can be changed.
  3. The following code is present by default in WordPress site pages.  Any potential hackers can use this to determine what version of WP you are using which can make it easier to compromise.  Remove this with this simple plugin.
  4. Change your default administrator username.  By default, this is admin.  The majority of people don’t bother and yet its the simplest of all the things in this list to sort out.  Find out how here.

Now points 2-4 are simple tips to implement and are one-offs too but for point 1, if you have multiple blogs and WordPress websites, this can be a logistical nightmare.  Without an easy, single-sign on solution, you’ll be forever spending your time individually logging on to each of your websites, and manually updating the WordPress themes, WordPress plugins and WordPress software versions.

I gave up after just one week of this and went in search for simplicity without compromising security.  And I found this simple WordPress backup and maintenance service.  The price was less than it would cost to hire a Virtual Assistant to do it all manually for me so it was a no-brainer.  And it let me backup and update all my WordPress sites from one place.  No more having to login to each site separately.

Of course, I’m keen to hear what horror stories you’ve had in the past with your WordPress maintenance or lack of maintenance solutions.  Have you found any that are better than the one I use?  Leave your comments below and let us all know.