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9 Ways to Better Protect Your Blog

Warren Wooden is the owner and CEO of PLR Internet Marketing.

When I think of the amount of time that I’ve invested into my blog and its resources I’m absolutely staggered by the thought of losing any part of it. So I’ve taken certain steps to protect myself, as well as my blog.

Everyone’s blog is at a different level, but regardless of which one you look at, we all have one thing in common: we’ve poured our hearts and souls into them. Here are a few things you can do in order to protect them.

Back up your website

security

Image used with persmission

You’ve heard that advice before, and if you’ve ever had a catastrophic loss of data that took your website offline for a few hours, or—worse—a few days, I’m sure you’ve remembered it.

Backing up your website is protection from server crashes or hacker attacks, but the only way they are fully effective is if you do them religiously. Determine how often you are going to back up your data, and then simply schedule some time to do it. It takes no more than the click of a mouse usually, but can save you a ton of heartache and grief down the road.

As someone who has experienced a hacker attack, I can tell you it’s not only important to keep the last few copies of your blog, but also a known clean copy in case your backups become corrupted. Often, a website owner may not find out about a virus on his site until he’s already completed several backups. If those are all he has, he’ll be no better off than if he didn’t have any at all.

The majority of hosting companies have cPanel installed for their users. If yours does, simply log in to your control panel, and scroll down to the backup icon. Once you click it, you’ll be taken to the Backup and Restore page, where you can then click on the Download or Generate a Full Backup button. This will provide you with a full backup of the website, emails, and databases, as well as any “custom” email setups you’ve configured such as forwarding. Once the backup has finished you’ll receive an email notification and can then download the backup file to your home or office computer for safe-keeping.

It’s important to note that if you ever do run into a crisis, and do not have a current backup, most hosting providers will generate a copy from their end for a nominal fee. These backups are usually only performed weekly so you could end up a week out of date with your site’s data.

Back up your resources

Backing up your website is only half the battle. Most of us have a ton of resources sitting on our hard drives in the form of ebooks, video courses, guest posts, graphics, podcasts, competition analysis data, as well as programs we use to promote ourselves, build our social networks, or track our keyword rankings, and so much more. I’d recommend creating one master folder that contains all the individual files, so that it can be easily zipped up, labeled and stored on a separate drive or CD.

If you’ve ever downloaded materials off of the Internet you know that files are compressed for both sending and storage. Two of the most popular programs are Winrar, and Winzip. With these, you can simply right-click on the file or folder you’re looking to compress for backup, and choose Add to archive. You’ll then end up with a compressed version of all your important files and programs.

Back up your list

“The money is in the list” is another phrase I’m sure you’re aware of and many internet marketers would assert that it is their most valuable asset, yet very few people bother to back it up. Having your list under a third party’s control leaves you with no recourse should the unthinkable happen, and your list end up being lost forever.

For more information, see Are you protecting your blog’s most valuable asset?

Install protective measures

Using anti-virus measures should be a no-brainer these days, but in case you’ve missed the message, there are literally hundreds of thousands of different viruses out there, and these nasty bugs can not only crash your system, they can also steal passwords, banking information, and much more. Protecting your computer system will ensure that you’re still online tomorrow to make that post, and promote your blog.

Here’s a list of antivirus solutions listed in my personal order of preference.

I’ve used each one of these at one time or another, and they each do a commendable job of keeping you and your computer protected the majority of the time. However, it is worth noting that no antivirus program will protect you from every virus 100% of the time.

Protecting your system is only half the battle. It’s important to also protect your blog from attack. There are several methods you can choose to use to keep the bad guys out. Here are just a few to look into.

  • Antivirus plugin for WordPress. This monitors your website for changes to the code, and alerts you with an email letting you know when they’re found.
  • Exploit plugins, which scan your WordPress blog for known exploits and alert you.
  • Change the default login page. Everyone knows they can usually find the admin page of a WordPress blog by simply adding /wp-admin after the domain. By changing its location, you can effectively thwart would-be hackers.
  • Make sure file permissions aren’t set to 777 if you can help it. You can change permission settings once you’ve logged in to your site via an FTP client. If you are unsure how, contact your hosting provider and they can direct you, or most likely simply switch them for you. It literally takes a second! See a more detailed set of instructions here.
  • Use brute force protection so that if the wrong password is entered in too many times the person’s IP address is locked out for a pre-set duration.
  • Keep up to date with the latest WordPress version. WordPress is great for letting you know when there is an update to any of your plugins, make sure to heed the alerts and update as soon as possible.
  • Use complex passwords, and limit access to consultants you can trust. A strong password will include upper and lower case numbers and letters as well as a special character mixed in. I’d hate to be the one trying to guess #4Rrtx37EE
  • Actively monitor your log files to see if anyone is trying to access your site. Hosting panels provide analytics and log files. By checking these from time to time, you can spot unnatural activity and take action to protect yourself!

These are just a few measures you can look into implementing on your blog, but obviously the more secure you can make it, the better.

Find a good web designer

I’m sure many of you have the skill and talent to recode your website from scratch, but there are also many like myself who are at risk of ruining everything each time they try and manipulate the code within their site. While this doesn’t stop me from constantly tweaking and enhancing my blog in order to continually improve it, it does mean that I keep a designer’s phone number on speed dial just in case.

Protect your brand

It’s a simple matter to setup a few Google Alerts to inform you whenever someone mentions your name, your company name, or the name of your blog. These alerts get conveniently delivered to your inbox where you can take a look to see what is being said about you, and can then respond almost instantly while the effect will be maximized.

If you head over to Google Alerts while you’re logged in with your Gmail ID (you will need to have a Google ID, but don’t worry, they’re free and easy to set up), you can enter the terms you’d like to be notified about, and Google will start keeping an eye out for those terms while it’s going about its daily business. Once a website is published or updated with that term, you’ll be sent a notification letting you know.

Protect your content

Unfortunately plagiarism is one of the threats we face as bloggers. Unscrupulous individuals scrape content and reuse it on their own thin sights in order to try and outrank sites such as yours. Fortunately Google does a fairly decent job of choosing the original work and ranking it accordingly. Placing a copyright notice at the bottom of your pages is the first step, but you should also actively scan for stolen articles using sites like Copyscape.com.

Find a blogging buddy

This is just someone you trust who can take care of posting for you while you are away, perhaps on holidays, or an unforeseen absence of another sort. Just as you’d have a neighbor look in on your house, it’s a good idea to have someone you can trust to look in on your blog.

Make a blogging will

Your blog is an asset, and should be treated that way. Even if it’s just a case of creating a document instructing your wife who to contact in case of the need to sell it, or perhaps a full-fledged document that details how everything works, and how to continue running things in case you yourself are unable to do so.

While this might be a morbid thought for some, the thought of losing all the work you’ve invested after a few missed hosting bills is even more unbearable for many. Darren recently wrote a detailed post on the subject.

Getting yourself into a few healthy habits such as the ones listed above can save you time, stress, and money. The peace of mind that will likely result from these actions will more than make up for any inconveniences you incur implementing them.

What tips can you add from your own experience protecting your blog? Share them in the comments.

Warren Wooden is the owner and CEO of PLR Internet Marketing. If you’re an entrepreneur, or would perhaps like to learn how to make money online through Internet marketing, blogging, or affiliate marketing, please stop in for a visit, or to grab your free copy of his 79-page ebook.

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Comments

  1. Tom says:

    Wow! This was much more information than I expected. Great post!

    Hackers are everywhere and you ever know what their agenda is. Backing up data is important and I’ll take some of the additional steps you highlighted for my blog.

    • Gregory C. says:

      Definitely, covered almost everything one could have questions about.

      The only other service/feature I could recommend would be VaultPress, does a lot of great things for security automatically, and although it may cost a little, it’s a great addition to any WP blog’s security.

      • Hi Warren, excellent article.

        Just like Gregory Warren I recommend VaultPress.

        I have been checking into VaultPress and to get rid of a lot of stress for 15 dollars a month looks like a great deal to me.

        VaultPress is constantly scanning and checking and backup your blog. It is not just a once a month back up.

        Anyone reading this who does not know about VaultPress – it is a system created by the same people who created WordPress and at this time you have to apply to get the opportunity to use it. Then they will issue you access. So it is a restricted but valuable backing up your system option.

        If you have a question please go ahead and ask me or the people over at VaultPress.

        All the Best,

        David

      • Indeed Vaultpress is an amazing plugin, I second your recommendation ;-)

  2. Hi Warren,
    Wow, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I think have a Blog Will is very innovative and proactive! I’d hate to leave my family without knowledge of what to do with my blog – they definitely need to be made aware of its worth and what to do should they need to sell. It is a grim thought, but definitely something that needs to be handled.

    You’ve really left me feeling as if you’ve covered all the basis here :)

  3. soubhiks says:

    are linux servers safer than windows for hosting ???
    i have installed an antivirus but nothing for wordpress like you have mentioned…
    thanks
    great post :)

  4. Harrison Li says:

    A really informative list, thanks for the work, I have literally bookmarked this to my browser, I’m definitely going to recommend this post to my readers!

    Harrison

  5. Darrell says:

    I really like the idea of having a blogging buddy. I have made a few friends over the last few years that I would really trust to take care of things for me while I am away.

  6. Darrell says:

    I really like the idea of having a blogging buddy. I have made a few friends over the last few years that I would really trust to take care of things for me while I am away.

  7. Graham Lutz says:

    I can’t think of anything worse than losing your email list! Losing content on a website is one thing, but losing your list would be devastating!

    • Hi Graham,
      I agree Graham.
      I am using Aweber and it is pretty easy to have them prepare and email to me a download of the list I am using.

      Does anyone else know if other systems like constant contact, mailchimp etc offer similiar services?

      I appreciate the option from Aweber.

      David

  8. Amy says:

    This is really informative. I tend to not pay attention to the “morbid” stuff, so this is a great reminder of how important it is.
    I’m going to go back up my files right now!!
    Thanks!

  9. Nice tips…. i was taking only backup before reading this post, Now i will follow the other tips too !

  10. AstroGremlin says:

    Was unaware of the option for backup in c panel. Thanks for that! I have been using a backup plugin (EZPZ) in WordPress, which seems to work alright although have gotten a warning about not successfully backing up a database. Have yet to revert to a backup copy, but glad to know it’s there. The c panel method seems more transparent and manual (a nice feature when feeling paranoid)

    Another security topic: I got a message in a blog evaluator (Firebug?) that my main directory was “writeable” and that that constituted a security concern. Seems it would be difficult to update a blog if the directory weren’t writeable. Is “writing over” a concern for my blog?

  11. Jon says:

    Great point. I had not thought about putting all of my blogs in a will, but it really is a good idea. We just had to get past the morbid thought of it and do it because we never know. And protecting content is becoming a harder job all the time as I find more people stealing my stuff. I guess I must be doing something right;)

  12. Kevin says:

    I can attest to how important it is to back up your blog. After one of my sites got hacked I had to rebuild the whole thing b/c I didn’t have a backup.

  13. Vi says:

    “Blogging will”…never thought about it.

  14. Piper Larson says:

    Really great points. A few of these – I hadn’t even considered. Will definitely do them now! And love the idea of a blogging buddy.

  15. John Dimo says:

    Overall good, solid list. For the first few points I have that covered. I had a site hacked years ago and lost everything with no solid backup to help me out. Luckily it was a site I no longer maintained and only kept it live for archive purposes. Since that day, I keep a backup of every site I run on a local hard drive in addition to the backup features my host offers.

    At home all my important files are replicated onto an external hard drive in addition to the internal hard drive. I copy is simply not enough and I know people who’ve had hard drive crashes and lost everything.

    For the last part of the list, I never considered that. I never thought to include my websites in a will. Something for me to look into, thanks!

  16. Brandon says:

    One of my latest projects uses Drupal. The “backup and migrate” module is my favorite – even if you have a large database that would otherwise time-out, you can save and restore without issue.

  17. Warren,

    Amen for this post my friend!

    Sing that gospel and sing it loud.

    As video blogger, I can tell you my life blood is all about backing up.

    I back up my videos on s3, an external harddrive + a cloud. I have 3 back-ups.

    I back-up contacts, bookmarks and the works.

    Losing all this information would be devastating and such a time waster.

    I think we don’t talk about the importance of backing up enough and a post like yours brings light to an important topic.

    Talking about finding a great webmaster – my webmaster Andrew is very big on backing up and we have the website backed up on 2 platforms.

    Backing up is as important as content creation – in fact more so. What’s the point of having great content if your risk losing it and not being about to retrieve it.

    Once again, brilliant post!

    Krizia

  18. Ivan Walsh says:

    I’d suggest to avoid the better known hosting companies as these get targeted the most.

  19. PsychicJim says:

    Safety and protection is always a good idea.

    On the other side of the coin if too much energy is given to protection you create situations where you do need to protect yourself.

    Sometimes this energy is better given towards creating things instead of protecting them.

  20. Tarrum says:

    Google Alerts seems great, thanks a lot! I’m gonna try using it. You made me backup my site right now and I created 3 .rar’s and e-mail them to my 3 e-mail accounts :)

  21. I write all of my articles on my computer, and keep a backup of them as well as my blog, so that if I ever don’t have a recent enough clean copy of my blog, it’s a relatively simple matter of reposting the lost posts.

  22. Jennine says:

    oh yes, i had my blog name taken by another blogger this year, and learned the hard way to trademark your blog name if you can… it’s a good investment.

  23. for WordPress blogers, there are automatic backup plugins available. I scheduled my weekly backup.

  24. Susan says:

    I’m very new to blogging (2 or 3 weeks) and have started to read problogger a bit more to learn the ropes.

    I really,really want to say thank you to the person who wrote this post (Warren). I didn’t even know that you could set up backups or had to check the blog for changed codes and how you could do it (with those plugins, either).

    Thank you!

  25. Warren,
    I am using several of the resources that you mentioned. I never thought of including my blog in my will. Good idea.

  26. Make a blogging will or setting up goals is what finally turns your website into a machine.

  27. Interesting tips, I will try those that are new to me. I personally write all my articles in Word so they’re saved on my hard drive. I backup my blogs and store the files on my drive or somewhere online where they’re in a safe place. Losing all the content is a nightmare. Believe me, I’ve been there :)

  28. iamjoross says:

    Im already backing up my blog posts just to make sure after bloggers often shutdown :D

  29. Egy says:

    Hello .. I read your article and it really helped me, I find this very helpful because I am too new in the learner stage Hosting. This helps me to always be careful to choose a good hosting and secure, in a way that data back up the primary. Ok thank you for the information and that the good work:)

  30. Stephen says:

    I like the idea of creating a blogging will. I’ve often thought about doing that but never got round to doing it. I do other stuff though; backup databases, site files, image files, documents etc. It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over a period of time. I would really hate to lose it all. Great post.

  31. I Jersey:NBA says:

    Very interested in this

  32. zik says:

    backup is the most important need to do.. if some tragedy happen…..

  33. Gabriella says:

    This was such an interesting read! The last part about a ‘blog will’ is very clever! I would have never really thought to consider this at all and am so glad to have read your post! A blog is indeed one of our assets, too as is a house or car – it should be treated in such a manner.

  34. Alison says:

    Thank you so much for this incredibly thorough overview of all that we can do to protect ourselves from blogging crisis’s… Recently my site has been hacked, and though I had a relatively recent back-up copy available, the hassle was hideously huge and it made me realise how absolutely vulnerable we are…

    I don’t keep a copy of my oh so very precious email list either… so I’m on it now, along with investigating a few of the other measures you mention… as for a bloggers will I have long had one available in my bloggers planner along with almost all the other details a blogging buddy might just need should they ever have to take the reigns in my absence..

    There is a lot to be said for keeping written information to hand too.

  35. Archan Mehta says:

    Warren:

    Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to write this post–a valuable contribution.

    You have provided interesting suggestions here: such a detailed list of things to do to protect ourselves, including making sure we have a will.

    It seems like hackers are everywhere these days and we are always in danger of an attack. So, your tips are spot on: after all, you can never be too careful. We don’t want our data stolen or records broken into.

    However, there is a lot to learn for wannabes, newbies, greenhorns and rank amateurs: they may be technologically-challenged and may not be familiar with most of what you have discussed here.

    This is not your fault.

    It just goes to show that most of us in the blogosphere have a lot to learn from experts like you. It may take some time, but eventually we will get there. Have a good one. And cheers to your life.

  36. alls says:

    very important protect your blog, my blog distroyer by hack twice.

  37. green says:

    my blog is new,after read this maybe need antivirus or back up conten site

  38. Thank you Warren, for this fantastic and such helpful post! I am saving it to my “Important!” file.

    I can attest to the importance of updating your WordPress version as soon as it is available. I learned the hard way. I was just a week into my new blog and lost it due to a hacker. WordPress Firewall 2 has saved me a few times too.

    Ok, I’m off to implement some of your suggestions now. Thanks so much for all your work at putting this list together!

  39. Faheem says:

    Really nice suggestions for protection, specially for wordpress which is already open source. I think to stop viruses on a computer, instead of trying so many antivirus programs, one should use Linux (Ubuntu) which is free and as user friendly as Win XP is.

  40. Thanks for your suggestions. I would totally agree with the idea that you should ALWAYS back up your website. Otherwise, you will be very upset after a attack on your site.