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If you are reading this blog, then you are more than likely using WordPress. That is to say nothing about this blog or its audience so much as to say that WordPress dominates the market to such an extent that most people aren’t even aware of other blogging platforms, except perhaps Blogger and Tumblr.
Yet is WordPress safe? Every year hundreds of thousands of websites are compromised or shut down by malicious users, and that says a lot about the state of internet security in today’s day and age. How safe can one be with another blogging platform while still creating something people will see?
A lot of that depends on you. WordPress is most certainly the most customizable mainstream blogging platform. You are free to make a lot of changes, but you are also free to make mistakes. There are some things you should know about regarding general blog protection and WordPress safety.
Are Other Platforms Any Better?
To answer the question briefly, not particularly. WordPress has more than three quarters of the market and with a little searching and work can obtain all of the safety feature more expensive platforms have. Some would find it worth it to pay for the services of Squarespace or Svbtle, but extra features do not mean extra security. In fact, there isn’t really any well-known blogging platform that beats an upgraded WordPress in terms of security.
That doesn’t mean WordPress is safe. What it means is that you need to do your research. There may be exceptions to this rule, and relative security does not mean actual security. Other platforms, such as Tumblr, that are more protected against some types of attacks are so restrictive that one could argue they aren’t usable blogging platforms at all. If you’re using WordPress already, you might as well stick with it.
Virtual Private Networks
No matter what blog platform you are using, you are vulnerable while you are using a public network unprotected. Your blog will be tied to an account online and likely an email address to go along with it. Both of these accounts (and any other online account that you use online) are at risk because the login information can be intercepted by an amateur malicious user with a sniffer program on a public network. Once a cybercriminal has that information, no good password or security program can stop them.
The only way to protect yourself on a public network is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is a service that will connect your device to an offsite secure server using an encrypted connection. This connection keeps cybercriminals (and anyone else) out, allowing you to blog privately from any network you want. You will also be able to access any research materials and websites you want as your IP address will be masked, getting around regional restrictions.
The main thing to concern yourself with is getting the right VPN for the job. You need to look for speed, a large number of servers and strong security measures (like military-grade encryption). It’s recommended you read some reviews to find the best VPN for any blogging platform.
A lot of what makes WordPress great all-around is the plugin support it offers. Enterprising individuals and businesses have developed a vast array of plugins for WordPress websites ranging from security tools to eCommerce solutions to small widgets. If it can be programmed, it is probably out there, and some website is using it.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing, and you need to pay attention. Every plugin you install fundamentally changes the functionality of your website or blog. Combined with the popularity of WordPress, this leads to a few things:
-Malicious users develop plugins that are malware in disguise, sometimes with a timed release so that you don’t immediately become suspicious.
-Cybercriminals develop plugins that work and are fine, but also contain a backdoor that allows them access into more sensitive information. Alternatively the plugin might collect information (on you or your readers) secretly and send it back to the creator.
-Established and popular plugins are neglected, and malicious users find security holes to exploit to get into your blog.
There are absolutely safe plugins that you should use, but you need to put safety first. If a plugin isn’t updating itself, then you should probably replace it. If you don’t hear much about a plugin, wait a while and let other people try first. Read reviews and ask people questions. The internet is scary, but it just as often is happy to help. If you use plugins, WordPress is less safe than other platforms unless you are careful.
In what you may see as a trend from the previous two sections, you need to know that this makes proper management of your blog a vital thing for you to keep up with. Regular chores might not be as fun as creating content, but WordPress isn’t automatic. It won’t be safe unless you are regularly doing these things (some directly blog related, some not):
-You need to equip your computer with the latest security suite. The free anti-virus that came with your computer just isn’t enough when you have more than a few of your own files on the line. If your computer is breached, then your blog can easily be compromised through it.
-You need to take some time every month to do a manual review of all blog related files and systems. This includes going through your blog’s pages to see if there is anything out of place and scouring through your computer to make sure no one (or thing) is tampering with it.
-You need to be involved with your blog’s community. Not only will you gain valuable information about how to improve your blog or website, but you will get a heads up if there is a potential security issue with your blog.
-You need to ask yourself if you can keep up with these habits regularly, as they make up a great part of how WordPress can be the safest blogging platform. You should note that with any blog you may have to deal with maintenance, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money.
WordPress is a changing platform and malicious users are always finding new ways to make life difficult for you. WordPress cannot respond immediately to every threat that comes its way and may take several days to respond to a particularly nasty threat. This results in a tumultuous safety landscape.
Nonetheless, we still believe that WordPress can be made into the safest platform through its adaptability and common acceptance. Other platforms are usually too restrictive to be usable or so open that they are indefensible, making WordPress the default choice, especially given the other advantages it provides for your website.
Do you have any thoughts on WordPress’ safety? Has your own decision on the matter been questioned or reinforced? Do you have any security tips that you might want to share with readers? Do you have any stories regarding a cyberattack? Please leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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