Update your blog to keep it secure
© David Goehring, Security, via Flickr

The last thing we want is a blog that isn’t safe.

And yet so many bloggers are unwittingly leaving their blogs unprotected, because they don’t update them regularly.

When did you last update your blog?

WordPress is regularly updated for a reason

And that’s because there is so much happening in the internet that isn’t very nice.

In fact it can be downright horrible. Hackers are constantly on the prowl looking for weak areas they can probe into to insert their malware.

And malware is nasty vicious coding that makes your website send out porn and other hideous stuff.

I know, because it happened to me.

Back in around 2008 the blog I had then was attacked by a hacker. He inserted malware that not only sent out horrible content whenever I updated or published, but it was clever enough to rejuvenate itself in different parts of my blog.

There was no way I could compete with this, so I had to close that blog down and start again.

Avoid leaving a vulnerable blog

Don’t leave open doors in your blog for hackers to sniff out and enter.

Any software, plugin or them that isn’t updated regularly is like that open door. And that also includes WordPress.

Now WordPress recently has had a flurry of updates. This is because they were alerted to a nasty phenomenon going about the blogosphere that they didn’t want their users to suffer from. So they had to quickly create a new update to keep one step ahead.

So it is extremely vital that you also keep up, and regularly update your blog.

(If you have a WordPress.com blog, you are lucky. You won’t need to update your blog. It is up to WordPress to put in place everything that is needed to protect your blog. Which means you conveniently don’t have to worry.)

How do I update my blog?

WordPress will tell you when you need to update your blog. There will be an indicator in the left sidebar next to the ‘Update’ page under the ‘Dashboard’ link:

Showing number of updates

You can see here there are 7 updates that need attention.

Click on the ‘Updates’ link to see what needs doing. The first thing you should look for is to see if WordPress needs to be updated:

WordPress needs updating!

And you can see that it does. This is the first update you should do, as it is vital that your blog is running the latest version of WordPress.

Sometimes WordPress will automatically update its latest version for you, but whenever it creates another major step, you will have to do it yourself.

Wait a minute…

Before you take the plunge and click that blue ‘Update Now’ button, it might be wise to backup your blog beforehand.

In fact you can see that WordPress advises you to do so. I know a friend who dutifully updated her blog and it went pear-shaped. Luckily for her she had done a backup and everything was able to be re-installed again.

If your hosting account has a backup facility, take advantage of it. It’s much easier to re-install a backup from its source than to submit it from your computer’s desktop or some other file.

Alternatively do some research into backup plugins, such as WP Backup to DropBox or BackWPup Free, and paid versions such as VaultPress or BackupBuddy.

And once you’ve sorted all that out, you’ll be ready to update your blog. Go ahead and click on that blue ‘Update Now’ button.

Once everything has been completed, WordPress may send you to a page that explains everything that is included in this latest update, but if you’re not interested, go back to the ‘Udpates’ page again to reassure yourself everything has happened correctly:

WordPress is updated

Ah, that’s better.

But you’ve not finished yet

Part of the process to update your blog includes the plugins and themes. If they are good quality and are worth their salt, their designers will have created new versions that need to be updated.

So usually there will be a list of plugins that require your attention:

Plugins that need to be updated

Click in the ‘Select All’ square to put ticks next to all the plugins below if you don’t want to check them individually:

Select All box for your plugins

And click on the big grey ‘Update Plugins’ button.

There will be a bit of a worrying delay while the necessary process of updating happens, but eventually you will get this notification:

Plugins update completed

Which is always a relief.

And now you click on the ‘Return to WordPress Updates’ link at the bottom to see if any themes need to be updated:

Themes needing to be updated

Oh yes, there is.

Carry out the same procedure as for the plugins.

And once you’ve finished, go back to the ‘Updates’ page to make sure you can see this:

Everything is updated!

Which is most gratifying!

Now you can sleep easy knowing because you have bothered to update your blog, everything is safe again.

Until tomorrow, when you find there is something else that needs updating…

About the Author

Alice Elliott

Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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