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Security Tips for Bloggers

A blog can easily be hacked if the proper security measures are not taken. Depending on what platform a blog is hosted on might make it more susceptible to attack. If the blog is self hosted, not on Blogger or WordPress.com, it's definitely more vulnerable. The personal information of the blogger and its subscribers is at risk.

web securityThe good news is that there are plenty of security steps a blogger can take to protect their site. Most of the tips are very basic and can be done by anyone. Other tips might require a little bit of coding know-how to make the necessary changes. And remember security isn't just a one-time thing, it's important to stay aware of current security threats and make changes as the security threats morph.

Software Updates
Staying current on the latest software updates for your blog is essential to its security. Take WordPress for example, they're always looking for ways to improve the structure of WordPress. Part of those upgrades include the most up-to-date protections against hackers who are constantly trying to break in and do damage.

WordPress has an automatic upgrade option. Anytime a new plugin is released it can be automatically downloaded and upgraded on your blog. When you're blogging software gets a new update the same is true, you should update it to protect against any new security threats. Using old versions of software leaves you very vulnerable because hackers have found ways to exploit previous revisions.
Be careful about the plugins and additional features you add on to the blog. If you come across some plugin or add-on the hasn't been reviewed and rated I wouldn't install it. Instead, stick to add-ons and themes that have been reviewed and proven to work with the current version of your blogging software.

Limiting Access and Passwords
Security Tip 101 is to use a robust password. Do not use the name of the blog, your name, birthdays, or any other passwords that can easily be guessed. The best passwords are 16 digit alpha numeric codes which contain both capital and lowercase letters. They also contain symbols found on top of the numbers on your keyboard. Even to this day the most popular password is either 123456 or  ABCDEF, unbelievable!

Also, change the default setting of your admin user. This means, when you sign up for a blog they will give you a default username. The username is usually “admin”.  This is the first thing a hacker will guess so change it right away. Instead, use something that is unique to the blog. That way an attacker will have to crack both the username and password to gain access.
It's also a good idea to change the password on a regular basis. It's generally recommended to change passwords once a month.

Backup Database
In the worst case scenario, a hacker might break in and destroy the backbone files of your blog. If they do and you haven't backed up everything you're basically done. You'll have to start from scratch; unless of course you have a photographic memory and can retype all your blog post(joking!). But seriously, backing up your blog will become a lifesaver against months of potentially lost work.
Backing up everything should be done on a regular basis. Depending on how many blog posts you have on a weekly basis, backing up every week might be a good idea. Hosting companies offer a backup option for a small monthly fee. There are also backup plugins and additional add-ons you can install to automatically back everything up as well. Again, look for something that's well reviewed and rated to download and start using.

Speaking along the lines of using your hosting provider to add security, each blog installed on a hosting service has an admin folder that controls the main backbone of the blog. This needs to be protected. Many hosting companies can protect the admin folder with a password, so check with them. There are also ways to protect the admin folder by re-coding some of the important pages. This is an advanced skill I would not recommend for the novice blogger with limited coding knowledge.

There are many other ways to secure a blog. But I've listed the main steps here that anyone can take to lock down their blog in a basic, but secure, way.

In addition to these tips also take care of your personal computer security needs. Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software. Be careful about syncing all your social media accounts together or using the same password for every account you have, including your blog. A malicious attack might not come directly at the blog, but instead might come through a back door like an easy-to-crack password on another site.

Excellent hosting also definitely pays off. Do your homework before you decide on the web host. And I can't stress enough the importance of backing up everything. From experience, I know that losing a blog is devastating. Rebuilding a site after a malicious attack is possible but not fun, and some important data will invariably be lost.

Rick Delgado
 is a freelance writer for Venafi.com. Venafi provides solutions to help both large and small corporations manage digital certificates. You can create and manage your comprehensive certificate and key inventory with their industry-leading ssl certificate manager.
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