As you might have noticed, Strayblogger was hacked a few weeks ago, but I had everything fixed and back up within a few hours. Since then, I’ve had several readers email me about writing a post on how to stop hackers and how to clean up and repair your site if gets hacked. That’s what I’m going to talk about in this post… It’s an extremely important and costly topic that you should think about and take care of long before you ever have to actually deal with it.
In the last two months or so I’ve become very familiar with my sites getting hacked… it’s happened at least 6 times. The reason I was able to get Strayblogger back up so fast is because of my recent experiences with getting hacked.
I wish I could tell you that I personally have become an expert at cleaning up malicious code and taking control back from the hackers- but I can’t, because I haven’t. I still don’t know any more about manually recovering from a hack than I did before.
Why Learning How to Stop Hackers Is So Important
I’ll start from the beginning…
Around two months ago, some random person used a contact form on one of my niche sites to let me know that clicking the link to my site from Google’s organic rankings was sending them to some Russian site. I’m glad he told me, because I don’t Google my own keyword terms to visit one of my own sites, so I had no idea that this was going on.
I immediately tried to research how to take back control of my sites, and it turns out that the topic is pretty overwhelming if you’re going to try and learn it on your own. Within two days, more of my sites were affected and in a few more days I couldn’t even access my login page… every page of the affected sites just showed a hacked message.
It was incredibly stressful, and I was freaking out. I quickly decided that it was going to be worth almost any price to just pay a professional to just go in and fix it… I was getting nowhere trying to learn how to do it myself. Somehow I came across the Code Garage site and saw the “Locker” service, and immediately signed up for the service. Peter had everything fixed within a few hours.
The way Locker works is that you install a plugin, and so when a hack happens, Peter and his guys can remotely get in and fix everything. Their software monitors your site constantly, and while nothing can prevent every hack attempt, when something has happened they have fixed it within hours. It provides an amazing sense of relief and peace of mind to have my sites protected for such a small fee. If you’re paying for hosting, especially shared hosting, you should consider a service like Locker a necessity.
Most of my sites that were hacked were ranking in the top 10 of Google for their respective keywords, so the biggest potential problem with my pages redirecting to a hacker site was that Google would un-index my pages. Apparently I got it taken care of fast enough because that didn’t happen, but that would be a devastating blow to anyone’s business that relies on organic traffic from Google.
It’s pretty crazy that a hacker can potentially shut down your online business, possibly for months… it’s a huge threat that you should take care of sooner rather than later.
My bottom line message/key takeaway…
Spend your time building your business and doing what you’re good at. Don’t spend a bunch of time trying to learn about WordPress security and coding, because it’s a HUGE and complex subject… just pay an expert to protect your sites for you. I can’t recommend the Locker service enough to anyone who has ever worried about their sites getting hacked.
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