As a blogger, you spend a lot of time planning out and posting content on your page. For some, it becomes a full-time job and even allows them to develop a lucrative career. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to author their own books after maintaining a steady following for some time or make money off of their blog.
With all that time invested in your page, it would be more than just a shame if it was sabotaged by a hacker. Time is money, and if you don’t have backups of your blog or your reputation was harmed by a security breach, it could mean having to start from scratch all over again. This sort of situation be devastating.
Security essentials are a must for any blogger because of the potential risk of hackers, malware, and the usual internet trolls. No one wants to lose all of their hard work! Yet where do you start and what are some of the top security tips for bloggers?
Start With the Basics
If you haven’t already, install some basic security software that will be able to protect you from hackers and malware while you’re working online. Hackers can unfortunately spy on your activities when you’re using an unsecured internet connection and if that happens, they can gain access to your blog and email, as well as rip off content ideas and the like. If you send out a newsletter or anything similar to your followers, you definitely don’t want a hacker getting a chance to send out malware on your behalf!
Luckily, by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you use the net, you can avoid any issues to be had from an unsecured internet connection. A VPN will encrypt your connection wherever you go, so if using public WiFi at your favorite café is something you do on a regular basis, you’re covered and can continue blogging on the go! VPN service also allows you to hide your location so you can access the whole internet (some content online is blocked when you reside in certain areas) and protect your personal information while doing so.
You should also have a good anti-virus program installed and you needn’t pay a ton of money for it. Though paid security software does usually come along with some extra features, a free service will suffice if you know what you’re doing. Avast, Panda, and Malwarebytes all offer free software that will help you protect your device from malware, and they keep the process simplified as to suit both new and old computer users.
Just don’t forget to use security software on all of your internet enabled devices (not just your desktop or laptop), as they too are susceptible to online security threats.
It’s always a wise idea to keep backups of the files on your computer, as well as backups of your blogs. If your page ever becomes compromised, you’ll be able to easily recover it if you have a backup on hand. Since you’re likely to be putting a lot of work into your blog, you’ll want to back it up frequently, maybe once or twice a week.
If your web host doesn’t automatically store backups for you on your behalf, you’ll need to download a backup of your page manually. Steps to do so vary, so check your web host’s site for information or contact customer support and ask a few questions.
Once you have the backup downloaded, make sure you keep a copy of it on more than one device (whether that be on two separate computers, SD cards, flash drives or external hard drives). Whenever possible, it’s a good choice to keep a file on separate PCs, even if one of them belongs to a relative, as hardware can easily get lost. You may also want to store a backup on Dropbox, but that’s really up to you!
If preferred, there are services available that can assist you in backing up all of your other files that are already located on your computer. Such services will take the work out of backing up your files, though you’ll of course still need a flash drive or something similar to store the backup on if you don’t prefer to store them online.
Use Strong Passwords
It can be easy to forget to log out of your accounts and it can be a huge security risk if you leave yourself logged in after finishing up a blog post. Always remember to log out when you’ve finished your work on any of your online accounts.Never store the passwords on your web browser. It’s also important that you know how to create strong passwords.
Avoid using personally identifiable information as your password or including simple words that can easily be guessed. A strong password will always include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Symbols should be included too, whenever allowed.
It’s often wise to use passphrases, as they’re easier for you to remember, but still harder for someone to guess. Just be sure you don’t reuse any of your passwords, as you may be handing over access to several of your accounts that way!
Don’t Feed the Trolls
Though it can be tempting, it’s particularly important to avoid getting into any heated debates with trolls that may post on the comments section of your blog or on social media. Sometimes a person who you assume may just be someone looking for an argument could actually have some hacking skills and decide to let them loose on your site after getting even angrier. It takes very little skill to launch a DDOS attack.
Hackers aren’t always those looking to steal your identity.There are also regular folks who just want to entertain themselves by ruining your day. It’s best to delete or entirely ignore inflammatory statements posted on your page(s) as not to add fuel to the fire.
Update Often and Stay Safe
One very useful security tip for any internet user is to update software regularly. Software updates often include patches to security vulnerabilities so when you’re using the most recent version of a program, it’s less likely to become compromised. If you’re unable to keep up with manually updating your software, check to see if automatic updates are a possibility.
Finally, it is probably a good idea to play it safe by putting some extra thought into what sorts of personal details you share on your blog. Never put any travel plans out there until after you’ve returned from your trip. Also avoid posting too many photos of yourself or your family. Simply put, try to oversharing personal information.
If you keep all of these tips in mind, you’re much more likely to have a safer blogging experience. Just don’t forget to have fun while doing so!
Do you have any experiences having to deal with threats to your blog? Are there any other tips you would recommend to your fellow bloggers? Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think!
About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a blogger and internet safety expert who works for the online security resource SecureThoughts. When she’s not blogging, she enjoys sharing tips with her fellow bloggers in an effort to help them keep both themselves and their blogs properly protected on the web.
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