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The importance of keeping your CMS up to date

Why you should update WordPress plugins

Open Source CMS software, such as Joomla and WordPress have many benefits, not least of all that they come without licensing fees and are free to download and use.

What’s more you can easily access a marketplace of thousands of ready made templates and extensions that allow you to extend core functionality by adding photo galleries, custom forms, e-commerce and much more.

Updates will keep your website safe

So far, so good? You have an overwhelming number of goodies that you can download and install into WordPress or Joomla in just a few clicks which you can then configure to the exact case use requirements of your business.

But with all this freedom and low-cost or no-cost code comes a big warning: you must keep your extensions, plug-ins and core templates up to date. This means downloading updates and security patches as they become available. Extensions are one of the main reason why so many open source websites are hacked. Out of date software is an open door invitation for hackers to exploit your website, inject malicious code or steal valuable data from you and your customers.

10 steps to a safe & secure WordPress or Joomla website

The following simple steps can go a long way to keeping your WordPress or Joomla website safe and secure.

  1. Keep your version of Joomla or WordPress up to date
  2. Take a regular back up of your website files and database and keep these backups on a different server to the live website
  3. Check with your hosting company how they manage and store back ups
  4. Have a back up and restore plan in case an upgrade goes wrong or you get hacked - you should always be able to roll back
  5. Regularly audit the extensions used on your website, with version numbers and release dates
  6. Check for any known vulnerabilities of extensions and plug-ins before you even install them - see below 
  7. Read customer reviews to check on the support provided by the vendors of third party software (don’t look just at the features)
  8. Use an uptime monitoring service 
  9. Use automated tools to check the website directories to see if any files or folders have been changed without your knowledge
  10. Uninstall and remove any unused extensions or plug-ins as this reduces risk and maintenance overhead

Useful tools & resources

Akeeba Back Up Utilities (https://www.akeebabackup.com/)
Joomla Vulnerable Extensions List (https://vel.joomla.org/)
Pingdom Uptime monitoring (https://www.pingdom.com/)
Joomla security audit service (https://www.watchful.li)

Need help updating your CMS?

Web Foundry will make your site secure and keep it safe from hackers by ensuring all updates and security patches are downloaded as they are released. Get in touch for more information. 

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