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Diary of a New Blogger: Hacked and Heartbroken

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*** These posts are  a a little more journal/stream of consciousness oriented, giving you a candid look into the ups and downs of being a new blogger.  I hope that these posts will be helpful to you on your blogging  journey.  Shanna ***

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Twice in the same week.  I am not sure if I am cut out for this while blogging thing anymore.  My heart just can’t take the stress.

I logged in the other day to work on some upcoming blog posts, and instead of the comforting presence of my blog, all I got was a white screen and an error message.  My heart sank.

Tech support told me that someone had injected malicious code into my WordPress installation.  I felt like a parent whose child had been beat up by a bully on the play ground.

I frantically e-mailed back and forth with tech support while they helped me with re installing Wordpress and restoring my files.

So, unfortunately, I have learned the hard way that being hacked is just an inevitable part of playing the game of being a blogger.

My ignorance removed now, I have taken steps to implement tougher security measures (and hooray for daily backups!  If you aren’t using some sort of plugin for backing up your files, you should be!)

We never did figure out exactly how they got in, but my tech support angels did give me some good ideas about how I could make my blog more secure:

Here is a list of lessons that I learned the hard way last week:

1) Just because your blog is not very big, or because you don’t make any money off of it does not mean you will not get hacked!  There are obviously just too many malicious geeks out there with too much time on their hands.  Assume that it will happen, and make a plan ahead of time.

2) You should install some sort of security plugin on your blog.  Here are some ideas:

3) BACK UP YOUR FILES!  Don’t wait.  There are lots of plugins to do this for you.  Find one and install it.

4) Getting hacked will hurt your stats.  My traffic levels have gone down significantly, my Alexa rank went down and I lost RSS readers.  It was as if everyone ran away, afraid that I was going to give them some sort of nasty, contagious virus.

I estimate that this has set me back 3-4 months, which just means that I will need to work extra hard now to recover and bring that number down.

5) Keeping WordPress and all plugins up to date can help keep you safer.

6) Get rid of your standard issue “Admin” login in WordPress.  It is too predictable.  It is like leaving your back door open with a red flag that says “Rob me.”

7) Delete any extra themes that you are not using, particularly the standard issue ones that come with WordPress.  No sense in leaving extra files around for someone to tamper with.

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Have you ever been hacked before?  What steps did you take to recover from it, and how long did it take?

Shanna Schultz

Hello, my name is Shanna, and I am a detail obsessed travel addict on a mission to make planning your own family trips fun and easy! I offer tools, guides and resources to help you through all of the steps of planning meaningful, memorable family vacations. Come over and check out our Facebook community where I share real tools and resources to help you move the needle on your travel goals. Let's start making those travel dreams real, y'all! Life is too short to spend dreaming...let's start DOING!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Esther

    Terrible! After I installed Wordfence I noticed all this failed attempts to log in with the Admin account. (I had already changed it!) Sometimes from one location, or from all over the place. Very nasty people who do this. I understand hackers who try to wake up big companies about security. But this is just making life difficult for hard working travel bloggers. Good tips! 🙂

    1. Shanna Schultz

      Agreed, very nasty. I hope not to have to go through that again any time soon!

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