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Category: Web Development

5 Ways Your Website Could get Hacked

You’ve spent all this time on creating a kick ass website – don’t let the hackers get you down.. here are some tips to help you combat the worst case scenario (Trust me when I say, it IS the WORST!)

Your Web Host Is Vulnerable

Quite frequently, many websites hosted by the same web hosting company are all hacked together. In these cases, the problem usually lies with the host. Either their servers have some vulnerability which is being exploited by a hacker OR the hackers have figured out a way to gain access to one website on a server and then use that website to infect the other websites hosted on the server. Always file a report with your hosting provider if your site has been hacked.

Your Computer or Your Web Developer’s Computer Has Been Compromised

Sometimes, the root of the problem lies with machine used to access the website and not a vulnerability of the website itself. Hackers can infect a computer with malware, enabling them to steal saved passwords or infect files as they are uploaded to a server.
To prevent this from happening, the computer used to access a website should be regularly scanned for spyware, viruses and malware. Additionally, unencrypted passwords should not be stored in FTP programs.
Finally, when accessing any protected area of the website – control panel, databases — be sure that you are using a trusted network.

Your Passwords Have Been Leaked or Are NOT Strong

When it comes to passwords, they can only protect your website is they are strong. This means that passwords must adhere to the following criteria.

  1. Unique. Passwords should all be different from each other and not used on any other website.
  2. Complex. Passwords should not be easily guessed. The best passwords do not contain words and are a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters.
  3. Private. Be careful about who you share your passwords with and how you share the passwords. If sending a password via email, consider transmitting it as an image instead of via plain text.
  4. Self-Selected. When you setup a web hosting account, install content management software, or create databases, passwords are typically automatically generated. And while these passwords are often very complex, hackers can sometimes guess these passwords.
  5. Regularly Changed. By updating your passwords, you lessen the chance that a leaked password can be used to gain access to your website.

Your Content Management Software Has Security Holes

Content Management Systems (CMS) (Like WordPress) are used to make it easier to manage content or maintain other functionality. But there is a big downside. Regardless of which CMS is used, there are always security holes that can be exploited by hackers.
To keep your website as secure as possible always make sure your CMS platform is up to date with the latest security patches and versions.
While it may be expensive or time-consuming to keep your CMS updated, it is worth the effort. After a new update is released, details about security flaws in the older version are often released. And what this means is that if you don’t upgrade to the latest software version, hackers will literally have a roadmap to getting into your website.5.

Your Site or a Third Party Plugin is Poorly Written

Poorly coded website forms, dynamic pages, and CMS plugins/modules could result in easily exploitable security holes. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all custom code is fully tested and coded with security in mind. And before installing a 3rd-party plugin or module for your CMS, review the feedback and/or take a look under the hood to make sure that the plugin is well-coded.

2 Must-Dos for Using Video in WordPress

Video in blogging is a big thing. If you’re not vlogging or at least sharing video content, you’re missing out on a massive movement, and here’s why.

So when it comes to working with video and WordPress, what do you need to know? Here are some things to get you started.

Don’t Host
There’s a delicate balance here, because if you’re sharing custom content, you want it to drive views to your site. That being said, hosting your videos to WordPress can bog down your website, as well as open the door to some irritating problems with views and with mobile clients. Instead, host your video to an external service, such as YouTube. This works in a few ways, as it allows you to avoid those self-hosting problems, but it also improves your reach on YouTube which can be a huge traffic source. Not only will you have people viewing your content from your site, you will also have people viewing your content based on search terms within YouTube itself, so if you establish yourself as an expert in your field you’ll achieve twice the views that you would with a self-hosted video.

Embed Content
When it comes to sharing your video content, you’ll want to embed them right into posts. This way you entice your readers to watch without having to leave. They also serve as evergreen content, allowing people to google specific questions months later and come back with your post; in other words, the hits keep on coming. Embedding content from an external site is usually very straightforward. You’ll be able to find an embed code in the settings on your uploaded video.

We’re an increasingly visual people. Those of us who are online often click between reading (actually, skimming would be more accurate), watching videos, listening to podcasts and sharing content. It’s been a long time since people used books for their day-to-day resource compilation, but the way that people research is ever-changing, even still. If a young man doesn’t know how to tie a tie, the likelihood is that he’ll look it up on YouTube. By allowing leaving video to someone else, you’re letting the page views slip through your fingers.

Optimizing Your Images for Web Use

Everyone knows that well placed images draw hits to your website or blog, but possibly the most overlooked way to speed up your site loading times is by optimizing your images specifically for web use. Not only does web optimizing your images make for lower load times on your pages, but it can save you oodles of bandwidth consumption, which can save you a great amount of money as well.

Many people believe that optimizing images for the web is something that will take up too much of their time, or require fancy photo editing software that they can’t afford. While Photoshop remainsthe market standard for people who use graphics in their day-to-day work, there are plenty of great options for people who want introductory programs.

Here are a few great tools for web optimizing tools for your images, as well as an oft-overlooked method for shrinking images with Photoshop.

Smush.It!
For those who are short on time, Smush.It! is a great tool to quickly convert images, either through the web-application or as a Firefox plug-in. This program is a great way to convert files in bulk, and it also quickly turns gif images into png images, which are virtually the same, only much smaller. You can also find Smush.It for WordPress by searching the plugins page.

Online Image Optimizer
The Online Image Optimizer is a very simple and straightforward tool for optimizing images either by uploading them or through entering a URL. With this web-based service, you are able to select the type of image that you would like to convert your file into, and optimize quickly.

PicMonkey
Many novice image editors choose Picmonkey for their image beautification. On top of easily optimizing images for the web, PicMonkey is a service that allows photo editing online unlike no other. PicMonkey is full of effects to enhance your photographs in the most artistic of ways, even with a very basic knowledge of photo editing. PicMonkey is the perfect choice for anyone needing to casually edit their pictures for free and with easy access to filters, frames, collages and text. As long as you’ve got Flash, you can run PicMonkey to ensure your photos come out he way you want them at a size that’s great for your site.

Photoshop Optimization Tools
Anyone who uses Photoshop regularly already knows that there’s a sliding scale option of image quality when saving an image in a useful web format; the higher the quality you choose to save your photo at, the bigger the file is going to be. Did you also know that there’s a specific option in your file tab for optimizing your photos for the web and mobile devices? Under the File tab, you want to look for the option that either says “Save For Web” or “Save For Web And Devices”. You will then be able to specify the file format that best suits your needs from the drop-down. You’ll be able to see your original image as compared to the way that your web-optimized images will appear, and select the one that best serves your intents and purposes.

The main point is to make sure your images are as small as they can be (file size-wise) but as large as they can be visually. It’s a hard balance to nail down.

Do you have any tips that you can share? Please leave a comment so we can try them out too!