As my loyal subscribers and customers will know, all my websites were hacked and deleted (including my online backups) last week. Along with a few other issues I was experiencing at the time, this quickly brought my entire online business to its knees.
In retrospect, I could have made things less annoying in this situation - so here's exactly how you should avoid the same fate...
First, backups are your lifeline
if when the proverbial hits the fan.
Luckily, I always back up my static web pages on an external hard drive every month, meaning I could simply drag and drop them back onto my empty hosting account, then re-create the most recent files from my computer's hard drive. This meant I was able to get the majority of my important web pages back online quickly to minimize disruption.
But unfortunately that doesn't include WordPress pages, such as my product members areas and main blog. As WordPress stores all your web page data in a database, you also need to be sure you're backing up your databases from within your cPanel, too. Although, there are many awesome plugins out there which do this automatically for you (including "WP Twin") to remove all effort.
With Google Search, I could simply search for my websites, click on the green down arrow next to each listing, and click on "Cached" to view an earlier saved version of the page. Along with the Wayback Machine doing a similar thing for the pages which weren't found in Google, this allowed me to copy and paste my way to victory in just a few days.
Now, it's all good knowing what to do if/when your website gets hacked, but how can you prevent it?
There will always be loopholes and ways for hackers to get into your website, so you can't stop it altogether - BUT you can try your best to make it as difficult as humanly possible for them.
- Always using secure passwords (I use Strong Password Generator).
- Always updating all your website scripts (including WordPress, your themes, plugins, etc) to the latest version - as these updates usually cover up security vulnerabilities.
- Changing your passwords every 2-3 months.
- Following the wealth of guidance to make your WordPress blogs more secure.
Next, one of the "other issues" I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post was down to the thing all business owners love - tax payments!
Even though I was expecting a fairly large tax bill due to my earnings last year, I was shocked when the reality of a tax bill for multiple tens of thousands of dollars ("due now") hit me.
Now believe me, when you're earning a lot of money for all the hard work you put into your business, the LAST thing you want to do is put that money away for the tax man. I used the majority of my money last year to enjoy a luxurious month-long vacation in Italy with my wife, several other vacations, frequent trips to the cinema and fancy restaurants, Lamborghini and Ferrari experience days, and more fun stuff.
Obviously those things are much more exciting (and are possibly the reasons why you started this business in the first place), so you'll come up with a ton of excuses not to put money aside for your tax payment, such as "I have a while to go until it becomes important", or my personal favorite phrase, "I'll use the money to re-invest into my business and pay the tax with the profits".
But take it from me... Do not follow my example.
When you see that whopping great tax payment the government is demanding you to pay, it's like Adonis himself has given you a quick kick to the nutsack. It's definitely not something you want to experience, and it's definitely going to hurt for a very long time.
So avoid all this by putting a reasonable amount of money aside every month towards your tax bill, as it'll make things a heck of a lot easier for you. I fortunately managed to pay mine off within a few weeks of very hard work (as anybody can get money together if they're serious enough and if they put their mind to it), but it could have been avoided altogether if I'd have followed the advice in this post.
In summary, when you're moving forward with your business and things are looking better than ever, there will always be sinister opportunities just waiting to screw everything up when you least expect it. So take the necessary precautions and use protection. Your business and your lifestyle will than you for it.
Have a great day!
- James Francis.