Earlier this week, one of my clients had their WordPress site hacked. Alerted to the issue by my client, I began to investigate. Unable to access the admin side of the site, I quickly logged into the server via FTP. Within a few minutes, I discovered the hacked files and took steps to correct the problem. Once the site was restored, I visited the web host’s own site to chat with its tech support.
In an instant message window that many web hosts utilize these days, I asked the tech support chap if he could shed light on how or why the site was hacked. The tech support guy replied that his company does not offer that service; he had no useful information to share. That ended my interest in chatting with tech support.
A few days later the same site was hacked again, presumably by a different hacker as the hacked page content was different than previously. At that point, I picked up the phone, called my client and explained that it was time to pay more than one or two beers per month for web hosting.
Web server security is technical stuff
I’m a communications designer who can write some code. I certainly am well ahead of the general public when it comes to using a computer. But the level of technical knowledge required to keep a web server safe, online and free from hackers takes a great deal of specific, technical knowledge. Much more than I have. That sort of knowledge costs money to acquire, and companies must pay good salaries to maintain staff with that sort of knowledge.
The web hosts that offer monthly rates of $5.00 or less to keep a website online rely on volume sales. For less than a beer or two month, those web hosts rent us a bit of space on their web servers. Yet that’s where it stops. If they are only getting $5.00 per month from us, there nothing in it for them to care, much less help, when something goes wrong with our site.
Pay up front for safety and security
My own recommendation to clients is to spend the money up front to enjoy peace of mind later, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that skilled and well-educated people are there to help when required. Reliable, fast and perhaps most importantly, secure web hosting can be purchased for $20.00 per month and up. From a different angle, that’s like buying the tech support gal at least a beer every week. Since we’re buying her so many beers, she is bound to want to help us when something goes wrong.