Let’s talk about anything bookish!
I have been blogging on and off since 2007 but I started book blogging about three years ago and I’m not looking back. I have been thinking of changing my blog a few times but for one reason or another, I keep coming back to book blogging and the book community in general. I guess you could say that I have found my niche.
Of course, I’m not one of the popular bloggers and my blog is among the thousands out there already, but I like to think that I have a few loyal visitors (THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH) and because of you, this blog will keep chugging along. Hopefully!
Now, to the point of this post. I have learned a lot since I ventured into blogging and started sharing my thoughts online. And although my old blogs are now defunct (after the database got deleted…it was a sad, sad day for me), I have managed to keep the things I learned.
Part 1 of the things that I learned is about the back-end of blogging and managing my blog as someone who is not an expert on the management side of blogging.
Back-up, back-up, BACK-UP!
I can’t say it enough but please, remember to BACK-UP ALL YOUR BLOG FILES! This is me talking to my past self. I ALWAYS forget my own advice and I do suffer a lot for it. After the disaster of having my first blog deleted, I still haven’t learned. Fast forward to 7 years, and apparently, I still haven’t learned!
This blog has probably been revived and restored more times than I can count and almost all the time, I keep telling myself to back-up. And I never do. TYPICAL ME!
On this end, I use a free plugin (paid also available) called UpdraftPlus that automatically creates a back-up for all my blog files and stores it to Google Drive (there are other options but I chose Google Drive). It is really easy to set-up, too!
I also back-up my database via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). It is pretty easy to do so since it only requires a click of the mouse, but this I have to do manually. By that I mean that I HAVE to remember to do this regularly. Case in point: I got hacked on 10/29. LUCKILY, I had backed up my files 3 DAYS BEFORE! WHEW! So I basically didn’t lose A LOT, except a couple of hours figuring out what was wrong and a couple of blog posts.
Another thing that I learned to do is to download the XML file of your blog from the WordPress dashboard option (Tools > Export). If you do this, you will be saving your Posts, Pages, Templates, Blogroll, Feedback (if you use this), and Media.
I admit that I am too cheap to pay for a malware/antivirus service for my blog so when my blog first got hacked last year, I learned how to fix it myself really quick. It has been a journey and I have successfully fixed all events so far (fingers crossed). This meant that I had to learn how to look for the infected code and delete them from the PHP files on my blog’s ftp (back-end part of the blog that you normally don’t see).
And because I am self-hosted and I manage my blog by myself, I have no one else to lean on than myself. Mind you, I am a nurse and this is NOT the type of virus I am trained to heal (eh, I couldn’t resist!). So far, all attempts have been fixable, or at least, I am able to restore it to a previous working version (see above).
I also found a free plugin that scans and deletes malware scripts/code on your blog called Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall. It has been pretty accurate so far and I have had no problems with it.
I also use the Sucuri free site scanner. Ashley at Nose Graze (affiliate link) recommended Sucuri to me last year as a good antivirus site to use for malware management but I wasn’t willing to pay for the service. Their free site scanner does help with scanning files and shows you the directory where the malware is coming from. Plus, it tells you if you are blacklisted and which service has black listed you.
I also learned how to use Google Webmasters tools. Now, I haven’t really delved deep into the other tools here but I have learned how to request a site review when your blog gets flagged and is blacklisted. This is a list that you WON’T want your blog to be on honestly (see above). If your blog gets hacked, you get flagged by Google really fast. Since I personally use Chrome as my browser, it immediately shows the red screen of hackerdom, which basically means that the screen becomes red and a warning pops up letting the visitor know that your blog is infected. Chrome is really quick to flag you as opposed to Internet Explorer.
Anyway, once your blog is clear of the malware and other malicious codes, you can ask Google to review your blog and take down the red screen of doooom. The great thing about this is that it usually takes less than 24 hours for them to fix it. Yay!
Antivirus like McAffee, Norton, AVG etc, also add you to their blacklist, but they aren’t as fast as Google. I have asked for a review to Norton (my antivirus) once.
One thing I have learned is to create a really long and complex password AND also to change this password periodically, especially is someone hacks you. Make your password something long and complicated with special characters in between normal words.
For example, my password is a sentence with special characters in between words. I also use capital letters and numbers to make it even more complicated.
The risk though is that you might forget your password (I have done this multiple times already haha) and honestly, I hate coming up with another sentence to replace the previous one.
Have you any experience of having your blog hacked? What did you do?
Have you learned anything through blogging? Share them below!