I don't know if you know this, but websites get hacked every single day. It's big business for folks who use hacked sites to route traffic to the sites of their choosing. In case you didn't realize it, people do actually buy Viagra from websites that have Viagra ads all over them. Like I said, it's big business.
So, as long as people are making money off those ads, sites will continue to be hacked.
If you're the owner of a hacked website, you can get really frustrated. Really fast.
Won't security plugins help?
I'll be honest with you—your best bet isn't free. No amount of free WordPress plugins will solve your problems.
That's not saying that some of the popular security plugins aren't any good. They are good. But they can't solve security at every level where security risks exist.
Let me try to explain.
Let's imagine, for a second, that your car was your website. And that we were thinking about the miles per gallon you get from your car like security for your website.
There is a lot you can do to make your car get great mileage. You can use good gas (like those great security plugins). You can make sure that you don't push the pedal to the floor every time you take off from a stop sign. All of that will help.
But there are issues that are outside the realm of your car that impact your mileage. Like the roads you're on. If you're driving on horrible roads with tons of hills and a ridiculous amount of stop signs, it won't matter what kind of gas you have in your engine. Your car will still get poor mileage.
WordPress is just a part of the picture
When you think about your website, and those plugins, you're thinking about the main part of the solution you care about. But the server that hosts your site, the network it's part of, the hosting provider, and even the larger ecosystem of the internet is all part of the broader picture that has to be secure.
No plugin solves all of that.
For that, you need a bigger solution that is not just connected to your site, but outside of your site.
Back to the car notion for a second…
Imagine you could put your car on a beautiful road that had no stop signs, was well managed, and had little cross traffic. It would give your car the best condition to get the best mileage you could get.
Now, to be fanciful for just a second, imagine that this road could also do something extra special. Imagine that every time the road noticed your car wasn't optimized for the road, it could automatically repair it.
That would be something, wouldn't it.
Well, there's good news when it comes to the security of your website. Because that solution exists.
It's not only a firewall to protect your site, but it's also the anti-virus and the clean up you need. From a company called Sucuri.
The best $200 / year you could ever spend
If your site has been hacked, trust me, at that point, you won't be worried about spending $200. But I want to make the case that you should spend the money before you get hacked.
First, let's do simple math.
$200 / 12 months means you're paying less than $17 a month to keep your infrastructure clean.
I know you might try to tell me that you don't have that kind of money. And my response is always the same—if you really don't mind if your site disappears from the web, then you're likely right. You don't have the need to spend that money, and therefore, you likely don't have that money available because it's not worth it.
But let's imagine that you do need your site to stay on the web. Let's imagine it's part of your branding efforts. Or that you actually make money online. In that case, spending less than $20 a month to protect your business or brand is nothing.
In that world, I can assure you of one thing: You have the money.
You may not be conditioned to spending it. But that's not the same thing.
Back to cars for a second…
The first car I got was a Ford Escort. It was a little blue car. I was excited for the freedom it represented for me. I had saved enough to make car payments and to cover the gas I thought I would need.
Then my parents talked to me about car insurance. That wasn't in my plans. I wasn't ready to save or spend more money on my car beyond a car payment and gas. But you likely know how that story ended, right?
You pay for insurance because to not pay for insurance is more expensive in the long run.
The same goes for website security.
So trust me. You have the money. You just have to get used to spending it.
What would you spend to sleep well tonight?
I want to wrap up my attempt to explain why this is the best bet for a hacked website with a simple illustration about sleeping well at night.
For years I had a crappy bed. I didn't realize it was a crappy bed. I just knew that I woke up every single morning in a bit of pain. I'm not joking. Every morning I had to get up and stretch because my back was sore from the sleep the night before.
I went to a store and looked at bed prices. Man, they weren't cheap. Then the guy asked me, “What would you spend to sleep well tonight?” I walked out because it's the kind of question that bothers me. He was just trying to make money off my pain. Right?
But for the next few nights, I slept horribly. And each morning I was even more angry about the back pain I was experiencing. So I went back to the store. I bought my first Sleep Number bed. And I slept well ever since. These days we're on our third Sleep Number bed. It's a fantastic bed. I hate traveling because I miss my bed.
Anyway, my point to you isn't about a Sleep Number bed. My point to you is to ask you the question in a different way.
How many times will you deal with a hacked website before you realize that the pain you're experiencing can be completely eradicated by spending a bit of cash?
Only you can answer that question. But my take is that it's the best $200 you'll spend this year to sleep well at night.