How to Lock & Recover Your Website – A Complete Solution to Your WordPress Website Issues
It is quite a common issue for wordpress users to encounter: they install the app, they log in to their admin, and then they click on the “sales” link. At this point, they are greeted with a page telling them that their site is down for maintenance and that they should expect some downtime. This usually happens because the software auto-update triggered a PHP-version-related bug in the CMS. Thankfully, there is a solution. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common causes of downtime and how to easily fix them with one simple step.
PHP Versions Differ
One of the first things you will notice when you visit a wordpress site is that, apart from the design and layout of the website, the underlying code is quite different from version to version. It is quite common for the platform to get patched with new features and improvements which end up breaking compatibility with older scripts. For example, in order to use the popular WordPress SEO plugin, you will need to be running at least WordPress version 4.5. Once you reach that point, you will realize that your site’s performance has started dropping and that it’s quite hard to fix without having your site down for a while. That’s because every time you auto-update your script, you are opening yourself up to potential security risks and crashes. For that reason, you should never run the same version of PHP as your WordPress version number indicates.
Improper File Permissions
WordPress was initially designed to be relatively easy to use and quite secure. This was made possible by the fact that the application was designed to use a MySQL database to store user data. Because of this, every file and folder on your server needs to have appropriate permissions so that the application can connect to the database and load content properly. If you are on a shared host, this can be quite tricky because the host usually provides you with only the basic requirements for your site to run. For that reason, you should ensure that file permissions are set optimally on all of the important directories and files on your server. Another important security measure is to ensure that your web server cannot be accessed over the Internet because it will be quite easy for hackers to get access to your files this way.
Unprotected Communication Channels
In addition to proper file permissions, you should also make sure that all of your website’s communication channels are protected. This means that you should use a VPN to create a secure tunnel between your computer and your server so that all of your network traffic is secured and can’t be accessed by third parties. Most importantly, when you use VPN, you should ensure that your own computer is not identifiable over the Internet because that would make it quite easy for hackers and scammers to access your personal information. If you are worried about government surveillance, you should know that the government does not need to track you via your VPN. This is because they can easily get access to your personal information without VPN in place. As long as you are not physically in a country where electronic surveillance is illegal, you are not at risk of being spied on by your government via a VPN.
With the above solutions in mind, let’s get back to the issue at hand. Whenever you are presented with a downtime message, you should first try to determine what is causing the issue. The best way to do that is to simply reload the page you are on and see if the problem persists. If so, you can continue your troubleshooting by comparing your site’s source code to that of a working version of the website to pinpoint the exact location of the problem. Keep in mind that, due to the nature of the bug, it could be anywhere in the code base which makes it quite difficult to pinpoint without having the site down for a while.
Remote File Inclusion
A common and quite dangerous issue for any web application is remote file inclusion. Whenever that happens, an attacker is able to inject his own code into your website’s source code and gain complete control over it. The only way to prevent that is to secure your website against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. This is quite easy to do and requires you to add a couple of extra security precautions to your site. First, you will want to use a HTTPS connection whenever possible. Second, you will want to sanitize all user input before displaying it on your site. Finally, if you don’t want to use an XSS filter plugin, you can protect your website manually with some of the above solutions. For example, if you use the WordPress SEO plugin, you can set up a basic anti-CSRF token to prevent automated account takeovers and improve login security by default.
SQL injection is one of the most common causes of website downtime. This happens when a hacker is able to enter a command into a query string that the application interprets as a database instruction. The most dangerous part about this type of attack is that they usually only need to enter one tiny piece of code in order to exploit a vulnerability. This means that, once they gain access to your site’s administration, they will be able to do anything including disabling your account and adding additional malicious codes to your database. To prevent this, make sure that all user input is properly escaped before using it in any queries and that the app is not vulnerable to SQL injection.
Unexplained Server Issues
Whenever you visit a wordpress website and are presented with a “this site is down for maintenance” screen, there is usually a good reason behind it. However, in some cases, the issue could be quite hard to find without having the site down for a while. In those cases, it’s usually a good idea to contact the support team for wordpress so that they can help direct you to the root of the issue.
One final note before we conclude this article. Even when all of the above solutions seem to fix your problem, it could be a good idea to put your site down for a night or two so that you can find the root of the issue. That’s because sometimes strange things happen on servers which can be difficult to track down without having the site offline. Once you have found the root of the problem, the solutions are usually quite easy to fix and have minimal down time consequences. However, until you find the root of the issue, it could be quite difficult to troubleshoot.
Ensuring that your website can always be accessed is quite important because, as we mentioned above, it could be difficult to locate without having the site down. Whenever that happens, you could lose a lot of potential customers. For this reason, it is quite important that you find the root of the issue as soon as possible and, if possible, have it resolved before you put the site back online. This will hopefully reduce the number of times this issue shows up again in the future.