If you are a small business or solopreneur, you may be administering your own website (we always recommend you have control of it yourself anyway!). But there will be times where you want to get some work done on your site by an external contractor – either because it is outside of your expertise, or you simply don’t have time. A small business we know of recently had the experience where a web developer disputed pay and took his revenge by installing some malware (malicious software) on their website. Fortunately it was done badly so they were able to pick it up and have it cleared right away, but that brings up a good question – how should you protect your website before ‘handing the keys’ to someone else?
Protecting Your Website
There is obviously the potential for a lot of things to go wrong when you get work done on an otherwise-functioning website. Here are a few points that we recommend:
- Back-up your site
If all else fails, you can at least restore your website to it’s pre-work condition if you have backed it up first. Some hosting companies regularly back-up websites on their network (you’d have to ask about yours), but we recommend backing it up yourself using a plugin such as Backup Buddy ($80 per year for up to 2 sites, or $100 for up to 10 – totally worth not losing your hard work!). There is also Duplicator which is a free plugin.
- Do your homework
Not all ‘WordPress Experts’ are created equally – as a general rule, you will get what you pay for! If you are hiring someone you do not know (for example, using a site like oDesk), check out their ratings and testimonials from clients whom they have done work for previously. It may even be worth doing a reference check with some of their past clients (we often get asked about this!). In the end, if there’s something you’re not quite comfortable about, do not make the hire!
- Create a unique user
Rather than giving the contractor your own login details, create a unique user ID for them in your website. This way you simply need to delete the user after they’ve finished work.
- Scan for malware
If you want to take extra precautions to ensure that nothing dodgy ended up on your site, you could use a malware scanning tool. One we like is a plugin called Sucuri – yes, you will have to pay for it – but how much is having a clean website worth to you?
Do you have anything to add regarding protecting your website? Let us know below…