A few weeks ago my WordPress blog was apparently attacked by hackers or spammers, or something nasty, and it took me sometime to even know that it had happened. The first hint I had was a sudden increase in traffic. Normally a pleasant surprise, but in this case it wasn’t. The next hint was that it became difficult to access my site and my admin panel.
After repeated efforts I finally connected with my site and saw a huge list of spam comments; trapped in my spam box fortunately. Then I knew it was time to send an email to my ISP. By the next morning I had received a reply and they confirmed that my website had overloaded their server due to an attack of some description. They then added a small piece of code to my site to protect both my site and themselves. The site was then back to operating normally, except for a little loss of functionality in a couple of minor areas, which after a lot of work are all running once again.
The first lesson here is that when deciding where to host your own site, always choose a reliable and full service ISP. Luckily for me mine is one of these. Not cheap, but worth every cent. I shudder to think what would have happened if I was on a ‘cheapo’ hosting provider with no technical back up.
Secondly, although it’s bad luck to get hacked or spammed, I had taken a number of precautions that kept my site up and running throughout this nasty time. Spam protection plugins and Captcha security at least stopped all of what was hitting the site being published. Secondly, good caching meant that even though my server was being overloaded, the site was still more or less accessible. Just a little slower than normal.
Lastly. I had regular and recent back ups.
No matter what you do on your computer, always, always have back ups. Not just once in a while, but a regular routined back up schedule that I promise will save your ‘bacon’ one day.
It would be nice to think that the world and the Internet are full of nice people, which is 99% true. But there will always be that 1% who think destroying someone else’s hard work is a fun way to occupy themselves. So be warned. Protect your site as best you can and take the necessary precautions to prevent, protect and recover from the work of these idiots.