WARNING – Don’t let this happen to you: Long time since last I posted. Too much has happened in the past several months to recount here. Suffice it to say, it has been a rough experience. In all my 20 years of building websites with the same server we never lost a site. Until the beginning of December 2018 – when I was informed that ALL of my websites had been suspended by the host for allowing malicious malware to infect my entire remote directory. Took my trusted server, Don (Clearlight Communications) many hours over several days disinfecting as much of the code in as many sites as he could (THANK YOU DON!). He was able to restore the majority of my sites although I lost business & confidence. You see – it was all my fault.
I did not update WordPress properly & a spider bot found the vulnerability & proceeded to seed malware. Since I also neglected to update plug-ins so when they became corrupted I got the White Screen of Death. Again, Don came to the rescue & showed me how I could fix the WordPress plug-ins & recover the sites.
Moral of this story: if you master WordPress websites KEEP BACKUPS & UPDATE the WP version in a timely manner as well as any installed plug-ins. There is no automatic updating that can replace diligent maintenance of your sites. I know this for a hard fact – ALL my websites were down for 16 full days. I could have avoided this hardship but, frankly, I did not know how much at risk my directory was. I have always been front-end (design, build, etc.) but now I know to spend the effort keeping my sites up-to-date thereby protecting the code from malicious malware.
In the olden days, we never worried about being hacked if we followed best practices, used a reliable theme & turned off comments. But, in the last 3 years professional hackers & foreign operatives have found their way into the very fabric of the vast majority of the websites out there. ** In research**
The level of risk depends on what kind of content is on the site you master, but I stress that all WordPress sites are now vulnerable. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.