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One of the questions we get asked on a near daily basis is should I be using WordPress? Our response is always the same it depends on what you want to do and how much time and effort you want to put into the site. For example, if you want to create a blog of your thoughts WordPress has readymade themes and templates to help you.  Problems arise when you want to add further functionality or want to monetise your blog. Here in this blog we want to highlight some of the limitations of WordPress. Before we start don’t misunderstand us, WordPress is an incredible resource for the development of a website without a large team and in a short time frame. However, no web development tool is perfect, here are some of the things you need to consider before using WordPress:

 

Earning Limitations

You can’t run Google Adsense on your blog as it goes against WordPress’s terms and conditions for the monetisation of blogs or websites. You can apply for a WordPress advertising program called Wordads but the adds have to meet word presses standards. This may limit any possible monetisation of WordPress.

Website Can go Down Without Notice

Websites can go down without notice. Unless you’re paying attention and monitoring the site you may not notice it’s gone down, it may be down for a few hours or a few weeks. You may have to hire an agency to help you get it back up and running which adds to the list of expenses.

Security

Due to the popularity of WordPress it’s a common target for hackers and cyber criminals. There is no such thing as a 100% secure website, even if your development agency downloads all the security plugins, they can’t guarantee full security for the site.

Plugin Updates

Technology is constantly updating to improve the user experience. However, some of these updates can cause glitches or if you don’t update some features may stop working. This means your agency must constantly be working to try and keep the website and the plugins all up to date.

 

Once again, we’d like to reiterate that WordPress is a great tool for creating websites but it’s not the only tool. Consider the points above and your needs   before you start building your website. For any questions feel free to get in touch with our team.

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In previous blog posts we’ve mention the importance of SSL certification and some of the most common cyber threats facing businesses. Now we’re going to continue the topic of security and shine a light at an often-overlooked feature of websites. If you’ve ever looked at the top of a webpage in the URL bar, you’ll notice before the name of the site either http:// or https://. These stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocal and Hypertext Transfer Protocal Secure respectively.

To put it quite simply both HTTP and HTTPS are sets of protocols that allow for the transfer of information between systems. They’re mostly used to transfer data between a web server and a browser. Before 2014 most websites, with the exception of some E-commerce sites, only used HTTP to transfer data to the browser. However, the fatal flaw of HTTP is that it doesn’t encrypt the data it sends to the server, as a result information such as passwords, email addresses or bank details can be stolen. This is the reason you sometimes get warnings when going to certain sites, they are using HTTP for all data transfers and are vulnerable to hacks. HTTPS has and added layer of security as all data transfers are encrypted with an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) which protects all sensitive information.

We always advise clients to update their websites to use HTTPS, it is now a standard security feature on most websites and is the minimum level of security that consumers expect. As well as the cyber security advantages HTTPS also offers advantages for visibility and SEO. As an incentive for businesses and developers to switch over Google provides sites which use HTTPS with a boost in its rankings in effect giving an edge to sites that switched to HTTPS over those that didn’t.

 

 This is one of the first steps we take with our clients and we can’t stress the need to use HTTPS enough. We hope you found this post helpful.

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It seems that every day we hear about a new hack on a major company that has caused millions of user’s data to be exposed or millions of euros to be stolen. Hacks and security breaches are becoming more prevalent across the globe and as we become more connected and leave more of our data with websites, apps and social media companies’ hackers will only become more ambitious. Now you don’t need to become a cyber security expert or a coder demon but it’s important to know basic principles for cyber security to protect your website and business. Remember you’re not just protecting your business you’re also protecting your customers. Here are some of the top cyber threats to be aware of:

 

Phishing

This is the most common threat for businesses and consumers and frequently makes its way onto the news. While we’ve all received emails that are obviously fakes (I’ve one the lottery three times according to my inbox), the threat is becoming greater. Scammers are using photoshop and editing software to create very convincing email templates that could be easily mistaken for a legitimate email from a bank or service provider. These emails normally request login or bank details because of some undisclosed issue or threat. This threat has become so great that even Google and Microsoft have had to issue warnings to users. No company or bank will as for financial or login details via email.

Malware

Malware is a collective name for malicious software including viruses and ransomware. The software usually comes onto a system through suspicious links either via email (such as from a Phishing attack) or from a suspicious website. Viruses can slowdown a system or delete work and cause huge delays or compromise user’s data. Ransomware is a malicious form of software that threatens to reveal or block user’s data unless a ransom is paid. Ensuring your antivirus is up to date and not opening suspicious links will help to reduce this threat.

Spyware

Spyware is another form of malware that is plaguing businesses and IT professionals. Like Malware, Spyware can enter a system from suspicious links and websites. Spyware aims to gather information about a person or organisation without their knowledge and to send that information on to hack another entity. Keeping your anti-virus up to date and running frequent scans while avoiding suspicious links and websites will reduce this threat.

Script Kiddies

Script Kiddies refers to a malicious agent who may pose a cyber threat.  In hacking and programming culture a Script Kiddie is an unskilled individual who uses existing code and programmes to hack systems and websites. A Script Kiddie is an unskilled individual who normally doesn’t have the skills to write their own original code. In terms of malicious actors Script Kiddies are on the low end of the spectrum, normally they just try hacking to test themselves or for fun as opposed to hacking a target for financial gain. While they’re less of a threat than a hacking collective they’re the most common type of hacker businesses have to worry about. Keeping your website safe with SSL Certification will make the task of hacking more difficult.

SQL Injection

This is the first hack every Script Kiddie has tried. This is a design flaw that, unfortunately, many websites possess. SQL is a programming language used for the majority of databases, any website that is connected to a database, such as an E-commerce site that uses a database to store stock and customer details, will use SQL.  An SQL injection can result in an entire database being deleted with a single word.  When you search for something on an E-commerce site the user types what they’re looking for in a search bar. In an SQL Injection attack the attacker types in a piece of SQL code that can affect the entire database, sometimes with a single word. Talking to your web or database develop about this matter as there are numerous approaches to counteract this problem with some inventive coding to detect the presence of SQL code.

 

Denial of Services (DoS)

This is another attack that has made appearances in the news after numerous high-profile cases. This requires more knowledge and skill than a Script Kiddie is capable of but it’s not just something that happens to huge businesses or political parties.  A DoS attack is where a perpetrator seeks to make a network or resource unavailable to its users temporarily, this is accomplished flooding the target with traffic or sending information that triggers a crash.  There are many ways to deal with a denial of service attack and it’s important to talk to your developers and systems admin. The most important thing is to develop a plan in case this event occurs. Securing your network and having a strong system architecture are key for preventing this type of attack. Cloud based service providers offer many advantages in terms of security for businesses worried about this threat.

 

Cyber security is a constantly evolving field and everyday new threats and attacks are occurring. We’ve tried to condense information about the most common threats that we believe people should be aware of.  Remember if you have any concerns about cyber security you should contact your developer or seek the opinion of experts.

 

 

 

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So, you may have heard of the term SSL certification before but are unsure of the exact detail and why it’s so important. You wonder is it worth all the hassle? In short, it is.  SSL stands for secure socket layer, it’s an extra layer of encryption between a web server and a user’s browser. If SSL is properly installed a user should see a little green lock will be displayed on the left of the URL on a user’s screen and https will appear at the start of the URL. SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers on websites, these transfers include login details, contact information and credit card numbers.

 

SSL certification is the standard for internet security. In recent surveys people claimed they viewed a website as suspicious or untrustworthy if the green lock was absent from the URL. It’s a sign of trust that most internet users trust and expect to be there. Websites without this feature often experience reduced traffic as users view it as unsafe.

 

Google, in an effort to improve overall internet security, pushed their “HTTPS Everywhere Initiative”.  Websites that show a commitment to internet security and have SSL certifications rank high in Google’s algorithm and thus are easier to find. If your website doesn’t SSL certification and that all important green lock it’s an uphill battle to try and improve your websites SEO.  Let’s not forget that the threat of hackers isn’t imaginary or an unlikely cause for concern. Google and thousands of computer scientists didn’t invest all this time and money for nothing. Cyber-attacks have been on the rise in recent years with attacks becoming more sophisticated and the targets more varied. SSL certificates is the first line of defence in protecting you and your business.

 

SSL certification is no longer something you can ignore. With consumers expecting more services and interactivity from websites security is becoming a greater necessity for developers and businesses. A security breach could spell the end of a business and leave customers details exposed. Don’t be caught out !!

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