If you have a website, be it for business, social or personal reasons, and you are able to update it, then it’s likely that it runs on one of the major CMS (content management systems) such as WordPress, Joomla, Umbraco, Drupal or Expression Engine.
The CMS is the operating system for your website. It has your content which is all stored in a database, and it’s how you operate your website online. Just like your PC, tablet and mobile device require ongoing app updates, your CMS also requires this ongoing maintenance too. This ensures the site remains secure, usable and ultimately safe to use for you and your visitors. Unless you are an expert, it is advisable that you have your website fully managed and supported. This provides peace of mind to your business and yourself that everything is being taken care of and you don’t need to worry about the technical issues surrounding your website.
If you choose to patch the website yourself, then you need to set aside a large amount of time, so you can upload all the files and ensure you have the skills necessary to test and fix the site if it breaks following a patch. You will also likely need to plan for site downtime, which if you’re not sure what you are doing could end up being a number of days. You also run the risk of damaging your website design and functionality which you have spent time, effort and money to build. Patching is the first step to keeping your site secure and so is essential to your website’s long-term success.
However, there’s a lot more to it than just patching your website, thinking you’re safe.
25 Risks You Avoid with Continuous Website Support
If you choose to maintain your website or choose to leave it unsupported, then over time you will ultimately face some of the following potential issues:
Your Website Will Be Insecure
Your website will be insecure, not fit for purpose and will place your website users at risk of downloading malicious software, viruses and malware from your site.
You Will Likely Get Spammed
Your site will become flooded with spam entries that will contain offensive content and links to malicious sites which will be uncontrollable.
Your Site Will Get Slower
Your website’s load time will get slower and slower and become unstable and unusable.
Malicious Content, Code and Images May Appear
Malicious images may appear throughout your site where you least expect.
Your site may become controlled by Botnets or spambots, which may lead to your website becoming involved in cybercrime.
You May Get Hacked Through Vulnerabilities and Backdoors
Your website could become hacked and defaced by an inappropriate image or message. This can happen through holes left from plugins and apps becoming out of date and insecure.
Sensitive Information Could Be Stolen
Credit card details, user accounts and other sensitive information may be stolen.
You May Find Yourself in Breach of the GDPR
You may find yourself in breach of the data protection act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2018) for not securing personal data.
Brute Force Attacks
Your site will likely come under continuous brute force attack until it is broken, and unauthorised super admin access is gained likely without your knowledge. This will happen via the admin login screen which should be protected and hidden from public knowledge (something else we protect against).
You May Lose Your Website
You may need to rebuild your site from scratch as it may be completely unsalvageable following a major hack which means you would need to start from scratch without protections in place. This is why we include our firewall and defender service to protect against such attacks from happening.
Your Reputation Could Be Damaged
Your business image, trust and professionalism will be greatly damaged.
Your Host May Switch You Off
Your hosting provider may decide to terminate their hosting services as it will affect other customers of theirs.
Your Website May Not Work on Browsers
Your site will not work on the latest browsers and will become unstable. Browser technology changes frequently, and your CMS system will update to reflect these changes over time.
Malicious Pop-ups May Occur
Your site may begin placing malicious pop-ups onto your web pages which force users into entering personal data unknowingly.
Your Website May Fail to Work as Designed
Your website functionality will begin to fail and no longer function as expected, causing loss of business. Your web visitors will just become frustrated and go to a competitor website.
You May Drop Down the Search Engine Rankings
Your website will fall down the search engine rankings such as in Google or in Bing. This is because your website without proper support may be deemed spammy or unsafe to web users. Malicious code, errant redirects and slow loading sites are penalised heavily and so if your website’s associated with other sites if it comes under attack.
Your Website May Become Cloned
Your website may become cloned and used elsewhere which can damage or destroy your brand. Hackers can clone your site, redirect your main URLs to the clone site and launch their attack on your unsuspecting web visitor.
You, Will, Receive Spammy and Bogus Comments
You may experience thousands of bogus comments which contain offensive language and links. This can go into the thousands and take a long time to clear out. Often they contain malicious links and code if not properly protected against.
Your Website May Become ‘Trolled’
Website trolls are the scourge of the internet. They incite hateful and hurtful comments at others. You do not want your brand or site to become known as being associated with trolling. Website visitors will stay away for good.
Your May Lose Control of Your Website
You may lose complete control of your website and have your super admin login details altered to prevent you from even fixing the site in the first place.
Your Contact Forms May Stop Working
Your contact forms may stop working and result in loss of business or contact details. If they stop working or sending you will have no idea of any website leads that have happened.
An Unmanageable Amount of Web Bugs
You will experience a large number of website bugs that may become unmanageable.
Your Website May Begin to Throw Numerous 404 Errors
Your site will begin to show numerous 404 error messages. This is not attractive to the user experience your client or potential client has on your website.
Social Media Sharing Breaks Down
Social media integrations will break, and your site will drive further scrupulous traffic to your other communication platforms. They may also promote the wrong links from your site with auto-publishing enabled from RSS feeds.
You Will Likely Experience a DOS Attack
Your site will experience a DOS (Denial of Service attack) and force it offline. This attack floods your website with fake traffic to overload the server so it stops working. At OJE our servers have protection mechanisms in place to stop this from happening.
These are just some of the dangers facing an unsupported and insecure website, and it’s not just the CMS patches which are required.
Why You Need To Do More Than Just Patch Your Website
Even if you leave your website fully patched, this does not mean that it is secure. Your hosting environment and security also play a huge factor.
Cheap hosting often means that you are running your website from a shared server environment. This means there is nothing stopping other users from other websites from going through a back door and attacking your site. This is why it’s becoming more and more important to function from a dedicated platform to prevent the risk of a back door attack. On a dedicated platform, bespoke security settings can be set which attune to the CMS being deployed and used. There is no such capability on a shared server, it’s like locking the front door and having someone walk straight through the wall, especially if the latest security has not been applied. You also run the risk of sharing server bandwidth, which means if one of the unknown websites on the same server as you uses a lot of bandwidth, your website speed suffers, along with your reputation.
As well as operating from a secure server, you need to ensure that the server hardware is kept up to date along with the software which is used to manage the server, such as cPanel or Plesk and WHM. These do cost money and licensing, but without it all you would have is a slab of metal, and you would find it difficult to manage and maintain the backend of your website server configurations. If the server is kept unpatched, then this too would make your website vulnerable to attack.
You also need active firewalls and active security software running on your website too, which protects against brute force attacks and unauthorised entry by blocking IP addresses after a certain period of time and other features.
Given that CMS are so widely used, at OJE we also protect against the standard entry points to protect users further and to protect the website’s integrity at all times. We also provide custom security software and plugins which further strengthen the standard CMS defences.