WordPress 3.0 was recently released and it has caused quite a stir in the WordPress community. I had to chuckle when I saw the RSS feed widget below appear in my iGoogle.
Most of my clients don’t know what they don’t know – and in many cases that leads to WILDLY unrealistic expectations – such as blog updates being effortless. When it comes to updating WordPress blogs – expect the unexpected. While the WordPress development team does an exceptional job of vetting the software – there’s no way for ANYONE to know how the software will work on the wide array of hosting providers who host WordPress blogs.
For those of you who don’t know, I provide hosting for over 100 WordPress blogs and as part of that hosting service, I provide automatic updates for my clients. I also provide support services for about a half a dozen more clients who maintain multiple WordPress blogs as part of their internet marketing strategy.
Which is why – I maintain several blogs which act as “update guinea pigs” – so I can see if it’s time to unleash an update on my clients. For example, the last time WordPress changed it’s internal architecture this significantly – many of my clients discovered their beloved theme wasn’t going to make the transition. Fortunately, I was able to contact the clients and warn them of the impending update meant for their blog.
When I began providing my hosting with automatic update service over 4 years ago, WordPress updates were few and far between.
At that time, the battle was raging between Typepad and WordPress – with WordPress being labeled “hard to use” and “only for geeks”. Other blogging software contenders like DruPal were actually in the running in those days so deciding to “back” the WordPress “dark horse” was a risky decision for the direction of my business.
Fast forward 4 years and it seems everyone is on the WordPress bandwagon – with good reason. One of the reasons WordPress blogs are SO popular is that they are so search engine friendly. Another reason is – despite the initial “press” – the only “hard” part about using WordPress was installation. My business began offering WordPress installation for clients and discovered there were a LOT of people who were ready to take control over their web destiny. As a result, I have several clients whose technological expertise is limited to opening and responding to emails who have successfully taken their blogs to the top of the SERPS for their chosen keyword.
This has not gone unnoticed and the same quality of people who fill your mailbox with offers of “get rich while watching porn” – are also launching attacks on WordPress self hosted blogs. The early “hacks” were an attempt to hijack your blog – or to hijack your email program to send spam. However, lately the attacks are becoming more frequent – and more fiercely devastating.
It is more important now than ever before to make sure your installation of WordPress and all of your plugins are up to date.
Over the past few months, I’m getting more calls than ever to try to “rescue” blogs on older versions of WordPress. Unfortunately, these are people who “passed” on my Cyber Angel hosting service and they are now facing the consequences of their decision. In yet another example of ” WILDLY unrealistic expectations” – if your blog is hacked – there is no magic ritual which will enable anyone to retrieve your database without a backup.
The “foundation” of your WordPress blog is your database. To perform a periodic backup of your WordPress blog – you need only to download a backup of your database and then simply FTP the contents of your wp-content folder to your hard drive. You only need to FTP the contents of your wp-content folder once – to preserve your theme. As for backing up the database – do this once a week – or even once a month -and it will mean never having to say “goodbye” to all of your blog’s content overnight.