WordPress Security Patches
February 27. 2020
Running a website is a long-term process. You can’t just design a website, set it up and let it be. In fact, website maintenance is a far more relevant and long-lasting part of having a website than the initial step of creating it. For as long as you want to have a website, you’ll need to keep working at it. So this is something you need to be prepared for! Producing new content, redesigning your theme, updating your systems – this is all an integral part of running a website. And one important thing you’ll need to do as a part of the process is keeping an eye on WordPress security patches. Not sure what that means? Not to worry! We’ll tell you everything you need to know.
WordPress security patches – what are they?
Let’s start from the beginning: what do we even mean by security patches in a WP context? In computing, patches are small pieces of software developed to improve a program by fixing an issue from a previous version of it. You may also know them as bug fixes. They exist on virtually every level of software development and can be about fixing any aspect of the software. Microsoft develops patches and bug fixes for its programs and operating systems both. Similarly, a small app developer for Android will often include a patch in its updates. So it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about large scale OS development or small app improvements – patches are a fact of life in IT.
WordPress security patches are, then, patches specifically intended to improve the security of WordPress. They fix the bugs and holes which leave your WP website vulnerable to hacking and exploitation.
Why are WordPress security patches important?
Patches, and more specifically security patches, are not just a normal part of software development. They’re an incredibly important part of it too. The world of IT is an ever-changing one. So even if you release an absolutely perfect program today (which is unlikely, to begin with), odds are there’ll be things you can improve on within weeks. And with cyber threats quickly becoming the main concern for businesses today, the constant development of new security patches, in particular, is necessary. New threats are coming up every day, new bugs being discovered. If we want to protect ourselves from them, we need to improve our security. Security patches are one easy and effective way to do that.
What do you need to do in regards to WordPress security patches?
So now you know what WordPress security patches are and why you should care about them. The question you may have at this point is: what should I do? Luckily, the answer is – not much. When it comes to security patches, WP professionals do most of the work. In fact, WordPress employs a number of people specifically to monitor the security of the platform. It is their job to look for potential security issues, weak spots and safety bugs in WordPress that could potentially affect end users like you. They will then report these problems to the WP development team who come up with patches to fix them. So you don’t have to worry about that part!
There is, however, no guarantee that WP employees will find all the security issues that exist in time or even at all. And different plugins have different attitudes towards security which can negatively impact you. After all, there’s another group out there who specialize in finding security issues and then exploiting them – hackers. So it’s always good to set up your own security measures if you want to protect your website.
Scan your website yourself regularly
One of the things you can do to ensure your website is safe is to scan it regularly. There are a number of security scanner tools you can use for this, such as WPScans and Securi Sitecheck. While this won’t actually remove the issues, the reports that these tools yield can give you an insight into potentially vulnerable areas and places on your website where you can improve security. And the sooner you are aware of these problems, the sooner you can get on fixing them!
Notify developers when you notice issues
Nobody expects you to personally fix everything that is wrong with WP and WP plugin security. That’s what developers are there for! But if you want them to release security patches that resolve your problems, you need to make them aware of those problems. So if you do discover something that seems suspicious and that you think could cause security issues, be sure to report it to the developers!
Update WordPress and all your plugins regularly
Security patches for WordPress and all its plugins are usually released with other updates. So make sure that you’re always updating your WP and plugins on time! Not only will this help you maintain your website’s safety, but it can also help with other bugs and glitches you might be experiencing. Besides, there is a reason why the developers release new versions of their software. The point is to constantly improve. Having the latest version should, therefore, also mean having the best version.
Other things you can do to upgrade your WP website security
Of course, you don’t always have to rely on WordPress security patches alone. In fact, you probably shouldn’t rely on them alone. Security is a big deal and you can’t take it lightly. So don’t wait on updates and bug fixes! Instead, be proactive and do what you can. If you have reason to worry about your website, you can, for example, put it under password protection. If you suspect someone’s gained access to your website who shouldn’t have it, then resetting your WP admin password is a must. Make sure to regularly check your website also. Are there any security notices on your dashboard? Does your website look like it should to the end-users? If you notice any suspicious changes, that might be cause for concern. So keep a close eye on your website!