Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#22 I Got Hacked! – Wed 15th July 2015


iniartworksmallIt is 11 o’clock at night and I am lying here in the dark, in bed and I realize I have not done a podcast episode for today so I thought I will just quickly do one.

Today was super annoying because a bunch of my websites got hacked. I tried to open up PodcastFast.com and there was this dancing minion on there saying, You’ve been hacked! by someone from Sri Lanka or something like that.
And I was like, Oh man! And the problem was these were a bunch of small sites and I did not have backups to some of these sites. So basically it took me the whole day just to restore these sites and to get them back up. It was just a nightmare.
What I have done is I have a service that I use called manageWP.com, which I use to keep my plugins up-to-date, to stop my getting hacked. But they have an additional service where you can automatically create backups for your websites. So I upgraded my account and it is going to cost me an extra $20 month but I get all regular backups on my sites.
So the easiest thing if your site gets hacked, if you have a backup of all the files and also the mySQL database  or whatever it is called, those 2 things are what you need. Just strip everything, you just re-upload your files. Re-upload your database, and then bam! Your site is good to go.
And obviously, change your password and stuff like that so people cannot get back in. And obviously, there is a vulnerability in something and in this case it was the theme that I had across these 4 or 5 sites.
They got hacked, obviously get rid of the things that are causing the hack to happen like where the vulnerability is. If you can work it out then do that. Here is my advice to you, if you have websites, do regular backups of those websites so just get all the files, zip them, download that and then the mySQL database as well. Make sure you work out how to store that. Do that every now and then. So for On Property, which I update on a very regular basis, I do daily backups of those.
Also I have weekly backups for some sites and then monthly for the ones that do not change much.
But ManageWP, great service and you can scale it up if you have a couple of websites. It is really cheap for a couple of bucks a month. I have 20 websites and I think I am paying $30 a month. ManageWP is cool because if you have 20 plugins across your websites, you hit 1 button and it updates all these plugins, keeps everything up-to-date which helps you to stop getting hacked, hopefully.
This is the second time that I have been hacked in 8 years and the good thing that I did, that I felt was good was that I divided up my sites to a bunch of different services and I have much more expensive hosting when they do backups for me and stuff for On Property, my money-making sites. And the sites that do not make much money there probably is a different shared hosting accounts where I pay $4 or $3.60 a month for each of those.
So it is not really expensive. But by spreading it out, you minimize your chance of getting multiple hacks across because often these guys will go into a server and attack all the sites on that server. And so by having my sites on multiple different servers, in this case I have 4 or 5 sites that went down all in one server but all my sites on another server like ryanmclean.net, where this podcast is hosted, that was fine; On Property was fine.
So that was my day, wasted fixing hacks that I do not think I could have avoided but I have backups. It would have taken me a couple of hours to fix and I would be back on my day doing something productive. But alas, you need to learn these lessons and hopefully you learn these lessons from me instead of learning them from your own experiences. Get backups so that you can restore your sites easily. And if you have a lot of different websites, spread them across different servers.
As you can see, this is Instructions Not Included. There are no instructions on when you get hacked. The people you host with, the customer services are always useless with this stuff. They never are going to help you.
They never are going to find out who hacked these sites. They are never going to have things for you. They are never going to help you get your sites set back up unless you are paying good money. Like for On Property, I am paying $100 a month for hosting for that or something. Maybe in that case but if you are paying $4 a month, you are never going to get any help. There are no instructions for this stuff. I really felt that today and I am learning as I go.
It is all part of the puzzle of being an online entrepreneur, working for yourself. This stuff happen, you just have to deal with it.
Until next time guys! If you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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