What to do when your website gets hacked

This weekend, the server my website resides on got hacked. Let me tell you, it was not a fun experience. As much as I have worked with websites, this was the first time this ever happened to me.  I learned quite alot. Here are a two important lessons from my experience.

1. The Customer Service from Your Hosting Company Matters

If your server gets hacked (this is were your website files reside) then you have to work with your hosting company, not your website developer. This is where a good hosting company comes in handy. My website went down on Sunday (aka-not during normal operating business hours).  Not only do they have 24/7 live chat support. But, they also staff people on the weekends to take calls. Now, while it took me a while to get through to them because I have to imagine they probably only had one person staffed on Sunday, they responded quickly. It’s not often I need to call my hosting company, but if something goes wrong, I don’t want to find out then that it didn’t matter.

If you are in the process of reviewing where you host or what to look for, I strongly recommend you pay attention to their customer service.

2. Backup files are important

The fact that the server my website sits on was hacked meant that there was potential to lose all my files, including all my blog posts and other content I have spent alot of time on. I realized in that moment that outside of what I was relying on my hosting company to do, I didn’t have backup files. Depending on the damage done, I was told there was a small chance things could not be restored. This made me really nervous. I realized that I should be keeping backups of my own content in case I ever need to rebuild my blog and website.

Its important to make sure your hosting company provides backup. (which should be standard) However, its equally important for you to have your own files, especially when it comes to content. That way, if disaster strikes, you don’t lose all that intellectual capital.

As angry as I was when my website go hacked, there wasn’t much I could do. I could only wait for my hosting company to fix the problem and restore my files. If you find yourself in the same position (and I hope you don’t), take a big deep breathe and hope that your with a responsive hosting company.

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