If I had a nickel for every time I hear a story from a photographer where their website host has no help... well, I'd have a heck of a lot of nickels.
Time and time again I see photographers getting let down and turned away by hosting companies. Not specifically WordPress hosting, but rather a general site hosting.
Recently a popular photography website platform let down yet another photographer, and I wanted to share a summary of the story.
A Serious Problem We Are Solving
Jane Doe has her website with Super Duper Website Company, which specializes in photography websites. The websites are a custom built platform, but they do not come with a blog. So instead of reinventing that wheel, the company offers a free WordPress blog and connects the two sites, so it looks like one.
Side note: Why not just use WordPress for both? Great question!
Because of the size of WordPress, meaning how popular it is, the software regularly becomes a target for attack. So security awareness is, even more, important than it would be otherwise. That is why at Imagely we have server-side security checks for our hosting, as well as recommending security plugins like Wordfence or Jetpack Protect.
However, at Super Duper Website Company they offer no security scanning and no help when there is a security issue worth being concerned of.
When Jane Doe's website was hacked she sent an email to her website company and in return received an email similar to this:
We do not offer managed hosting, so we cannot help. If it does not get fixed, we will shut your blog off.
Note the phrase "we will shut your blog off". That means the website host is telling the customer they value the non-WordPress website more than the blog, which is a WordPress website.
Instead of helping their customer with the security issue, they pushed Jane away. Forcing her to look for assistance elsewhere. Because the website company does not offer its customers FTP access to the server, it makes fixing the hack extremely difficult and time-consuming.
So after some advice, Jane reached out to Sucuri, who specializes in WordPress security. They are working with Jane to solve the problem.
We use Sucuri's services as well, for consistent security monitoring of our websites.
What Should Have Been Done
The moment Jane was made aware of the hack, and she notified the host, immediate action should have been taken to resolve the problem. The website company should have:
- Scanned the entire website for the hack and removed every trace of it.
- Contact Sucuri or another security company on Jane's behalf.
- Installed a security plugin.
- Thanked Jane for letting them know because if one site on a server is vulnerable, many are.
They should have held Jane's hand through the process and fixed it with no questions. Why? Because they're the ones hosting her website.
Instead, the company pushed Jane away, and in process threatened to take her site down. All for something she had no control over. Something that should have been stopped at the server level.
Photography Website Security Problems Solved
At Imagely, we do managed hosting. In fact, we do managed hosting for photographers. We provide security scans at the server level, which are all in Amazon's highly secured facilities.
We also recommend using security plugins to add additional layers of security on a per-site level.
Lastly, our hosting support team is fast to resolve any potential security issues that might come up, even with our ongoing security efforts.
So instead of pushing customers away, or offer threats for site shutdowns, we hold the hand of our customers while we help to resolve whatever security problems might come up.
As I said earlier, WordPress is so popular that it attracts attacks. Even with security measures in place, things can happen.
Before wrapping up, I want to mention that if your WordPress website does get hacked, do not think that it was a specific person attacking you. Many times hackers write bots which automate hacks by scanning for keywords in site source code to identify vulnerabilities. So a hack on your website could be and is most likely random.
With all of this said and done, I am happy to say that Sucuri fixed Jane's website, even without FTP access. It wound up costing Jane $199 for a year of their service, to get the site cleaned up.
If you are concerned about your photography website and want the peace of mind knowing that your host has your back, then sign up for an account with Imagely. We have your back.