You probably have a disaster plan in place for your apartment community if a flood or other natural disaster strikes.* But what if your website goes down and it’s more than a temporary hosting glitch? This happens to everyone at some point, including big names like Amazon. Would you know what to do or where to start?

We’ve built hundreds of websites and we’ve seen almost everything under the sun. In this two-part series, we’re going to go over some things that can go wrong and provide a convenient checklist you can use to prepare your own apartment website disaster plan. In this part, we will focus on site hacking.

If you are using a common content management system like WordPress or if your site is hosted with a cheap hosting provider, you are very vulnerable to hacking. Hacking is when a third-party uses “a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system” – generally for nefarious reasons. Some web hosting companies will suspend your hosting until the site is cleaned up which can take a week (or more) and cost hundreds of dollars.

When it comes to hacking, a good offense is the best defense. Though it may cost you a little more overall, it pays to use a high-quality hosting company. Specifically in the case of WordPress, it’s important to use a hosting company that specializes in that platform. We use Flywheel, to host our apartment websites as they are WordPress experts. In the case of Flywheel, if you’re hacked, they will get your site back up for free. Be sure to keep WordPress and all of the underlying software that was used to build your site (plug-ins, themes, and the like) up to date or pay someone to do these updates for you periodically. Keeping these elements up to date is another layer of protection against hacking.

If you are unwilling or unable to move your site to premium hosting, be sure you are backing up your site and that your back up includes multiple versions of the site that you can revert to if necessary. As an example, if you stored daily backups for the past month you’d be more likely to restore a backup that was made before the site was hacked. Also, be sure that you know how to restore the site if it goes down.

Stay tuned to our blog for part two of this series in preparing for an apartment website disaster. And, as always, if you have any questions, we’re here.

*If you don’t, we have a client who can help you with disaster planning.