We have just released a new version of our WordPress plugin 3.2.1 the SG Optimizer, which allows you to move to PHP 7.0 with a click. We encourage all SiteGround customers to utilize this great option and make their WordPress installation run on PHP 7.0 now. PHP 7.0 has been available on our servers for over a year and it is high time that all of our customers take full advantage of the considerable performance boost it provides.
Having a website regularly scanned for security issues, is something we have always highly recommended to our customers. Our site scanning service (known as HackAlert until recently) has always been among the bestsellers and is used by thousands of our customers to check their websites and inform them in case of a malware. Today we are happy to announce that we have introduced a number of improvements to this services. It is now called SG Site Scanner, it is powered by one of the most prominent web security experts - Sucuri.net, and it is simply awesome!
Yesterday, our partners from Sucuri have discovered a serious SQL injection vulnerability in one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins - NextGen Gallery. Our security team started working immediatelly on the issue and created a rule in our web application firewall (WAF) to block any potential attempts to exploit this vulnerability. However, we strongly recommend that all NextGen Gallery users update their plugin to version 2.1.79 which fixes the core of the issue in the plugin code.
Our Top Support Rep in February is Nikolay Hadzhiyski. He is one of those people who constantly strive to push their limits and can’t stay content for long with current achievements. He finds inspiration in music and likes to recharge his batteries on the snowboard. If you happen to see a snowboarder listening to Elvis Presley, that could easily be him! Here is what he shared with us.
Since we launched our integration with Cloudflare in 2012 we have seen thousands of our customers benefit from its CDN and the site security functionalities. Today we are happy to announce two improvements in the Cloudflare packages we provide. First, the SSL is now supported in the free plan of the service. Second, we have included a very cool security feature - the Cloudflare Web Application Firewall, in our Plus plan.
We first launched our WordPress AutoUpdater in 2012. Some tweaks were made to the system a year later, when the original AutoUpdate feature was included in the WordPress core, but we continued to rely primarily on our own system for our customers. The SiteGround AutoUpdater has been used successfully for the last 5 years and has kept a lot of our customers up-to-date and safe from hacks. Thanks to it, more than 70% of the WordPress installations on our servers have been constantly using the latest software version. However, we have been thinking for a while how to get this percentage even closer to 100. The recent security issues with WordPress REST API motivated us to introduce a change into the system that increased the upgrade rate to more than 90%.
In the security world, the following advice seems to be gold: keep templates and plugins up to date; use secure passwords and captchas; be careful whom you give access and to what; use a security conscious web host.
While those are all great tips and we encourage them, your website is still (and always will be) hackable. We’ve seen and helped clients with numerous hacks over the years, so we wanted to share some advice that goes beyond following security best practices.
UPDATE: If you're using CloudFlare with your website, make sure you set the SSL Option in our CloudFlare tool in cPanel to Flexible, then configure WordPress to work through HTTPS and finally, switch the option in CloudFlare to Full Strict. This way, you will not have any downtime during the reconfiguration process. Check out our CloudFlare tutorial for additional information on that matter.
A month ago we made the first step to increase the adoption rate of SSL certificates amongst our customers by starting to issue automatically Let's Encrypt certificates for all domains hosted on our servers. However, there still remained a manual step to configure all applications to use the certificates we've made available. We knew that if we really wanted to see a rise in the HTTPS usage we not only needed to provide the SSLs, but also make it easy for our clients to implement them. Today we are happy to announce that we have achieved this second goal for a large group of our customers -- the WordPress users.