Fear and malware in Las Websiteland

Veiko Strauss

Sales and marketing

Nothing in this life comes for free except problems. One way to get yourself into trouble is to build your website on "free" software that leaves you alone with technical issues like hosting and security.

The Estonian War Museum is one of the most interesting museums to visit in our little home country. Unfortunately a few weeks ago their website was taken down by the hosting company because the site was full of malicious software.

This is not a precedent, there’s nothing new under the sun. Hundreds of thousands of websites get hacked every day and might have malware running on the background. Yes, even your website may be hacked.

You're on your own now

Often the problem is that most websites are built in an outdated way — a web agency builds it on some content management software like Wordpress, Joomla or something else so that the client has to take care of difficult tasks like hosting and security by themself. 

This is exactly the case with the Estonian War Museum. Their site was built on niche software which by now hasn’t been updated for years. They were left alone with it the day it was launched — no software updates, no security patches, no one to oversee a complex set of technical issues.

And after a while it all came crashing down. One day, Sandra Niinepuu — a researcher at the Estonian War Museum — got an unbelievable email from the hosting company. It turned out that museum’s site was so infested with malware that the hosting company just closed it down — together with all their content. It was a devastating surprise. Neither Sandra nor anyone else at the museum had any idea that they had to take care of something so technical and difficult as the security of an IT system.

The security is actually only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem with any self-hosted website is that whenever a software update or security patch comes out, this site must be updated too, otherwise it could break or get hacked. In a nutshell, if you are using self-hosted software like WordPress, you are in a neverending circle of patching, fixing and updating your site.

Taking care of such stuff is something only a few of us are able to do. So what a normal customer does is that he outsources such tasks to the web agency who built his website in the first place. The agency in return is happy to help him out — and send a juicy invoice on every occasion. This is a system that many web agencies have built in their businesses on. The problem is that agencies usually react only after problems arise and not take care of the patching proactively.

The same thing happened to the Estonian War Museum. But as the work amount required to get the website back online was quite significant, Sandra decided to quit this outdated way of doing business and started to look for alternatives.

Take the road less travelled

She found Voog and after only a few hours a completely new War Museum website was up and running. Developing a site in the old-fashioned way usually takes months and is crazy expensive. For the museum, the new website cost next to nothing — they didn't hire any developers to build it and any designers to design it. Sandra built the content completely herself.

It is time for you to quit that old-school way of doing business, too. Of course, using “free” software yourself seems tempting at first. But once the reality hits you, you will understand that you will actually pay significantly more for securing, hosting and updating the site continuously.

Move your site to a website builder service like Voog — now. Not only will you free yourself of the suffocating burden of hosting and securing it — you’ll also get 24/7 human support and lower running costs. 

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