Last week, I attended the South Florida WordPress Meetup for the first time. The topic was WordPress security and the presenter was John Carcutt of West Palm Beach. The meetups are held in Pompano Beach every second Wednesday of the month.
Carcutt is the group's organizer and is the search engine optimization (SEO) manager at MediaWhiz and is a co-host on WebmasterRadio.fm for the SEO101 show. He has had a long history with Internet marketing, focused on search engines, and a great history with blogs, especially WordPress. Obviously, he loves WordPress or he wouldn't have a meetup for it.
His security presentation was called "How to Hackproof Your WordPress Site," and he covered the basics of website and blog security as well as some of the steps that should be taken to make sure your site is not easily targeted. Using a name and login other than admin, for instance, is an easy way to avoid hacks. Although it would seem pretty elementary not to use the word admin as your login, a simple show of hands after John asked how many of the attendees used it, showed how helpful that one piece of advice was. A few other things were also included, including some great plugins that you can use.
The event itself was attended by a fair number of people. I had expected a small group of maybe ten or fifteen people, but was surprised at how many did show. This back room of Panera was pretty much standing room only, with over 20 wordpress lovers. The meetup, it turns out, has over 250 members.
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Willie Morris, one of the newer attendees, says, "I've used WordPress for years, and despite arriving late, I thought the presentation covered security tips that both beginners and pros could appreciate."
These are people who are professional bloggers, part-time bloggers, personal bloggers, or just enthusiasts who love coding WordPress plugins and mods. There were also theme designers and IT support people who deal with WordPress a lot. Everyone there was a WordPress lover and junkie, for sure.
It was a fun meetup and I look forward to becoming a regular. I gained a lot of insight and more than a few contacts as well.
After the event, I went home with a lot of information and spent an hour upgrading my own blogs to increase their security. I installed the plugins John recommended and found them to be great as well. Especially WP Security Scan which points out many of the things that John talked about anyway.