The possibility of four and a half years' worth of blog posts disappearing, never to be recovered, is a nightmare no blogger wants to become a reality. But that's what I was faced with a few days ago, when in just two minutes, I received 1,440 hits from Israel, and the stat counter was quickly increasing. My blog has been attacked before, but I don't think it's ever been that bad - if it has, I've blocked it from my memory.
It worried me because I suddenly realised how little security precautions Blogger has compared to other platforms such as Wordpress. I hate hate hate Wordpress, but at that moment I really wished I had the same control over my blog's security as Wordpress bloggers do. If my blog got hacked, I would be more than devastated. So I did what little I could to up the security on my blog. There wasn't much I could do because on Blogger we have limited access to files, but I did what I could and I thought I would share what I did in case any of you Blogger bloggers face the unfortunate possibility of being hacked.
As a side-note: this won't prevent spam views like I was getting (you can read more on how to read Blogger stats here) and I'm pretty sure I wasn't being hacked, but it made me start thinking about how to protect my blog, just in case.
I went to Settings > Mobile and Email and typed my email address in the boxes labelled 'Comment notifications' and 'Email posts.' I never used to get comment notifications via email because there didn't seem to be any point as I moderate them from my dashboard, but at least comments I get in the future will be in my inbox if I ever need to restore them. Enabling the 'Email posts' option means from now on, whenever a new post goes live on my blog, it will also appear in my email inbox, meaning I can put those straight back up if something bad ever happens to my blog.
Then I whizzed over to Settings > Other and clicked 'Export blog.' This downloaded an .xml file to my laptop which contains all blog posts (including scheduled posts and drafts) and all comments ever published to my blog. I quickly made a new blog and imported The Mile Long Bookshelf, and it worked perfectly! Phew. In the case of something bad happening to The Mile Long Bookshelf, I can import the file and everything should be back to normal.
Next I went to Template and clicked the Backup/Restore button which downloaded another .xml file containing just my template e.g background, header, title colours, link colours, and some of the sidebar widgets. Oh, and if you're wondering, I hated the look of the mobile version of my blog which is why I disabled it.
I read my blog code and kept my eyes peeled for any suspicious links. Just a tip for those who don't know, your template (if downloaded from a third party) and any widgets/code you got from other blogs and tutorials could contain harmful links, adverts, and pop-ups. It's good to check every now and then to see what's really on your blog. Luckily, there didn't seem to be anything suspicious in my code, so moving on...
I changed my blog and my Bluehost passwords even though they get changed regularly anyway. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
When all of this was going on, I was frantically Googling at the same time for security tips tailored specifically to Blogger. I couldn't find anything up-to-date, so hopefully this post will be helpful to those worried about blog security.