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How Bluehost Secured 1.6 Million Outdated WordPress sites

Bluehost is officially recommended hosting company for WordPress platform by WordPress.org. In the recent times, it also raised a lot of question from experts around the globe regarding its contribution to WordPress open source community. Even I had the similar question until, during 2015 State of the Word address, WordPress co-founded shared how Bluehost tackled their 1.6 million outdated WordPress installation.

State of the word 2015

There are a lot of takeaways here for all the WordPress users & hosting companies. Also, it’s a vote of trust for existing Bluehost users.

Bluehost hosts about 2 million WordPress sites & in a recent audit they realize almost 80% i.e. 1.6 million WordPress installs are outdated. This is a major security risk & one of the major reason for WordPress sites on Bluehost being hacked. Needless to mention, a hacked site requires immediate support from hosting company which increases the running cost for the company & that also creates negative emotions on social media for any hosting company.

How Bluehost handled 1.6 million outdated WordPress installation?

To tackle this issue, Bluehost wrote a Perl script that uses WP-CLI to update all WordPress sites. What interesting here is, it also updated WordPress sites which are using completely outdated version. If you have ever tried updating WordPress from 1.X or 2.x to the latest  version, you would know it’s not as simple as regular WordPress update that we do.

Here is what Bluehost Perl script did which is also available to download as an open source tool on Github for other hosting companies.

  • The script first checked the status of all the WordPress site.
  • Then created a backup for all the site.
  • Runs all updates via WP-CLI
  • After updating is done, the script checked for any error such as a white screen of death.
  • If anything seems to be broken, the script automatically restored the site from the backup.

It took them about 1 month to update all the sites & they successfully updated 99% of the WordPress sites hosted on WordPress. Only 0.006% of updated sites faced the problem which was handled by Bluehost support team.

Bluehost epic WordPress updates

Another interesting thing which you as a hosting company would like is; The technical support request related to WordPress went down by 18%. This was mainly due to the site become secure with the latest version of WordPress & plugin/theme compatibility issue have gone down. <Source>

State of the Word 2015, WordCamp US from photomatt
Twenty-five percent of the web runs on #WordPress

You can watch the complete presentation in the below video:

If you are a hosting provider, you should take away the best part from this post. As WordPress powers 25% of the websites in the world, chances are; you might have a good number of users hosting WordPress based sites on your server. You should ensure that your customers are using the updated version of WordPress & if required, update the WordPress for your customers. I know of Siteground who also offers automatic updates for their WordPress customers. You can always use open source WordPress tools to roll out a mass scale backup/update/restore for your customers WordPress sites.

Bluehost has been an award winning hosting for years & they also offer one free domain with any hosting plan. You can grab discounted price for Bluehost using below link.

Get Bluehost hosting (Discounted price)

Here are few of the best resources for Bluehost + WordPress from WPSaviour:

  • How to buy hosting & get free domain from Bluehost
  • How to create your WordPress blog on Bluehost in 5 minutes
  • How to manually create a database on Bluehost or any other cPanel hosting
  • How to setup Google apps on Bluehost

Are you a hosting company? How are you handling the outdated WordPress installs in your company? If you are a Bluehost user, I would love to hear your feedback & experience with them.

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