WordPress constitutes a considerable section of the internet. According to Kinsta, WP powers 39.5% of the internet. Its popularity has attracted a battalion of merciless hackers targeting the vulnerable spots and loopholes they can use to conduct their hacks. You must ensure that you have a secure WordPress website. It can become an easy target for hackers due to the vulnerabilities in the plugins, poor password practices, and outdated software.
Most people ask me whether WordPress is insecure. The answer I give to them is usually simple. WordPress itself is a secure Content Management System as long as the users adhere to the WordPress security best practices.
Despite the recent rise in WordPress infection and vulnerabilities, WordPress website owners are still careless and are not conscious and thorough regarding safety. This article will explain some of the simple WordPress security measures you should install to ensure a secure WordPress website. But first, you will need to understand what you are protecting your WP from.
WordPress Security Issues
1: Brute Force Attacks
Password-based authentication is the most popular way of granting access to your WordPress website. This authentication approach is prone to several security flaws, one of them being brute force attacks. The brute-force attack dramatically depends on the raw computing power rather than the hacker’s ingenuity or adeptness. The hacker will apply the trial-and-error technique to enter several usernames and password combinations in anticipation that the correct combination will be discovered. We will later learn how you can make it hard for a hacker to use this attack on your WordPress website.
2: SQL Injections
SQL injections can compromise your WordPress website. It could expose both your valuable data and that of your clients. WordPress has done a lot to ensure that its users are protected from SQL injections. However, the CMS remains vulnerable to such kinds of attacks. And it is a scary thought to think about becoming a victim of an SQL attack. Fortunately, there are vital measures that you can put in place to ensure that you are secure.
3: Malware Attacks
Malware infections are also common in WordPress. Malware attackers use malicious code to access websites to disable the website’s normal functioning or steal sensitive information.
4: Cross-site Scripting
It refers to an injection vulnerability on the client’s side. Cross-site scripting is where a hacker intends to execute scripts that are malicious in a victim’s web browser by adding a malicious code on a web page or application. The web page or web application is a delivery device that delivers the malicious script into web users’ browsers.
5: File Inclusion Exploits
This is a kind of attack that occurs when a hacker uses a malicious code to load remote files, giving the hackers the ability to access your WordPress website.
WordPress Security Measures
1: Choose A Reliable WordPress Hosting
In WordPress security, the first crucial point that you should consider is the host. To achieve the utmost security level for your WordPress website, it is critical that you only consider reliable web hosting providers. Not all hosting providers are equal, especially in security matters. You must consider the price and the security standards, and the benefits that the hosting will bring to your WordPress website.
I strongly discourage you against using shared hosting. The reason is that mediocre shared hosting increases the chances of your WordPress website being hit by an attacker. This means that if one of the websites gets hacked, all the other websites are at risk.
Not all web hosts are vigilant and cautious enough to have proper security measures to safeguard your WordPress website.
2: Carry Out Regular Updates
Outdated theme and plugin versions could be a significant threat to your WordPress website. WP is operated on an open-source code. WordPress has a team of experts whose task is to identify security loopholes and fix them. As those loopholes are disclosed, the team will release the fixes immediately to patch the security loophole. You must install the update the moment they are available. Failure to do this on time can put you in the wrong hand of hackers.
Lastly, I advise that you spice all these by including an essential security layer to encrypt all your data. I am referring to the SSL certificate by ClickSSL. No measure can beat the SSL certificates, especially when it comes to your WordPress admin panel’s security. Secure Socket Layer certificates will encrypt all the data transfers that happen between your servers and your users. It makes it difficult for a hacker to breach the communication. Apart from security reasons, installing the SSL certificate will also improve your ranking in search engines and strengthen users’ trust in your brand.
3: Best Password Practices
As I mentioned earlier, a brute force attack is one of the most popular attacks facing WordPress websites. Only one thing can be done to stop the brute force attack- the use of strong and unique passwords.
The use of strong and unique passwords is one of the many best password practices. To strengthen your WordPress security walls, you should follow these best password guidelines:
- The password that you use to access your WordPress website should be a blend of upper-case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Reusing a password increases your vulnerability. As a hacker, on accessing the password, will try it on your multiple accounts. Your WordPress website will be in hot soup if you have secured it with a password that you have used somewhere else.
- Ensure that you change the passwords regularly to keep attackers off the radar.
- Make use of password manager tools such as 1password and LastPass.
- Store passwords safely. I recommend that you memorize them instead of writing them down or letting your web browsers store the passwords.
4: Secure the wp-config.php file
The wp-config.php file carries very vital data. All the files relating to WordPress installation and information about the files in your WordPress website’s root directory are held in the wp-config.php file. The wp-config.php file is like the heartbeat of your WP website, and you have to protect it at all costs. Protecting the wp-config.php file does not take much. All you need is to transfer it to a higher level other than the root directory. WP will still access it even if it is moved to one folder more elevated than the root directory.
5: Use the Multiple Step Authentication
Using passwords alone to access your WordPress website is not enough. It would be best if you used more authentication processes. Here is where the two-factor authentication will come in. Apart from using regular passwords to access your WordPress, you will also be required to enter a one-time code sent to your device. Multiple-step authentication ensures that the only person who can access your WordPress is the one with the phone, which is you.
6: Disable File Editing
Suppose a user can access your WP dashboard; the user can easily alter files, themes, and plugins, which are part of WP installation. You must disable the feature. It denies hackers and website users who have malicious intentions the ability to modify your files. To disable WordPress editing, you will have to add the text below at the end.
If you have an existing WordPress website, then taking these security protocols is a move towards a secure direction. I advise that you implement all the security protocols I have mentioned in this article to ensure that you have a secure WordPress website. The more security walls you have, the harder it will be for a hacker to access your WordPress website.