Many website owners prefer WordPress. It offers many benefits. WordPress is a free CMS that uses PHP. Content management system (CMS) used to create and modify digital content. While PHP is the scripting language.
About 36% of the sites on the internet use WordPress. It’s no doubt the most popular type of CMS as no other CMS comes close to WordPress. It supports a wide range of sites. Initially, it used to power blog-publishing sites.
Now, WordPress can easily power sites like forums, mailing lists, online stores, etc. You can use it for a website containing media or members. After installing on a web server, your site can use WordPress. It offers the user the ability to create multiple webpages.
WordPress offers different themes. Hence, you can change how your site looks by using them. WordPress offers more than 55 thousand plugins. Each plugin allows users to do specific functions.
WordPress has many benefits, but security is still a topic of concern. Every business dreads malware threats and hackers. They can make your site blacklisted by Google. The search giant is known to blacklist more than 9000 sites daily for malware.
Why WordPress Security is Essential:
As we were discussing, if your site gets blacklisted by Google, it can cause your business grave financial loss. Google also blacklists more than 7000 websites daily for phishing. It becomes vital to protect your site from all types of threats.
The main risk with WordPress is its open-source script. As per the 2017 study, 83% of infected sites powered by WordPress. That’s why it has a bad reputation for security.
It doesn’t mean you can’t use WordPress for your business. The core software of WordPress is very secure against any breach. Many security breaches happen due to user mistakes. Website owners follow many worst-practices.
If you are using outdated software or nulled plugins, then your site gets prone to high risk from hackers. It’s no wonder that WordPress is prone to online threats as it has many combinations of themes and plugins. There is a huge WordPress community that helps to sort out these issues.
We will first discuss various WordPress vulnerabilities. It will give you an in-depth understanding of security issues. Then we will learn about vital tips to secure your site.
- Backdoor attack:
In this type of attack, hackers gain access to WordPress sites. They bypass security by using hidden passages. Here, mostly the entire server gets compromised. Many sites get infected on the same server.
Outdated WordPress versions contain many bugs. ‘Hackers’ use these to gain entry. It’s the most common attack method used by hackers.
- Pharma ads hack:
Here, outdated plugins and WordPress version are more prone to a hack. Rogue code gets inserted into the site. It causes search engines to show pharma product ads when your site gets searched.
It’s spam menace that often results in your site getting blocked by a search engine.
- Login attempts by using the brute-force method:
Hackers often prey on sites with weak passwords. Here, they use automated scripts. These scripts crack weak passwords, thus enabling hackers to can gain access to your site.
Many site owners fail to use adequate protection. More than 29000 sites get infected daily by a brute-force attacks.
- Malicious redirecting your site visitor to other sites:
Hackers insert code via a backdoor in WordPress. Here, your customer gets redirected to another website. It can cause you monetary loss. Rogue code gets placed in your core files like .htaccess file. We will see tips on how to avoid it.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack:
Here, the malicious script injected into your WordPress site. Hackers send different harmful codes and malicious scripts to your site visitors. The end-user is unaware of these attacks.
Hackers do this to grab session data or cookie information.
- Denial of Service (DoS) attack:
It’s the gravest form of attack. It overwhelms the memory of the site’s operating system. Hackers exploit bugs in code. It becomes critical that you have the latest version of WordPress. It provides some security against DoS attack.
Now, we will discuss various tips that can make your WordPress site safer. It will help you against online attacks.
10 Tips to Secure Your WordPress Website:
1) Work with Best Hosting Company:
You have to use the best web hosting company. It plays a vital role in the security of your site. Then, you can get an excellent level of protection in most basic WordPress hosting. For that, you have to select an ideal hosting company.
The best hosting company monitors its server for any type of threat. They also offer protection against DDoS attacks. Your server software and hardware need to be up to date. The best host company does just that.
They have software that allows for data recovery in case of an accident. In the case of shared hosting, there is an increased risk of cross-infection from sites on the same server. Best hosting companies offer you a more secure platform for WordPress site. You will get automatic backups, WordPress updates, etc.
2) Use Latest PHP Version:
PHP is the most common language used to do web development. It’s the backbone of a site powered by WordPress. It becomes critical to use the latest form of PHP on your server. Typically developer supports PHP for two years after its release.
In this period of two years, you will get a fix and patch for bugs and security issues. As per the study, almost 75% of WordPress users have outdated PHP. So it becomes a grave security issue for the vast majority of WordPress sites.
No doubt, you will need some time to test and check whether your site code runs on the latest version of PHP. But, running PHP without support risks your site to various online threats. The latest version also helps to enhance performance.
Free tools available on the internet will help to check which version of PHP that your site uses. In case your host company uses cPanel, under the software category, you will get the option to switch to different versions of PHP.
3) Secure Wp-config.php file:
There is the most important file on your site as far as WordPress security is concerned. It’s called wp-config.php file. You can say this file is the soul of WordPress.
You have to secure this file. It contains login information of your database along with security keys. You have some options to improve the security of this file.
You can move this file to another location; As per default settings, wp-config.php file located in the root directory. You can see it in your /public HTML folder. You need to move it to a Directory that is non-www accessible.
You can also update WordPress security keys. They used to protect data stored in the user’s cookies. WordPress comes with four different keys. You can update them by using a free tool. It update them by generating random keys in your wp-config.php file.
You can change permission to this file. By default, other users can read this file. You have to change this setting. By using these steps, you can secure your wp-config.php
4) Add WordPress Security Plugin:
Many developers and companies offer free security plugins that perform many vital tasks like checksum utility. It means the security plugin always check for any modification in core files. When you install WordPress, you will get core files from the parent company of WordPress. Any changes in these core files indicate the possibility of a hack.
Some security plugins offer you in-depth information like changes in login, password, theme, widget, by providing you a detailed activity log. Security plugins give excellent security for free of cost.
5) Install SSL Certificate:
There is a big myth that only e-Commerce sites need HTTPS protection. Many site owners think that the SSL Certificate is necessary only if you accept credit cards. But, your website needs HTTPS as it offers many benefits.
Many hosting companies offer free SSL certificates. HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) establishes a secure connection between your site and your visitors.
SSL certificate not only offers your site excellent security but also it helps you with SEO. Google ranks a website with HTTPS higher in search results. It can help your business to grow by making a site more visible.
It makes your site more trustworthy. Users feel secure to use your website. New versions of the Chrome browser shows a website without HTTPS as not-secure. Now, it becomes critical to have an SSL certificate if you want higher traffic from Chrome. It also makes your site fast as it gives higher performance.
6) Change Your Login URL:
Ideally, you should hide the login URL from hackers. You can change your login URL easily. Hackers can gain access to your login page by simply adding wp-admin to the URL.
In case hackers have a direct URL of your login page, they can mount a brute-force attack. They have a guesswork database. It contains many likely combinations of usernames and passwords.
By changing your login URL, you can be safe from 98% of direct brute-force attacks. You will have to install a plugin; then, enter the new login URL and save it.
7) Disable File Editing:
Commonly, your website may have granted administrator access to multiple users. You can’t give administrator access to authors or contributors. It’s a risky practice that hampers WordPress security.
You have to grant the correct role and permission to different users accessing your site. Easy trick is simply to disable Appearance Editor in WordPress.
Many site owners make the mistake of directly editing in the Appearance Editor that causes a white screen of death. You must do the edit locally and then upload it by using FTP.
Hackers can easily insert malicious code by editing PHP files in Appearance Editor; So, it’s best if your dashboard has disabled this feature. You can disable file editing by putting a one-line code in your wp-config.php file.
8) Add Limited Login Attempts:
WordPress has a default setting that allows as many login attempts as you like. It may help a little bit in case you type your password wrong. But it makes your site extremely vulnerable to brute-force attacks.
Hackers will simply keep on trying to crack your password. It becomes vital that you limit login attempts. Here, in case of wrong username-password combination, the user will simply get blocked for some time. Hackers get locked out, thus failing to finish their attack.
All you have to do is to install a Login Limit Attempts Plugin. Then, you need to go to settings. It will have the option of limiting login attempts.
9) Update WordPress Version:
Developers always release updated versions of WordPress. It contains security enhancement patches. They also fix bugs. You need to have up to date versions of all components of WordPress. It includes core software, themes, and plugins.
Many site owners don’t pay enough attention to updating their WordPress. The reasons may vary. The old version of WordPress has many bugs. It can cause your website to break down. Many hackers gain entry via outdated plugins. You have to update them regularly.
The latest versions contain security patches and higher functionality to support the latest plugins; So, you must enable WordPress automatic updates. It will help you to thwart any type of online attack.
10) Add Two Factor Authentication:
You can offer excellent security to your website visitors. Now, many sites offer two-factor authentication. Here, the user will have to use a username-password first; then, the user has to use a separate device or app to authenticate.
You can enable two-factor authentication by installing a Two-Factor Authentication Plugin. You will have to use an authentication app on your phone. These apps offer cloud backup, so your account login information will be safe in case the phone is lost or damaged.
WordPress offers you a free and great platform to power your site; WordPress is the first choice of the majority of website owners. But, WordPress is also known to be vulnerable to online threats.
You need to keep your site safe from all types of online attacks. In case your website gets infected, it will cause your business grave financial loss. There are many ways malware and hackers can wreak havoc on your site.
We have discussed some useful tips that will keep your WordPress site secure. They are free and easy to use. You need to follow them if you want enhanced security.
The most critical factor that dictates your WordPress security is the selection of the best hosting company. You have to choose a company that offers excellent protection to WordPress at a low cost. It will make your business prosper by adding an extra layer of security to your WordPress website.