A lot of website owners are concerned about online security. The thought is, an open-source script can be vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. So, how do you secure your WordPress site?
Well, the thing is, WordPress has gained a bad rep for being prone to all kinds of security vulnerabilities and not being safe, especially for businesses.
In this post, we will be discussing 13 smart ways how you can secure your WordPress site. After you implement these tactics and conduct constant WordPress security checks, you will be on your way to a secure WordPress website for good.
Install a WordPress Security Plugins
It could be time-consuming to regularly check your website for malware unless you’re continuously updating your knowledge about coding practices. Furthermore, you might not even be aware that there’s already malware written in your code.
Although everyone isn’t a developer, you can still utilize the WordPress security plugins to help you out. A security plugin will take care of your site’s security, will scan your website for possible malware, and will monitor your site 24/7 to know what’s currently happening in your site.
Use Strong Credentials
What’s the usual tactic hackers will try to use when cracking your site? They’ll usually try to log in on your website backend using various password combinations.
So, if your site has weak credentials, then your site security could be at risk. Thus, don’t come up with a password that’s easy to guess.
Hackers can crack your password and access your site without the hassle. Hacking tools will also help them match your password. Some experts call it the brute force attack.
Instead, use a complex password, one that is made up of a variety of numbers, or even non-sensical letter combinations and special characters.
Whitelist IP Addresses With Dashboard Access
There will also be some circumstances specific IP addresses could access your dashboard. The process is also known as whitelisting and is rather effective.
Let’s cite the reasons why:
- You can choose who will access your dashboard. IPs are unique, so this is a great strategy if you work with a small team of users.
- Most IPs are difficult to replicate. Unless someone has access to your team’s computers, they can’t easily get through your website.
- It’s easy enough to implement. All you need to do is to add a few lines of code in your .htaccess file. The process is pretty straightforward.
Choose a Good Hosting Company
One of the best ways you can keep your site secure is to choose a hosting provider that offers multiple layers of security.
Although initially, it might be tempting enough to go with the cheapest hosting provider you can come across, don’t go with this route. Because according to Cheeky Monkey Web Hosting NZ, this could bring lots of headaches down the road.
Your data could be erased, and you could be redirecting your URL someplace else. Hence, paying more means that you’ll have a quality hosting company that offers you additional levels of security.
With a good WordPress hosting, you could also speed up your site significantly.
Switch Your Site to HTTPS
A HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS is a much more secure version of the HTTP.
Although initially, HTTPS is only used for sites that handle more sensitive information from customers, it has been increasingly common nowadays for all kinds of sites. Both WordPress and Google are even pushing for its implementation.
To switch your website to HTTPS, you first need an SSL/TLS certificate. This will tell browsers that you have a legitimate site and that your data is encrypted properly.
Limit Login Attempts
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of WordPress users make is to have an unlimited number of login attempts. Although this might help you remember your password, it gives hackers more chances to succeed with a brute force attack.
If you have unlimited login attempts, then it will only be a matter of time for them to find out what your login credentials are. That’s precisely why you should limit the number of login attempts.
Apart from that, changing your password regularly secures your site from any brute force attacks. Switching it every 2-3 months will ensure that you protect your site and making it more difficult for hackers to guess your current password.
Consider Automatic Core Updates
If you are still running an older version of WordPress, then it is possible that hackers already know your website’s security flaws. That’s precisely why WordPress is regularly updating its code to make it more secure to its users.
If a security flaw is detected, a new version will be rolled out. Considering automatic core updates will give you the latest and more secure version of WordPress.
Set Plugins and Themes to Update Automatically
Usually, most plugins and themes have to be updated manually. That’s because most of these updates will be released at different times for each theme or plugin.
However, if you are not the type who regularly does site maintenance, you could configure automatic updates so that everything stays updated in your site even without your constant intervention.
In data by WP White Security, 29 per cent of compromised WordPress sites were successfully hacked because of a security issue with a website theme. Furthermore, 22% were hacked because of an issue with their plugin.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
If you’re still not utilizing two-factor authentication, then you’re potentially missing out on one of the best security layers your site needs.
It usually involves an extra step in the login process, and although it might be quite bothersome, it is necessary.
The process usually involves a smartphone or any other device to successfully verify your login.
You first need to go to your WordPress site and enter your password and username as usual. Then, a unique code will be provided to your mobile device, which you need to input before logging in.
This lets you prove your identity by proving that you have access to something that’s yours, like a mobile phone or tablet.
Scan Your Site for Malware
Malware isn’t entirely new to WordPress. Still, it affects users’ sites every single day.
It’s specifically designed to penetrate your site, gaining unauthorized access to your files. This could be accidentally installed in a corrupted file, while certain ads contain malware.
Malware could steal your sensitive information, compromise your login, create spam, and hijack your computer at times. Mind you; some hackers use malware to launch Direct Denial of Service or DDoS attacks.
So scanning your site for possible malware and cleaning it regularly should be one of your top priorities.
Install Firewall on Your Computer
Although this is another extra step, the process is quite easy to do. Once you have your firewall installed, you’d be offering extra website protection against security breaches and hackers.
Backup Your Website
Backing up your site regularly is one of the simplest and perhaps one of the best ways you can protect your site at an event of a disaster.
If you have the most recent backup of your site, then it will be quite easy to restore it the way it was before it was hacked. This allows you to fix the problem and move on as quickly as you can.
At the same time, you also have to be smart about how you use and create these backups. Here are some helpful tips:
- Have more than one backup. A great rule of thumb is to have at least three recent backups at hand.
- Save your backups. Ideally, you should save your backup in various external locations like a physical hard drive or cloud storage.
- Set with a regular and consistent backup schedule. The frequency and timing are still up to you, of course, but there are plenty of great recommendations that you can follow.
Apart from sticking to a regular backup schedule, it’s also a smart move to build an extra backup of your site before you go on making any changes to it.
Let’s say that you’re implementing one of those security-enhancing techniques in your site. Make sure that you already have a ready backup with you just in case.
Set up a Site Lockdown Feature to Ban Users
A lockdown feature for several failed attempts will help you solve the problem of constant brute force attempts.
If there’s a hacking attempt using repetitive, wrong passwords, your site will be locked, and you’d be notified with this kind of unauthorized behaviour.
Wrapping it Up
Here’s the thing: If your website gets hacked, you could be spending hours (or days) trying to do damage control. At times, you might even permanently lose all your data.
Worse, the information of your customers could be compromised.
That’s why you need to put a lot of time and energy into making sure that this situation never happens. Otherwise, you could compromise your business, even your income trying to undo the damage.
Also published on Medium.