The Ultimate Cybersecurity Guide for WordPress Users

The Ultimate Cybersecurity Guide for WordPress Users


Accounting for almost 40% of the entire internet, WordPress is one of the biggest Content Management Systems (CMS) on the web. WordPress lets you build a fully functional website without having to deal with complex HTML and CSS code. With its user-friendly interface and broad support for plugins, WordPress is a real blessing for start-up entrepreneurs, freelancers, and bloggers. 

Whatever line of business you’re in, you can quickly learn WordPress via online tutorials and start promoting your products or services right away. There’s one massive concern with WordPress, though. WordPress is also known for being vulnerable to various security threats and generally an unsafe platform for business use. 

If you are serious about your site, you need to pay attention to WordPress security. In this article, we’ll be sharing tips, techniques, and strategies you can use to improve WordPress security and stay protected. Read on. 

Modify Default Settings

WordPress has a default structure for file and webpage names as well as storage paths. Unfortunately, this setup makes it easy for hackers to find critical files and pages to hack them. Changing these file names and paths so that only you would know how to find them will help keep your website secure from attackers. 

  1. Customize the login URL

The default WordPress URLs are www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin or www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php. Hackers can easily reach the admin login page and activate a brute force attack if you use the default URL. Always change your default URL to something unique. You can play around with the URL as much as you like. 

  1. Change your default user ID

You have the option to set the user ID to admin by default the first time you install WordPress on your website. In the event of a brute force attack, the hacker’s job becomes 50 percent easier as they only have to guess the password. Use a unique word or email address as your user ID to increase protection against brute force attacks. 

  1. Change the default table name

WordPress tables are a popular target for hackers. That’s where all the user information, login credentials, transaction details, etc., are stored. Change the default table prefix (wp-table) to something more unique to keep hackers from using bots to search and breach this database. 

  1. Shift your wp-config.php file

The wp-config.php file stores data about your site’s databases, authentication keys, configurations, and essential settings. By default, this file is stored in the root directory, where hackers can easily access it. That’s why you must move the wp-config.php file to a more secure location. 

Use Strong Passwords

The most common WordPress attacks use stolen passwords. However, you can make things a little more difficult for the attackers by using strong, unique passwords for your site. Download a password manager such as LastPass to generate and store strong passwords. Use strong passwords for your WP admin area and your hosting account, database, FTP accounts, and custom email address. 

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2-FA)

In addition to strong passwords, you can further harden the security of your WordPress site by activating the Two-Factor Authentication or 2-FA. Enabling 2-FA allows you to add a second layer of protection on top of your username and password. You can use the WP Google Authenticator to add an extra layer of security to your WordPress login page. 

Use A VPN to Secure Your Network

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are known for keeping users’ online activities private and anonymous, but that’s not all they are good for. They can also help keep your WordPress site secure. But what does a VPN do exactly? A VPN uses protocols and encryption to secure your network and protect sensitive data online so that only authorized parties can access it. In addition, a VPN protects your site by securing your network against threats such as malware, DDoS attacks, Wi-Fi attacks, spying, and more. 

Use SSL/HTTPS to Secure Data

Use an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol to encrypt data transfer between your website and user browser. SSL makes it extremely difficult for threat actors to sniff around and steal sensitive data. This protocol comes in the form of an SSL certificate that you can purchase from a hosting provider. Once you have SSL protocol in place, your website will start using HTTPS instead of HTTP. 

Limit Login Attempts

By default, WordPress lets users try to log in as many times as they want. If you forget your password/username, you have unlimited login attempts, so you don’t have to worry about getting locked out. But this also means that hackers have the same freedom, which creates a security risk. Fortunately, you can use plugins such as WP Limit Login Attempts to limit login attempts and secure your site. 

Automatically Log Out Idle Users

Automatically log out inactive users to protect your website. Someone who’s logged in can wander away from the screen, creating an opening for malicious actors to hijack their session. An attacker can access such accounts and use them to launch an attack. Install the Inactive Logout plugin and set it to log out inactive users automatically. 

Backup Your Website Regularly

One of the most effective ways to protect your site against malware and hacking attempts is to back up regularly. When you have a copy of your entire site’s data hidden someplace safe, you can swiftly restore your site to regular operation in the event of an attack such as ransomware. You can install a WordPress plugin for automatic backups, or you can do it manually.

Keep Your WordPress Up to Date 

Outdated software is one of the most prevalent exploits in the security landscape, and WordPress is no different. Since software updates come with new security patches, updating your WordPress reduces the risk of a successful attack. Minor WordPress updates will be installed automatically. However, users have to install major updates manually.

WordPress gets a bad rap for being vulnerable to online threats such as malware and hacking. However, that shouldn’t keep you from reaping all the benefits this CMS amazing platform has to offer for your business. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to harden your WordPress security and keep your business and your data safe from malicious actors.