Many website owners have complaints concerning WordPress security. They believe that the open-source script is at the risk of all sorts of attacks. Is that true? This guide will focus on the best tips and tricks on how to secure WordPress website. These top WordPress security tips will help you protect your website from malware and hackers.
The core WordPress software is pretty secure, and hundreds of developers audit the content management system regularly. Yet, Google blacklists over 10,000 websites every day for malware and about 50,000 websites every week for phishing. So, if you want to run your website without any problems, you must focus on the best practices for WordPress security. if you haven’t bought WordPress yet and looking to buy the hosting and plan, grab our latest WordPress coupon codes.
Need to Secure WordPress Website
It doesn’t take much time to build a WordPress website. You can make a WordPress website in 5 minutes with our simple and step-by-step guide. When a WordPress website gets hacked, it can have multiple negative implications. To begin with, your business revenue and reputation are at stake. Attackers gain access to your user information and passwords.
They can install malicious software and also distribute malware to your users. For websites that receive money in the form of payment or donations through WordPress plugins and contact forms, hackers can steal the money or divert it to another account. In the worst of cases, to regain access to your website, you will have to pay ransomware to the hackers.
Just like a business owner is responsible for his physical store and belongings, an online business owner is responsible for protecting the website.
Secure Your WordPress Website
The developers of WordPress regularly update the tool. As per the default settings of the open-source software, minor updates install automatically. But when it comes to major releases, you receive a notification to start the update.
Keep WordPress Updated
You can find the Updates tab in the Dashboard on the left-hand sidebar. As you visit this tab, you will see a list of Updates available for both WordPress and the plugins you use.
Moreover, you must be aware that there are thousands of themes and plugins on WordPress. You can install these on your website as per your requirement. There are thousands of best WordPress plugins for business available on the internet. These plugins and themes are owned and maintained by third-party developers. When the developers release an update for plugins and themes, you see a notification in the Updates and Plugins tab on the left-hand side Dashboard.
Visit the Plugins page. Under every plugin that has an update available, a notification will exist. Click on the ‘Update Now’ link to install the update.
It is crucial to update WordPress core, its themes and plugins from time to time. Failure to do so can impact the stability and security of your website. That’s why securing your WordPress website becomes a mandatory activity.
When you search for a hosting company, you will see that each one of them claim to provide an optimized environment for WordPress. But can you believe the claims of all the hosting companies?
If you carefully read the customer reviews of different hosting providers, you will notice how users share experiences and feedback for overall hosting quality and setups such as speed, reliability, security, and more.
Not all hosts can perform well under stress. If you have an average hosting provider, you will face low performance, frequent downtime, and increased hacker attacks. These are all outcomes of inadequate security mechanisms.
Now, there is no way you can fix or repair your host. The only thing you can do is switch to another hosting company which offers a more secure system. The higher price you pay, the better your host will be. Of course, there are some budget-friendly options as well, but whichever hosting company you select, make sure it is high-quality, reliable, and safe.
Strong Passwords & User Permissions
Most hackers steal your password to hack your WordPress website. You can secure WordPress website using stronger passwords. Make it a combination of letters, upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters. Do this for the WordPress admin area, FTP accounts, database, WordPress hosting account, and your domain-specific email addresses.
Generally, business owners don’t like the idea of using strong passwords. They find it confusing and difficult to remember. Luckily, you can now use a password manager and not hassle about remembering passwords.
The Password Manager plugin allows you to store multiple passwords in one place in the WordPress database. These passwords are in encrypted form, preventing others from seeing them. You can categorize different passwords, and with the support of advanced encryption standard AES – 128, you can define your encryption key when you install the plugin. Simply search for Password Manager on the plugins page and install it on your WordPress website.
If you have a team that needs the details for business updates, understand WordPress user roles and capabilities. WordPress allows you to add new user accounts and authors to the website, but these accounts have limited rights and access to confidential information.
If you happen to share your password with others and need to change it thereafter, log in to your WordPress account and click on Users under the Dashboard. Choose Your Profile.
Scroll down to the section for Account Management. You will see the option for New Password. Click on the button to ‘Generate Password’.
WordPress automatically generates a strong password. This password is a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
You should continue with this password but if you still wish, you can enter a password of your choice and click on ‘Update Profile’.
Protect WP-Config.php File
This is another important item in your list to secure WordPress website. An important file in your site’s root directory is wp-config.php. It contains crucial information, and you must protect it, to secure the core of your WordPress website.
If you protect the wp-config.php file, hackers cannot access it and therefore, they cannot easily breach the security of your WordPress website.
To protect the file, all you need to do is move the wp-config.php file to a level higher than your root directory.
Many website owners are scared to take this step since they feel that storing the file elsewhere will not let the server access it. However, the recent WordPress architecture is upgraded and has set the configuration file settings to the highest on the priority list. As a result, WordPress can continue to access the file even after you move it to a folder above the root directory.
Backups help in every situation. They are the best solution for any WordPress attack. With the help of the backup, you can quickly restore your WordPress website and not lose any important data.
WordPress provides several free and paid backup plugins like UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, WP Time Capsule, VaultPress, BackWPUp, Duplicator, and more. Just install any backup plugin and remember to take a backup of your website regularly. Do not use your hosting account to save the backup, use a remote location or cloud service instead.
SSL/HTTPS Secured Server
Many website owners avoid securing their website using SSL certificates since it costs close to a hundred dollars each year. However, SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is vital for the security of your WordPress website. SSL is a protocol which encrypts the data transfer between your website and the user’s browser. As a result, no one can hack your website’s content to steal information.
After you enable SSL, instead of HTTP, your website will use HTTPS and a padlock sign will appear on the left side of your website’s address in the browser.
You can download and install an SSL plugin like Really Simple SSL, SSL Zen, WP Force SSL & HTTPS SSL Redirect, Easy HTTPS Redirection (SSL), or others using the Plugins tab. Your hosting company might offer a free SSL certificate. Alternatively, you can purchase one from Domain.com.
Disabling File Editing
Users with admin access can edit any files under WordPress installation, such as themes and plugins. After you disable file editing, even if hackers can get admin access, these files cannot be modified.
You can disallow file editing by adding the following code to the wp-config.php file. Paste this code at the end of the file:
Limited Login Attempts
WordPress users are allowed as many login attempts as they want. This means that the website is vulnerable to brute force attacks. Hackers use different combinations to crack passwords and log in to your website.
If you want to avoid this, you need to restrict the number of failed login attempts a user can make. Web Application Firewall automatically takes care of the same. However, if you are not using the firewall, you can use the Login LockDown plugin.
Start by installing and activating the plugin from the Plugins tab under Dashboard. After it is activated, click on Settings and select Login LockDown.
Fill out the entries as per your requirements and click on Update Settings.
Two-factor Authentication Method
Another security measure that you can introduce to secure your WordPress website is two-factor authentication (2FA). This method requires users to first enter a username and password, and then authenticate using a different app or device.
You can decide the two components for which the user needs to enter login details. There are many options like a secret code, a secret question, a set of characters, or the more often used technique – the Google Authenticator app. This app sends a secret code to your phone. Since you have access to your phone, you can use this code to log in to the website after entering the password.
XML-RPC establishes a remote connection with your website, allowing you to use several publishing applications and tools. It connects your website with web and mobile apps. However, it also increases the risk of brute-force attacks.
In other words, if XML-RPC is disabled, a hacker will have to try 300 different passwords on the website. This means 300 distinct login attempts which the Login LockDown plugin will catch and block.
But when XML-RPC is enabled, a hacker can try thousands of passwords in 25 to 50 attempts, using the system.multicall function.
Therefore, it is recommended that you disable XML-RPC on your website. To understand the process for the same, you can refer to our guide on How to Disable XMLRPC.PHP on WordPress in 2 Simple Steps.
Have you ever been logged out of your banking or financial sites when you leave them idle for a few minutes? You can introduce the same security technique on your WordPress website.
When logged in users leave the screen and there’s inactivity, attackers can hijack the session. They can modify personal information, change passwords, or pose other security risks.
To combat this, simply install and activate the Inactive Logout plugin. After you activate the same, click on Settings and select the plugin from the dropdown menu.
You will be asked to fill in fields like Idle Timeout and Idle Message Content. Click on Save Changes to store your settings and successfully use the functionality.
Strong Security Questions for Login
Users generally enter the Username and Password on the WordPress login screen. You can also add the field for a Security Question, making it difficult for hackers to obtain unauthorized access.
To do so, install and activate the WP Security Questions plugin. Next, click on Settings and select the plugin to alter the settings as per your requirement.
You can select from the existing security questions or add as per your choice. Moreover, you can remove or edit the existing list. After that, you will see the options to determine where you want to see these questions – Login Screen, Register Screen, or Forgot Password Screen.
Fill out all the required fields and click on Save Setting. The login screen will now have more fields than just the Username and Password.
We know that beginners feel terrified when they think about taking steps to improve WordPress security. This fear is more so the case if you are not well versed with coding and the techy world. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many website owners feel that way.
Nonetheless, the steps mentioned above are simple to apply, and thousands of WordPress users have benefitted from the same. Using the step you find suitable for yourself, you can easily harden WordPress security and enjoy using your website without the worry of attacks and hacks.
We hope that these tips on how to secure WordPress website are beneficial for you and will keep your website secured. Share this article on social media and share it with more WordPress users.