Wordpress security tips

A Comprehensive Guide to WordPress Security-Top 12 WP Security Tips

We all understand the significance of website safety, and that’s why security is a major concern for most website owners. WordPress, being the most popular and open-source CMS, is prone to hackers’ attacks. Therefore it’s crucial to take appropriate safety measures in order to be prepared and secure the WordPress site.

Despite the fact that WordPress includes built-in security features, security breaches might occur due to a lack of security awareness. 

If you are concerned about the security of your website, you are not alone. Don’t worry.

There are plenty of defense tactics that you can do to enhance the security two folds and prevent your site from becoming a hacker’s treat.

If you are facing security concerns or simply want to know about security precautions, go through the blog till the end to learn the top security tips. 

The below suggested actionable security tips will assist you in protecting your WordPress site against security vulnerabilities, even if you are not a technical expert.

Let’s get started.

Why is security a major concern?

Website data is the key to success, and therefore the data needs to be secure. If you are running a business online, it is vital that you pay close attention to website security to prevent security issues.

As per the studies, thousands of websites are hacked every day, and you and we can be the hackers’ next target. 

WordPress is an open-source CMS allowing anyone to easily access and study the code. Hackers are proactively using this opportunity to find security vulnerabilities and accomplish their wrong deeds.

Despite being a secure platform, if you overlook site security, hackers can steal essential website data, user information, and passwords, install malicious software, and even spread malware to your users. This can have a significant impact on business in a variety of ways.

To begin with, Google did not prefer an insecure and hacked website. Second, you lose credibility and customer trust, thus impacting your reputation, visibility, and growth. This ultimately brings your business to a halt and results in revenue loss.

Therefore, if you are not paying attention to your WordPress security, chances are you might get hacked. Website security is a major concern for most website owners, and luckily, you can take plenty of steps to protect your WordPress website.

But before learning the website safety measures, let us help you understand the common security problems.

The major WordPress Security Issue.

Overlooking WordPress security can put your website at risk. Wondering what can be the security concerns with WordPress? 

Let’s go over some most common types of WordPress security issues.

1. Brute-Force Login Attempts

It is the most basic type of cyber attack in which a hacker utilizes trial and error to guess the correct password. He enters multiple combinations of usernames and passwords and ultimately uncovers the fitting credentials.

2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

In this cyber attack, hackers “inject” malicious attacks into the targeted website and turn it into a transporter to pull out the site’s data.

3. Database/SQL Injections

In this cyber attack, hackers submit malicious code to a website through user input methods such as an application or contact form, which is then stored in its database. This attack enables hackers to extract sensitive data, modify the information in the database, interfere with administrative operations, and more.

4.Denial-of-Service Attacks.

The DoS attack is another common cyber-attack that prevents website owners from accessing their websites. In this attack, hackers flood the servers or network with an enormous traffic, causing them to crash and become inaccessible. 

5. Backdoors

A backdoor is another typical cyber attack where a hacker uses a file containing code to bypass the standard WordPress login and access the website effortlessly.

6. Phishing

Phishing is another common cyber attack where the hackers pretend to be a trusted entity and entice its target to share personal and sensitive data such as credentials and card details or to download malware into their systems to accomplish their missions.

7. Other common causes

In addition to all the above cyber attacks, the other common ways that enable hackers to get into your WordPress sites are using outdated WordPress versions, plugins, and themes. Also, incompatible plugins and themes are other common ways for hackers to security breaches.

Best 15 ways to secure a WordPress site.

Now that you have gone through the major WordPress security concerns let us outline how you can prevent them. Learning security tips can benefit website owners. It allows you to increase website safety twofold and prevent and reduce WordPress security breaches.

Here are the best ways to secure a WordPress site. 

Let’s get started.

1. Implement SSL

The most basic and essential step to secure a website is using SSL. SSL refers to Secure Socket Layer certificates, which are used to secure the connection between your website and the user’s browser. 

This ensures that the data transmission between you and your user remains private and secure and prevents hackers from accessing or stealing the data.

Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates along with their hosting services.

Once you enable SSL for your site, your website URL will use HTTPS instead of HTTP and display a secure padlock symbol. 

This will not only secure your connections but will also provide you with SEO benefits.

2. Secure login methods.

After installing the SSL, ensure your login methods are protected against malicious login attempts. This is the primary security approach to protect your WordPress site. Here are the multiple methods to secure your login methods. 

1. Create Strong Passwords

We all want to remember our credentials and therefore use easy-to-remember and simple passwords. Beware, a weak password can put your whole website, as well as your users, at risk. Ensure that all your passwords are hard to guess and strong enough to protect your website from hackers’ attacks. 

While generating a password, ensure to make it at least eight characters long and include letters(both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.

2. Enable two-factor authentication: 

 Two-factor authentication is another simplest way to protect your website login, which adds an additional security layer and requires login verification from another device. For instance, mandating approval via a code sent on your mobile or email or using an authenticator app. 

This prohibits hackers from gaining access to your website even if they have your password.

3. Limit Login Attempts.

Next, protect your login methods by restricting login attempts. You can do this by using a plugin (Limit Login Attempts Reloaded) or adding a custom code. This will enable you to limit the number of times an individual can enter a password on your site to log into your website. This will prevent the brute-force attack and lock out the individuals on your site attempting multiple failed attempts.

4. Change the default username “admin”: 

Using WordPress’s default username, “Admin,” is another mistake that can lead to easy security breaches such as brute force attacks and social engineering scams. The “Admin” username is easy to guess and can give easy access to hackers.

Make sure to use a unique username along with creating a strong password to make it difficult for hackers to crack the credentials.

5. Add a captcha: 

Another login protection is using a captcha, which adds an additional safety layer to your website login. A captcha is a challenging input that requires you to verify yourself as a human to prevent your site from cyber automation attacks. For implementing a captcha, you can use a plugin, ‘reCaptcha.’

6. Hide Your WP-Admin Login Page

Hiding your WordPress login page can be a great move to prevent hackers from locating your website login.

This is because, by default, we can easily access most WP login pages simply by using “/wp-admin” or “/wp-login.php” at the end of the website URL. This enables hackers to easily navigate your login page and attempt to log in by guessing your username and password.

You can use a plugin like WPS Hide Login to hide your login page and prevent hackers from accessing it.

7. Activate auto logout. 

Leaving a screen active can lead to security risks. You probably don’t want people to spy on your website account and make changes in your absence. You can prevent this by using an Inactive Logout plugin and enabling auto-logout. 

3. Use WordPress Security Plugins

Plugins are great assets to ease your manual work and prevent your sites from cyberattacks. There are multiple potential and valuable plugins in the market that quickly adds useful security features to your site and reduce your website’s security concerns. 

Here are some of the most favored security plugins: 

  • Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan
  • All In One WP Security & Firewall
  • iThemes Security
  • Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth

4. Always keep your WordPress up-to-date. 

WordPress releases core updates from time to time to patch security vulnerabilities. Using an outdated WordPress version exposes you to a greater security risk, as outdated versions include well-known security risks that can provide hackers with a way to hack your site.

That is why it’s vital to use the latest WordPress version and prevent the security and stability of your website.  

In addition, WordPress Plugins and themes are also updated from time to time. Therefore it’s also crucial to use their latest versions. 

Note: Before updating anything, make sure to take a backup of your site and check that all your plugins and themes are compatible with your WordPress version.  

5. Run Frequent Backups.

The most vital approach for website security is to take backups frequently. Keeping regular backups of your complete site at a distant location will enable you to keep your site’s data secure.

In case of any mishap or a WordPress hack, backups allow you to quickly restore your site’s data and keep everything back on track.

There are plenty of backup plugins, such as UpdraftPlus, Jetpack Backups, and BlogVault, that you can use to keep your website data safe.

6. Use the latest PHP version.

Using outdated PHP versions might pose a risk to your website’s security. In order to keep your WordPress site up-to-date and prevent security breaches, you must use the latest PHP version. 

7. Disable XML-RPC.

In WordPress,  XML-RPC is a protocol that allows WordPress to interact with external web and mobile applications. This protocol is valuable for software clients, but most WordPress users don’t need this functionality.

Despite being valuable to some users, XML-RPC is vulnerable and can put your websites at risk. Hackers can use this file to remotely access your website, inject malicious code, and perform brute-force login attempts in order to gain control of your site. 

Therefore, it’s vital to disable XML-RPC to prevent security issues on your site by disabling XML-RPC by using a plugin like Wordfence or deleting the file from your server.

8. Harden the wp-config.php file

The wp-config.php file in WordPress contains sensitive details about your website, such as WordPress database information, WordPress security keys, and more that are crucial for your website.

Therefore it’s vital to secure them against hackers’ reach. To keep your website stable and secure, head to your .htaccess file to protect your wp-config.php file and harden your website.

9. Use a Firewall.

One of the easiest and most valuable steps you can take to enhance your website security is to use Firewall.

It’s a cloud-based security system that blocks all hacking activities and malicious traffic, such as DDoS attacks, before it reaches your website.

A firewall can be implemented at the DNS level, or you can use firewall plugins such as Sucuri or Cloudflare.

These are valuable in detecting and filtering out suspicious traffic before reaching your servers or website.

10. Use secure hosting services.

Your hosting services also play a vital role in your website security. Using insecure and unreliable hosting can put your entire at risk.

In shared hosting, the server resources are shared between multiple users, which enhances the chance of transmission of malware. You can use managed server hosting, which provides you with multiple security benefits.

A good web host provides a secure hosting environment and keeps your server software, hardware, and PHP version up to date to prevent security breaches. They take appropriate security measures to monitor their network for suspicious activity and prevent large-scale DDOS attacks and other security infringements. Also, they offer automatic updates and backups and advanced security configurations to protect your website.

Therefore it’s vital to choose a secure and supportive web host that can help you in protecting your website.

11. Change WordPress Database Prefix

By default, the files of your WordPress database start with wp_ as the prefix, which makes it easier for the hacker to guess it and inject malicious codes to interfere with your website’s security. You can simply prevent it by changing the default prefix name. You can edit the file name only if you are comfortable with coding skills or simply use a plugin to ease your process.

You must be careful while making the changes because the database stores all your important content, and a misconfiguration would crash your website. 

12. Conduct regular site audits

Despite employing security plugins and implementing all necessary security precautions, you must do regular site audits to doubly ensure that everything is running properly. 

This will assist you in identifying flaws and vulnerabilities and correcting them as soon as possible.

What to do if your site gets hacked?

A hacked website can demoralize anyone, but don’t freak out. Here’s how you can fix a hacked website.

If you detect anything unusual and suspect that your website has been hacked, the first step is to remain cool and handle the issue wisely. Turn on the maintenance mode and restrict access to your website to keep your consumers away from the hack. Next, change all of your passwords to prevent additional modifications to your site and force-logout all users. Then, conduct a security scan to detect the problem and take appropriate action. If you detect the problem, correct it immediately and restore your most recent backup. If you aren’t tech-savvy or the problem goes unnoticed, seek professional assistance and resolve it as soon as possible. Once fixed, change the passwords again and follow the above security tips to prevent further cyber attacks. 

Be sure to keep your website secure!

With the rising technologies, cyber attackers are also developing new ways to accomplish their goals. Therefore it’s critical for each one of us to keep our website security a priority and take the appropriate and additional steps to secure our website. 

Leaving your website security unnoticed invites risks for your website data which can hamper you as well as your users. But fortunately, keeping a website secure doesn’t require technical expertise. Learn these effective security measures to prepare your website beforehand and mitigate security risks.

Although nothing is 100% secure, implementing the right security strategies at the right time can prevent security issues and keep hackers from intruding on your site.

Hope the actionable steps we have discussed here have assisted you in learning website safety and enabled you to secure your WordPress website effortlessly.

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