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How to Secure Your WordPress Site? (WordPress Security Checklist)
Updated · Oct 25, 2023
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Did you know that 83% of the CMS-based websites hacked in 2017 were run in WordPress? Also, the Panama Papers leak incident, one of the largest data breaches in the history of journalists, resulted from a WordPress plugin vulnerability. News like these raise security concerns for WordPress website owners.
Unfortunately, even if you are not responsible for the security breach, Google can automatically blacklist your site with 10,000 others daily for malware. As a website owner, you must know how to secure your WordPress site from threats. The question is, how do you do that?
This article will teach you 11 ways to protect your WordPress website from security risks. Read on.
🔑 Key Takeaways
11 Ways To Secure WordPress Website From Hackers
30,000 websites are hacked globally every day. The Internet is never safe, so you need to be extremely cautious about securing your WordPress website from hackers and other potential threats.
Below are a few ways you can do that.
1. Updating WordPress and Plugins
One of the first things you must consider when protecting your WordPress website is keeping WordPress core and plugins updated. Hackers often target websites that are run on outdated versions as those are more likely to have unpatched vulnerabilities.
However, you can reduce the risk of cyberattacks by regularly updating your WordPress core and plugins. This method will protect your user’s data, help fix bugs, and improve your website functionality.
2. Employing Password Management
The next crucial step to follow when safeguarding your WordPress website is password management. Most website owners do not update passwords regularly, but this step is important to avoid unrecognized access.
Using weak passwords for your website makes it easier for hackers to access your site, so make sure that you’re always using strong passwords.
If you habitually use obvious usernames like “Admin” or “user,” you should stop doing that immediately. Some site owners also make the mistake of using predictable passwords like Password or 1234567. Such login credentials make your website vulnerable. Try to make your log-ins complicated and personal.
✅ Pro Tip
You should also consider utilizing two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of protection. 2FA is a type of multi-factor authentication that makes it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to log in to your site’s accounts.
Use the Wordfence Two-Factor Authentication plugin to activate the 2FA feature.
3. Limiting Login Attempts
Hackers try to gain unauthorized access to your website by repeatedly trying different username and password combinations. This is called a brute force attack.
However, you can stop hackers from launching a brute force attack by limiting your site’s login attempts. This method limits their chances of getting your login credentials right, thus securing your site.
4. Avoiding Free Themes and Plugins
Creating a website for small businesses is easy, as most small business owners use free themes and plugins. This is common. Some usually avail of free items due to financial constraints.
However, to protect your website from security threats, you should always avoid free themes and plugins. If you cannot avoid using one, always opt for trustworthy brands like Astra.
5. Using SSL
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a cryptographic protocol that provides secure communication over the Internet. Using SSL on your website guarantees that data transmitted between a user's browser and a website's server remains encrypted and secure. It helps protect all important data from being tampered or intercepted by malicious actors.
✅ Pro Tip
Many web hosting companies offer free SSL certificates with their web hosting packages. Check out with your web hosting provider if they offer one. If they do, grab your free SSL certificate right away.
6. Using Secure Hosting Providers Like AWS
Website security is vital in building a trustworthy online presence. This suggests the need for a web hosting provider that truly defends your website from potential attacks.
Choosing the right tool is crucial for every website owner. There are various web hosting providers in the market. Before choosing one, look into the features of each option. Get a reliable web hosting provider like AWS.
7. Changing The wp Prefix In The Database
Many WordPress experts suggest changing the WordPress database table prefix as a primary security measure.
Changing the default wp prefix makes accessing your website challenging for hackers and spammers. It will be tougher for them to guess your database table names. This also helps reduce SQL injection attacks.
Changing the wp prefix can be tricky, especially if you’re not a developer. If you want to alter your database’s wp prefix, contact someone who can assist you.
8. Disabling Theme and Plugin File Editing
If you are a company with multiple users, disable your Themes and Plugins File Editing option. This will prevent any unauthorized user from changing your themes or plugin files.
This method is crucial if you want to protect your site from accidental errors or malicious code injections. You can do it using a plugin or manually turning off the Themes and Plugins File Editing option.
9. .htaccess editing
The next thing you need to do is to edit your .htaccess file. This is a very popular way to enhance the security of your WordPress website.
When you edit the .htaccess file, you can easily take control of various aspects of your WordPress website at the server level. For example, you can disable php execution from the uploads folder. This action will prevent unwanted attempts to upload malicious files through compromised media files.
Other things that you can do:
- Block access to some countries
You can also restrict access to specific countries for your business. This action can reduce spam and prevent malicious activity. It also helps you stay focused on a specific set of audience.
- Redirect root directory
Another measure you can take to protect your website is to redirect all files that start with ”.Or ht(root directory)” to 403 error. Your root directory can contain important files like wp-configuration files, which should not be accessed by unauthorized individuals. By redirecting access to the root directory, you’re protecting your sensitive files from being manipulated.
- Restrict directory browsing
When you enable directory browsing, anyone who has access to your site can access the content of directories on your website’s server—-including your configuration files, backup files, and other sensitive information. Prohibiting directory browsing can keep all your files safe.
- Block XSS attacks and XML-RPC
XSS attacks may involve injecting malicious scripts into your web pages, while XML-RPC allows external applications to communicate with your site. Both features put your website at risk. To be on the safe side, block these features on your website.
Remember to allow access to your wp-admin area from the IP addresses that you use. Doing so will reduce any random attacks on your site.
10. Taking Measures While Creating Custom Themes
Sanitizing your website is an important step to protect your website from malicious attacks. Always clean and validate user-submitted data on your website.
Sometimes, you must create staging versions of themes, plugins, or websites. Most developers often create such versions on their WordPress websites.
If you need to delete the dev or staging versions once the site is live, avoid using staging version names like dev, dev1, dev2, or staging. Hackers can easily guess those names.
Besides, staging version plugins are never updated. If a plugin is compromised on the staging site, hackers can access the server and from there to the main site files in cpanel.
11. Regularly Scanning The Website Files For Viruses
Apart from the safety measures mentioned above, you must regularly scan your WordPress site files for viruses. 560,000 new malware are discovered daily, and websites are constantly at risk of attacks.
While it is not possible to scan all your files manually, there are a lot of security plugins (free and premium) that you can use. For example, you can use Sucuri, iThemes Security, or Wordfence. These plugins help you identify any unwanted elements in your website and protect your site from any form of security attacks.
In the age of digitalization, it is easy for websites to get hacked or infected by malware. When that happens, it’s not just that your business gets affected by it. You’re also putting your user’s sensitive data at stake.
As an entrepreneur, when you collect this information, it becomes your responsibility to protect it. That’s why securing your website becomes so important. And the above tips can help you do that. So do try them out.
📣 Special Note
The digital landscape is ever-evolving in nature, especially regarding website security. However, we are dedicated in our effort to offer effective solutions to protect websites from security breaches. We will continue to update this post and address new issues that may arise in the WordPress ecosystem.
FAQs on Securing WordPress Site.
What are the common security threats to WordPress websites?
810 million WordPress websites face security threats like brute force attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and plugin vulnerabilities. These threats can cause minor to severe damage to the site.
How often should I update WordPress, themes, and plugins for security?
Regularly. Keeping your website updated is crucial to patch security vulnerabilities. The most recommended frequency to update everything is twice a month.
What is two-factor authentication (2FA), and why should I enable it?
2FA lets you add an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification method. For example, a code will be sent to your phone or email to secure your login.
Your email address will not be published.