WordPress Website Security: Easy Ways Keep Your Site Safe from Hackers
WordPress has developed a bit of a reputation for poor security; an astonishing 90% of websites hacked are WordPress sites. However, the platform also powers over 40% of all websites on the internet, putting it head and shoulders above the next closest competitors.
The problem isn’t with WordPress; it has all the tools necessary to produce highly secure websites and is used by some of the world’s largest companies, including Bloomberg, Disney, and Sony.
The issue is that many WordPress users fail to implement basic security practices that help keep their websites safe from online threats. To help ensure your website doesn’t fall into that category, here are some ways you can boost the security of your WordPress site.
Invest in Secure WordPress Hosting
Before you work on securing your WordPress site, you should first make sure you enlist a secure hosting service. Investing in protecting your WordPress site can only go so far if hackers can exploit vulnerabilities through your hosting provider.
Choose a high-quality host you can trust, one that offers multiple layers of security; this not only helps secure your website, but a good web host can also improve your website speed.
Always Use the Latest Version of WordPress, Plugins, and Themes (And Avoid Nulled Themes)
There are many reasons businesses choose to continue running outdated versions of WordPress, plugins, and themes. They may be concerned about downtime, incompatible plugins, or simply don’t see why their website needs to be updated at all – if it’s not broken, why fix it?
Unfortunately for those individuals, running outdated software is one of the leading causes of WordPress website hacks.
According to Wordfence, a top-ranking WordPress security plugin, 55.9% of WordPress website hacks are directly related to outdated plugins. Including websites exploited because they were running older versions of WordPress and outdated themes, simply keeping your software up to date can provide protection from nearly 70% of website vulnerabilities.
Software that is no longer supported because it is out of date is a big problem; however, an even more dangerous issue is the use of nulled themes and plugins. Looking to save a few bucks, some businesses, either intentionally or not, opt to go with nulled or cracked versions of premium WordPress themes and plugins. Not only is the practice technically illegal, but you are opening your website up to potentially malicious code.
When it comes to themes and plugins, you get what you pay for. Real WordPress themes are designed by skilled developers and offer an exceptional look and feel to your website. They are also regularly updated and monitored for security issues.
However, there are some great free plugin options out there. WordPress itself has thousands of free-to-use plugins and themes, but if you are going to use them, make sure they come from a source you trust.
Install a WordPress Security Plugin
Speaking of plugins, there are a few that every website should take advantage of. One of them is a WordPress security plugin.
Even for someone with the know-how to do it, regularly scanning a website for vulnerabilities or malware is time-consuming work. For this reason, a WordPress security plugin is a must-have. Sucuri Security, Wordfence Security, and iThemes Security are all highly rated WordPress security plugin options. They offer a variety of free and premium paid services that can protect your website against online threats.
These plugins feature 24/7 website security and can also scan for malware, deliver real-time live traffic and analytics monitoring, create IP blacklists, send security notifications, provide brute force protection, and offer firewall protection.
Secure Your Login Procedures Against Malicious Login Attempts
A good way to protect your website from nefarious entities is by making it more difficult for them to access it in the first place.
Create a Strong Password
Using a strong password is a simple yet highly effective way to help secure your website from online threats. Yet, an astonishing number of people rely on weak passwords that even a moderately skilled hacker could crack in seconds.
A password like “password123” might be easy to remember, but it’s also very easy to guess. Instead, choose something that includes a mix of alpha and numerical characters and symbols and incorporates both upper- and lower-case letters. If you are low on ideas, WordPress has plugins that can generate secure passwords for you.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication requires users to verify their sign-in with a second device, typically via mobile text message. This tool is extremely effective in preventing brute-force attacks and securing your login; even if a hacker could guess your password, it’s highly unlikely that they would also have your mobile phone.
Rename Your User Account
When you call your admin account “admin” it gives hackers a perfect target for forced login attempts. Simply choosing another username for your administrator account can go a long way in protecting your website. If you have already named your user account admin, you can create a new admin user with a better name and delete the old one.
Limit Login Attempts
The default WordPress settings allow for an unlimited number of account login attempts. While this is great when trying to type in complicated passwords, it also presents an opportunity for brute force hacks.
Several WordPress plugins allow you to block an account after a set number of login attempts, choose lockout durations, and even create IP whitelists and blacklists.
Use HTTPS for Encrypted Connections – SSL Certificate
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) ensures that all data passing between your website and a user’s browser is encrypted rather than shared with plain text. This makes information much more difficult for potential hackers to read and provides an extra layer of security. An SSL certificate is a must-have for websites that process payments; however, it also offers several benefits beyond securing sensitive information on eCommerce sites.
Google has disclosed that HTTPS is a factor it considers when producing search results. While it may not be a core feature of your SEO strategy, an SSL certificate may help boost your business’ SERP ranking. HTTPS also makes your website appear more credible, increasing the number of visitors to your site, as well as user engagement.
Security is crucial to your website and, very often, it’s simple maintenance issues that lead to vulnerabilities that hackers can then exploit. If you need help building a secure website or are looking for security solutions for your existing WordPress site, the experienced team at Nirvana can get it done. We understand the importance cyber security plays for your users and your livelihood; we make sure both are protected from online threats so you can spend more time focusing on growing your business.