WordPress is one of the most popular content management platforms in the world, with millions of users from corporations to bloggers utilizing the open-source software. There are endless amounts of resources across the internet to help you create anything you can imagine on a WordPress website. However, the popularity of WordPress also means it is the leader in the most hacked and infected websites on the internet.
That is why WordPress security is so important. There are many things you can do to help secure your WordPress website and avoid the headache and heartache of losing all of your hard work to a malicious attack. Today I’m covering 9 things you can do today if your WordPress website is not secure, or to further enhance the security of your WordPress website.
Create a strong and secure foundation for your website with secure WordPress web hosting through a company like Flywheel. Flywheel offer fully managed WordPress hosting and even take care of all WordPress security and backups for you. If your site does somehow get hacked while being hosted by Flywheel, they’ll fix it for you! How awesome is that?
Another great, secure hosting option is SiteGround. You can have peace of mind with automatic WordPress updates, a WordPress security plugin, and a custom firewall that patches vulnerabilities. In addition, SiteGround performs daily backups of your account and keeps up to 30 copies for you to access in the event of a malicious attack on your website.
As you will quickly learn, using outdated versions of WordPress, outdated plugins, and outdated PHP are some of the most common ways that hackers gain access to WordPress websites. Using outdated PHP can lead to vulnerabilities in your website. If you’re unsure of what version of PHP you’re using, you can use an online tool like Pingdom to check.
Astonishingly, one of the most common passwords people use on the internet is “123456”. Other combinations like “qwerty” and “password” are commonly used to avoid having to write down and remember passwords across the internet. However, this is a step you do not want to miss! You can use a password generator for free on many websites, like LastPass. LastPass is also a secure online tool that stores and manages your username and password combinations so you don’t have to write anything down or remember them! Always use a strong username and password combination, and you can avoid another security weakness in your WordPress website.
Update, update, update! This is one of the most important security steps you can take with your WordPress website. If you do not have secure WordPress hosting where WordPress updates are performed automatically for you, this is an extremely important step you cannot afford to miss. Always update your version of WordPress as quickly as possible. I set a reminder every week to go in and update my website and any client websites.
One of the easiest ways to stop malicious attacks is to relocate your login page from domain.com/wp-admin to something more obscure. There are a few different ways to relocate your login page, but one of the easiest ways is to use a plugin like WPS Hide or Perfmatters. Additionally, you can both track and stop many failed login attempts with a plugin like Login Lockdown.
In addition to relocating your admin login page, you can set up two-factor authentication for all logins. This offers a second level of protection against unauthorized logins on your website. To do this, you can add a plugin such as Google Authenticator or Two Factor Authentication.
Look at the URL of this blog post. Do you see a little padlock symbol before the URL? That means that this site is secured with an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is what give a website HTTPS instead of just HTTP in the URL.
Your WordPress website is not secure unless it has an SSL certificate. With secure WordPress hosting through SiteGround, you can have a free SSL certificate to run your website over HTTPS. Regardless of whether or not you are utilizing eCommerce, HTTPS is vital to ensuring a secure connection to your website. Beyond security, using HTTPS will allow you to have better SEO, credibility with your audience, and faster speed times.
In addition to protecting your website with secure WordPress web hosting, there are thousands of security plugins available in the WordPress marketplace that will secure your website. From reCAPTCHAs to malware scanning, there are many options to help stop malicious attacks. Consider using such security plugins as WordFence, which I have personally used on my site and client sites for years. There is a paid option for this plugin, but I have found the free version to be more than adequate for my WordPress security needs.
Without a fully managed web hosting service such as Flywheel, creating regular backups of your website is vital to preserving and protecting your website content. While steps 1-8 can help prevent attacks, nothing is 100% secure. If backups are not being performed automatically through your web hosting provider, be sure to manually perform regular backups to ensure your hard work is not lost. In the event that all other steps fail and your website is attacked, you will not lose what you are ultimately trying to protect.
Being the most hacked content management system, it’s vital that you take the necessary precautions to secure your WordPress website. If your WordPress website is not secure, you risk it being hacked, becoming infected with malware, and losing all your hard work which would be devastating for you and your clients.
Ultimately, there are people out there who wish to do harm to WordPress sites and if they’re intent on doing so, they’ll find a way. Taking the precautions listed above is a great way to maximize the security of your website and reduce the likelihood of malicious attacks.
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