As the world’s most popular website builder powering 35% of the internet in 2020, WordPress can face security issues and is vulnerable to hacking attempts. In fact, according to statistics from more than 40,000 WordPress websites, over 70% of WordPress installations are susceptible to cybercriminal activity.
It’s not just WordPress under threat. Each website on the internet is vulnerable to the malicious intentions of hackers. Listed below are some actionable tips that you should employ to ensure maximum WordPress security.
1. Employ Secure Web Hosting
Just like other websites, WordPress sites are all hosted on a web server. Unfortunately, not all hosting companies secure their hosting platforms; making it simple got hackers to infiltrate your site.
Be sure to research and choose the best WordPress hosting provider that will block the most common attacks and keep your site safe.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Research shows that as many as 65% of people reuse passwords across various accounts, if not all. This is despite the fact that 91% of people understand the risks associated with using the same password over and over again.
Furthermore, 23 million account holders use the password “123456” as their password.
Stealing passwords is the oldest trick in the book for cybercriminals.
It’s crucial to use strong and unique passwords as they are the key to your WordPress site. Failure to do so could give hackers access to:
- Your WordPress admin account
- FTP accounts
- Web hosting admin account
- The MySQL database for your WordPress site
- Email accounts used for WordPress hosting or admin account
As mentioned, easy-to-remember passwords such as your pet’s name or your partner’s birthday are often easy to crack. Not to mention, this type of information is readily available on most people’s social media accounts.
Use a password generator that will create original and powerful passwords combining letters, numbers, and symbols.
We also strongly recommend you use WordPress two-factor authentication plugins to bring your security up a notch.
3. Keep WordPress Updated
By not updating your WordPress website, you are intentionally allowing it to be vulnerable. With every update comes a new set of bug fixes that will secure your site against the latest threats.
If you fear that your WordPress site will break when updated, you can simply back it up. Even if something doesn’t work, you will be able to go back to the previous version.
4. Mask Your WordPress Version Number
One of the biggest security blunders that not many WordPress users are aware of is the fact that anyone is able to view your WordPress version number just by checking out your sites’ source code.
It should be noted that your version number is an incredibly useful piece of information for cybercriminals.
As soon as a hacker gets their hands on your WordPress source code, they can adapt their attack to it.
There is also the option to go around this problem manually. You can modify your functions.php file so that your WordPress version number doesn’t come up in places such as your RSS feed.
5. Stop Using Admin as your WordPress Username
It is common knowledge for everyone the default name for your WordPress username, and we highly suggest changing it. Attackers are well aware of this, and it will almost always be their first attempt at breaking into your site.
6. Don’t use Nulled Themes and Plugins
Downloading nulled plugins or themes from unreliable sources is incredibly dangerous. It can compromise your site’s security as well as lead to cyber criminals getting their hands on your sensitive information.
If you don’t want to pay for your themes and plugins, there are always free options you can choose from. Granted, they might not be as effective as the paid versions, but they do work, and ultimately will keep your site safe.
7. Limit Your Login Attempts
Cybercrime has drastically evolved throughout the years. The truth is, there is no need to sit in front of a computer screen for hours at a time anymore to initiate an attack.
Today, hackers initiate digital attacks by designing bots that use sophisticated programs to inject malware and infiltrate your systems.
By using bots, hackers are able to continuously attempt to log in to your account and gain access to your sensitive information.
Luckily, there are security plugins to choose from that limit your login attempts. This means when the limit is exceeded, it will block any efforts from any shady IP addresses from using your login page for a certain amount of time.
8. Change Your WordPress Site from “HTTP” to “HTTPS”
Many online users are now aware that they should be using “HTTPS” sites, and you don’t want to lose potential clients as well as their security by using an “HTTP” site.
To create a secure online experience for your target audience, you will want to switch to an “HTTPS” site as soon as possible. This will set you back around $2-$20 per year, and some hosting companies might even give you an SSL certificate free of charge.
9. Hide Your Username from Your WordPress URL
Another popular way for hackers to gain access to your WordPress account is to find out your username from the author archive in your WordPress URL.
You may not have noticed this, but WordPress displays your username by default in the URL of your URL. For example, if your username is MaryBlogz, your author archive URL might look something like this: http://yoursite.com/author/maryblogz
Obviously, this is not an ideal situation for the same reasons as having admin for your username isn’t smart in terms of WordPress security.
10. Remove any Possible Backdoors
Cybercriminals will typically add backdoors to your server if they manage to hack your site. Backdoors are malicious scripts that allow hackers to gain access to your device instantly.
The problem is that sometimes these backdoors are located in a completely different directory from your WordPress site. This means you will need to scan your entire web root directory tree in order to uncover them.
You should be able to find the full path for your webroot located on your hosting panel. It is typically named something like “public-html” or “web data.”
The good news is that some hosting companies offer a simple scanning process. In fact, they can sometimes provide a tool that can scan your directories straight from the admin panel.
11. Back-up Your Website
Backup your website frequently, so that you won’t bother much about data loss or your website being hacked.
A website backup equals saving all data and files related to your website (themes and plugins included). A back-up allows you to revert to the previously saved version.
Obviously, securing your WordPress site is a mammoth task, but it is one that needs to be done. Remember that your WordPress site’s security is only as strong as its weakest link.
Not only can a hacked WordPress site result in business revenue losses, but it can also cause irrevocable damage to your company’s reputation.
Taking into account any or all of these steps will significantly influence how secure your WordPress site is. Remember to use strong and unique passwords, backup your WordPress site regularly, and use two-factor authentication to ensure greater protection. It’s also helpful to use a VPN to add security to your workflow.
Take charge and make the necessary changes to secure your WordPress site today, or let our friends from WP Tech Support improve your site security.
Marija is an Aussie native living in sunny Croatia. She spends her days writing about all things IT for various online publications including WP Tech Support. When she's not writing, she can be found spending time in the outdoors with her family.