One reason why WordPress has remained the number one website design platform and Content Management System (CMS) is that its plugins and systems are regularly updated with the latest and most advanced security programs.
On the flip side, WordPress websites are the primary targets of cybercriminals.
Wordfence disclosed in its 2021 mid-year report that its firewall security program blocked 18.5 billion attempts to hack WordPress website passwords.
Yes, it can be a serious cause of concern when the number of attacks is almost 20 billion and we’re just halfway through the year. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your WordPress website.
You can continue to enjoy the benefits of running a business with a WordPress website as long as you follow the 8 essential security measures discussed in this article.
As An Open-Source CMS – Is WordPress Safe And Secure?
Sometimes being number 1 in the industry isn’t as great as you’d think. Everyone is gunning for you – and we’re not talking about the competing brands of CMS platforms.
We’re talking about hackers and cyber criminals who are aware that 43% of websites operating on the Internet are powered by WordPress.
The major selling point of WordPress is that it’s an open-source program which means it’s accessible to everyone and that the source code can be customized to suit the user’s needs.
The flexibility of the open-source program has allowed thousands of users to develop plugins designed to improve the functionality of a WordPress website. You’ll frequently get reminders from WordPress that updated versions of the current plugins used in your website are available for download.
This is where having an open-source CMS becomes a double-edged sword.
If you’re not consistent in complying with the upgrades to your website, then it becomes vulnerable to the potential threats of cyber-attacks.
It doesn’t matter what CMS you use – Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Wix, or WordPress. You’ll still be at risk of getting hacked. The advantage of WordPress is that you have more weapons to fight criminals.
8 Essential Security Tips To Secure Your WordPress Website
Upgrades to plugins, themes, and system templates are done by programmers to stay ahead of cybercriminals. While WordPress employs a team of high-level Internet security experts, the bad guys aren’t newbies or clueless about Information Technology.
The bad guys are knowledgeable in IT and have the competence and expertise to break down program codes. In time, they can easily figure out how to overwrite the programming language and hack through the defenses of your WordPress website.
Thus, the bad guys are banking on human error for the success of their nefarious cyber-criminal schemes. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Follow the 8 essential security tips we present below to secure your website from the clutches of hackers.
1. Commit to Updating Your Version of WordPress
Let’s start with the obvious one and that’s to make sure that your version of WordPress is updated – constantly. We know this is hard for busy entrepreneurs which is why we developed the Extreme WordPress care plans.
When you sign up for one of our affordable Extreme WordPress care plans, you could have these services included in your package.
- Regular monitoring and implementation of plugins, themes, and system updates;
- Daily site backups;
- Regular security scans;
- Database optimization;
- Spam cleanup;
- Uptime and security monitoring;
- Scan and fix broken links;
- Monthly analytics reports.
Let us unburden you of the task of taking care of your WordPress website.
We have the resources to keep your website running in optimal condition and safe from cyber-attacks 24/7 so you can sleep peacefully at night and reap the benefits of having a WordPress website managing your business on the Internet.
2. Protect Your WordPress Website with Multiple WordPress Security Plugins
Make life harder for hackers by adding more layers of security to your WordPress website.
You can find thousands of security plugins for your WordPress website that have unique security features. Choose security plugins that offer the following safeguards and protection controls:
- Regular scanning for malware;
- Daily scanning for infiltration/hacking attempts;
- Daily site backups;
- Site restoration feature;
- Altering suspicious source files;
- Removal of cookies and tracking software;
- URL hiding feature;
- Cache cleaning.
Lastly, always secure your website with a firewall.
You can find a do-it-all WordPress plugin such as SiteGround Security that has most of the features described above.
3. Sign Up for Secure Website Hosting Services
Before signing up for a web hosting service, learn more about the security features offered by each service provider.
Here are some of the essential security features that should be provided by a web host services provider:
- Availability of the latest software security;
- Daily backup of data;
- Free SSL certificate;
- Protection against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks;
- Monitoring/Tracking of suspicious activity in the network;
- Access to CDN (Content Delivery Network) global servers.
Take your time reviewing the quotations offered by the web host service providers. It’s easy to get enticed by friendly pricing but always consider the overall value of the package you’ll sign up for. Paying a bit more for extra website security features is a great investment.
4. Frequently Review and Update Your Log-in Procedures
One of the most important considerations in website security is your log-in procedure. Hackers know that the log-in procedure is a standard feature on many websites. If they get hold of your accounts, they’ll have access to your assets.
How do you fortify your log-in procedures?
- Require strong passwords – Avoid using obvious passwords such as birth dates, the names of children or pets, and anything that could easily be identified with you.
When creating passwords, include special characters such as #, @, and $; mix in a few capital letters and numbers.
- Include Two-Factor Authentication – 2FA will require the site user to verify his identity via 2 methods.
The first method could be entering the verification code sent to his phone. The second method could be by providing the answers to special questions such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?”
- Limit the number of login attempts – Don’t give the thieves too many opportunities to break into your account. Limit the log-in attempts to 2 and once the quota is reached, he won’t be able to try again after a few hours.
- Include a Captcha or a Puzzle – Captcha turns your 2FA into an MFA or Multi-factor Authentication system. It provides another layer of security that eats up more time for the hacker.
You can also include a series of puzzles such as “click the squares that have traffic lights”. They’re annoying but quite effective in discouraging cyber thieves.
Lastly, don’t stick to the same password. Change your password every few months. Download a password manager to make it easier for you to log into your accounts.
5. Set a Restriction on Website User Permissions
With WordPress, the site owner can assign accounts to users who each have different roles. Presently, WordPress has 6 types of roles for each user:
- Super Administrator
Each role is tasked to perform a list of responsibilities called “capabilities”. Examples of these capabilities include “to moderate comments” and “to publish posts”.
It’s nice to have people to help you manage your website but having multiple users increases the risk of having your site infiltrated. More users means more chances for a hacker to steal login credentials.
Limit the number of users who have access to your website. You can easily assign or designate key capabilities to a few roles by manipulating the “add” or “remove” functions.
6. Monitor User Activity
Even with the most meticulous hiring and selection process, you can’t be 100% sure – and you shouldn’t – that you chose the right people for your business. That’s why when it comes to running a business, a little bit of caution goes a long way.
Set up an activity log and frequently monitor the activities of the people who have access to your website.
You might have someone on your team who’s trying to change passwords, alter themes, or remove/add plug-ins without your knowledge. It’s also possible that a user is accessing websites that aren’t linked to your website.
In case you get hacked, an activity log will provide a history of the events on your website. This will make it easier to identify the cause of the hacking, the type of software used, and how to fix the situation.
7. Disable the WP Dashboard’s File Editing Feature
It’s also a good idea to think of worse-case situations where hackers have been able to break into your website.
If a hacker has gained access to your account, chances are the first place he will go to is the administrator’s dashboard. This is where the hacker will work to manipulate your files and take complete control of your website.
Thus, it’s a good idea to disable the account/file editing feature of the administrator dashboard.
Assume the worse thing has happened and a cyber-criminal has violated your security protocols. You have to make sure fail-safe systems are in place to prevent larger-scale damage to your website.
There are WordPress plugins that can help you disable the editing feature. Or ask your web designer to do this for you.
8. Secure Your Website with SSL Certificates
We hope you’re not with the 5%.
Google estimates that 95% of websites are covered by SSL certificates. Around 50% of these websites have upgraded to the higher version called TLS or Transport Layer Security.
Websites that don’t have SSL certificates will be flagged by Google as “Not Secure”, a clear signal to users to not patronize the website as their safety might be compromised.
SSL provides encryption for all information that’s transmitted from browser to server. No one knows what malicious software has been planted in the server of the website you’re visiting.
The encryption program of SSL ensures that user information cannot be intercepted and stolen by hackers.
If the web host service provider doesn’t include SSL certificates in the hosting package, go ahead and pay the extra charge for them. SSL or TSL certificates don’t cost much and won’t compare to the costs you’ll have to pay if your website gets hacked.
810 million websites can’t be wrong. WordPress is the best CMS platform in the market. You can be assured that you made the right decision when you chose WordPress to build your website.
However, even the best aren’t perfect. As the WordPress program goes through its evolution and series of innovations, it opens up holes in the defense that cybercriminals are quick to exploit.
Think of your brick-and-mortar business or your own home for that matter. You can hire the best architects, engineers, and security experts but design flaws will remain and the threat of becoming a crime scene will never go away.
You just have to put in time and invest in resources that will keep your WordPress safe from hackers.
Your best option is to sign up for one of our website maintenance packages and we’ll take care of your website for you. Give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll gladly discuss how our Extreme WordPress Care package can protect your website against malicious attacks.
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