WordPress Site Security Measures
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), with 43.2% of all websites running on its software. Unfortunately, its popularity draws all types of hackers who abuse the platform’s security flaws.
This doesn’t mean that WordPress has a terrible security system – security breaches can also happen due to the users’ lack of security awareness. Therefore, it’s best to apply precautionary security measures before your website becomes a hacker target.
We will discuss 22 methods to improve WordPress security and protect your site from various cyberattacks. The article will include best practices and tips – with or without WordPress plugins. Some methods are also applicable to other platforms than WordPress.
Why Secure Your WordPress?
If your WordPress website gets hacked, you run the risk of losing crucial data, assets, and credibility. In addition, these security vulnerabilities might compromise your customers’ personal data and billing information.
The cost of cybercrime damages might reach up to $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Surely you don’t want to become a hacker target and contribute to that.
Based on WPScan Vulnerability Database, the following are some of the most prevalent types of WordPress security vulnerabilities:
- Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) — causes the user to undertake undesired activities in a trusted online application.
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack — incapacitates online services by flooding them with unsolicited connections, thereby leaving a site unreachable.
- Authentication bypass — offers hackers access to your website’s resources without confirming their validity.
- SQL injection (SQLi) – causes the system to perform malicious SQL queries and modify data within the database.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) — injects malicious code that converts the site into a transporter of malware.
- Local file inclusion (LFI) — compels the site into processing malicious files put on the web server.
Punch List for Securing Your WordPress Site
Keep a list you can routinely check and apply.
- Keep your site up to date.
- Use secure wp-admin login credentials.
- Set up safelist and blocklist for the admin page.
- Use a trusted WordPress theme.
- Install an SSL certificate for a secure data transfer.
- Remove unneeded WordPress themes and plugins.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
- Create backups routinely.
- Limit the number of unsuccessful login attempts.
- Change your WordPress login page URL.
- Automatically log out idle users.
- Monitor user activities.
- Regularly examine your site for malware.
- Disable the PHP error reporting function.
- Migrate to a more secure web host.
- Disable file editing.
- Use .htaccess to prevent PHP file execution and safeguard the wp-config.php file.
- Change the usual WordPress database prefix.
- Disable the XML-RPC functionality.
- Hide your WordPress version.
- Restrict hotlinking from other websites.
- Manage file and folder permissions.
Best Practices for Protecting Your Website
1. Keep your WordPress version regularly updated
WordPress provides frequent software upgrades to enhance speed and security. These upgrades help defend your site from cyber assaults.
Updating your WordPress version is one of the simplest methods to increase WordPress security. However, approximately 50% of WordPress sites are operating on an older WordPress version, leaving them more susceptible.
To verify whether you have the newest WordPress version, log in to your WordPress admin area and browse to Dashboard → Updates on the left menu panel. If it reveals that your version is not up to current, we recommend updating it as soon as possible.
Keep an eye on the future update release dates to ensure your site won’t run an outdated WordPress version.
We also advise updating the themes and plugins installed on your WordPress site. Outdated themes and plugins may conflict with the newly updated WordPress core software, causing errors and being prone to security threats.
2. Use secure wp-admin passwords
One of the most common mistakes people make is using easy-to-guess usernames, such as “admin”, “administrator”, or “test”. This puts your site at a larger risk of brute-force attacks. Moreover, attackers also employ this form of attack to target WordPress sites that don’t have secure passwords.
Consequently, it is advisable to make your username and password more complicated and unique.
Incorporate numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters into your password. It is also highly recommended to use more than 12 characters as longer passwords are considerably tougher to guess.
3. Install a WordPress Security Plugin
Your website is shielded against viruses, hacking attempts, and brute-force attacks by a WordPress security plugin. For your WordPress site, security plugins are intended to both stop assaults and give detailed security information.