The popularity of WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS) is undeniable. It’s the most widely used CMS in the world! WordPress offers numerous advantages and possible extensions (see our articles on Website Speed Optimization or Web Design with WordPress and Elementor). However, this popularity and attractiveness come at a price: it makes WordPress a prime target for hackers. Ensuring the security of your WordPress site and, by extension, avoiding security issues, is essential to protect your data, your users’ data, and to maintain your company’s reputation. Securing your WordPress site is a crucial step in its setup. Fortunately, several security measures can prevent hackers from accessing your WordPress database (WordPress plugins, security extensions, security practices, etc.). In this article, we will explore the basics of WordPress security and provide security tips to keep your site safe from common threats by properly securing your WordPress site.
1. Regular Updates
WordPress, like any other software, constantly evolves. Developers regularly release updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and, most importantly, patch security vulnerabilities. It’s routine work for the WordPress security team, fighting against attacks, and it greatly helps site owners protect their sites from potential security vulnerabilities. In this regard, you also have a role to play in ensuring your site’s security and making it harder for hackers to breach. Here’s how:
- WordPress Core: To keep malicious actors at bay, it is crucial to keep your WordPress up to date. If your site is up to date, you increase the security of both your users and yourself. Updating WordPress is, in a way, its fundamental use, and it is necessary for a functional site.
- Themes and Plugins: It’s not only updates to the core of WordPress that are essential for maintaining a high level of security; you also need to update themes and plugins. Outdated themes or plugins can be potential entry points for attacks. Ensure that you always have the latest versions of WordPress extensions installed for additional security.
2. Use Strong Passwords
This may seem obvious, but many sites are compromised due to weak passwords. Use long, complex, and unique passwords for your site. Avoid passwords like “admin” or “password123.” Utilize password generators or password managers to help you create and remember strong passwords. To enhance WordPress security, users can also avoid using the same password across all websites. Changing a digit in a password from one site to another is often not sufficient as a security fix, especially if the digit(s) are at the end. It’s an extremely predictable technique for web wrongdoers. Using a unique password helps enhance your site’s security because if one of your passwords is compromised on another web tool, it will have no impact on your WordPress platform. It’s one of the simplest and best security solutions!
3. Limit Login Attempts
Brute force attacks, where hackers try thousands of password combinations to access your site, are more common than you might think, especially with the rise of AI. By limiting the number of login attempts from a single IP address, you can easily counter these attacks. Plugins like “Limit Login Attempts” are among the most popular and can help you implement this additional protection. Controlling access to your site to prevent hackers from gaining entry adds an extra layer of security to WordPress.
4. Secure Your Site with SSL
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a technology that encrypts the connection between your site’s web server and the user’s browser. This ensures that all exchanged data, such as login information or credit card details, remains private. Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates. You’ll become proficient in securing a WordPress site and in web security by using this encryption, as well as by deploying a variety of security tools.
5. Choose Secure Hosting
You should know that not all hosting providers are equal in terms of security, far from it! Like any tool, you need to search for it with specific criteria that you need to familiarize yourself with in order to get the best and most secure version of WordPress possible. Look for hosting providers that offer:
- WordPress-specific firewalls for the best security updates and the most optimal WordPress version.
- Regular threat monitoring to reduce possible vulnerabilities of a website.
- Support or automated services to assist you in case of problems.
6. Regular Backups
In case of a successful attack or an issue with your site, it may seem obvious, but having made a recent backup is essential for restoring your WordPress website to its previous state. Schedule automatic backups, whether they are daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on how often your site is updated. Default WordPress settings can work for you without having to update your site manually, another advantage for WordPress users.
7. Limit User Permissions
If multiple people have access to your WordPress site, ensure that they have only the necessary permissions, nothing more. For example, a writer does not need to have administrator rights. If they have access to WordPress and the necessary WordPress files for their work, that’s sufficient and more secure. By limiting permissions, you reduce potential risks, keep hackers at bay, and secure your WordPress site like a pro.
8. Secure the wp-config.php File on WordPress Sites
The wp-config.php file is one of the most important files in your WordPress installation because it contains information about the database. How can you further enhance your site’s security and take one of the most important actions for your peace of mind? Move this file one level above your WordPress root directory or modify permissions to make it inaccessible. You’ll have more peace of mind afterward.
9. Use Security Plugins
There are numerous plugins dedicated to WordPress security. Plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri Security, or iThemes Security offer a range of features to protect your site against various threats. They are powerful and compatible with WordPress. Remember to update plugins and themes, as this can make a significant difference.
10. Regularly Monitor Your Site
Finally, stay vigilant. Regularly monitor your site’s activity, look for signs of intrusion or suspicious behavior, and respond promptly if necessary. Be aware that some fake customer accounts can bring their share of problems. This is a responsible way to use the tools at your disposal effectively and to ensure that security vulnerabilities are limited. You increase your level of protection, as well as the experience for future converts.
The protection of your WordPress site should never be taken lightly. Updating your site as well as themes and plugins, limiting access, and enhancing security (strong passwords, regular backups, monitoring, etc.) are often inexpensive techniques that require some investment in terms of time and costs but allow you to proactively protect your site against the majority of common threats. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Also, remember that security is an ongoing process, not a one-time task. In addition to all the new tools you will implement through your reading of this article, stay informed about the latest threats and best practices to ensure your online security. It is truly an evolving and continuous task, but one that is certainly worth it. Once well-adapted to today’s cybersecurity, WordPress can clearly be your best ally for all your website projects.