There’s nothing worse than jumping into business on a busy day and finding out your website has been hacked! Now with everything else on your plate, you’ve got to sort out the website mess before you lose any more revenue.
I recall a (grim) morning a few years back in one of my local home service businesses. I was in business dealing with operations when one of my office staff said “we haven’t had many calls all morning”. This was followed up a few minutes later by “omg what happened to the website”.
I took a look at the website and found some radical islamic content loading and autoplaying sound. We had been hacked. What a nightmare.
How much money did this cost us? We had spent over $1,000 on ads that morning, not to mention the organic traffic we get, all of whom simply avoided us. This painful day made me prioritize the security of our WordPress website.
With over 445 million websites using WordPress as their content management system (CMS), it's no wonder hackers set their sights on this popular platform. While WordPress is a secure CMS out of the box, there are certain security measures you can take to make your site even more secure.
In this article, we'll share some WordPress security practices that every website owner should follow to prevent potential attacks. Let's get started.
10 WordPress Security Tips to Keep Your Site Safe
All of these tasks can be handled by a WordPress management service.
A service costing less than $100 a month easily pays for itself, simply by preventing WordPress hacks that take a website down resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue as was my experience.
1. Keeping WordPress Updated
With each new release of WordPress comes a new set of security fixes. So, keeping it updated on the latest WordPress version is important. You can do this by going to your WordPress Dashboard > Updates and clicking the "Update Now" button.
You can update WordPress manually by downloading the latest version or using the built-in update feature in your WordPress dashboard. We recommend checking your email, as you'll get a notification whenever a new WordPress update is available.
2. Use a Strong Password
A strong password is one of the most important things you can do to secure your WordPress site. A strong password is at least 12 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using dictionary words, names, or dates that can be easily guessed.
You can also use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords. Also, never use the same password on more than one site.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your WordPress login. With two-factor authentication, you need two pieces of information to log in: your password and a code generated by an app on your phone.
So, even if someone knows your password, they won't be able to log into your WordPress site unless they also have your phone. Many two-factor authentication plugins are available for WordPress, so choose one that fits your needs. Also, back up your phone if you lose it or it's stolen.
4. Hide Your WordPress Login Page
The default WordPress login URL is /wp-admin/. This makes it easy for hackers to find and attack your login page. To help protect your login page, you can change the URL from the settings. Some plugins add an extra layer of security to your login pages, such as CAPTCHA or two-factor authentication. Also, use a strong password and don't share it with anyone.
5. Use a Secure Hosting Provider
Your hosting provider plays a big role in the security of your WordPress site. A good hosting provider will have security measures in place to help protect your site from attacks. Look for a hosting provider that offers firewalls, intrusion detection, and malware scanning. Make sure they offer support if you need help with security-related problems.
6. Use WordPress Security Plugins
A WordPress security plugin is one of the most effective ways to secure your WordPress site. They can add two-factor authentication, malware scanning, and other security features. Many great security plugins are available for WordPress sites, but we recommend using either iThemes Security or Wordfence. Both plugins are free and offer a variety of features to help secure your site. They also offer premium versions with even more features.
7. Do not Use “Admin” as Your Username
One of the most common username/password combinations that hackers use is “admin”/“password.” You need to change it immediately if you still use “admin” as your username.
You can change your username by going to Users » All Users in your WordPress admin area. Click on the edit link below the username and change it to something else. If you can’t remember your username, you can reset it by adding the following code to your wp-config. php file:
define( 'WP_USERNAME', 'your-username' );
8. Keep Your Themes and Plugins Up-to-date
WordPress themes and plugins are responsible for many WordPress security vulnerabilities. That is why it is important to keep them updated at all times. Most theme and plugin developers release updates whenever a security vulnerability is found in their code. So, keeping your themes and plugins up-to-date can close those security holes on your site.
You can update your themes and plugins from your WordPress dashboard. Simply go to Updates and click the “Update Now” button. WordPress will then update all your outdated themes and plugins.
9. Use a Web Application Firewall
A firewall helps to block malicious traffic before it reaches your WordPress website. It is an effective security measure against attacks such as DDoS, brute force, and SQL injection attacks. Many great WordPress firewall plugins are available, but we recommend using Sucuri or Wordfence. Both plugins offer a free and premium version. The free versions are already very good at blocking malicious traffic.
10. Keep Regular Backups of Your Website
Even with all the security measures, your WordPress site can still be hacked. That is why it is important to keep regular backups of your site. That way, if your site is ever hacked, you can easily restore it from a backup. We recommend choosing a good hosting provider that offers daily backups. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer backups, you can use a WordPress backup plugin to create your backups.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can WordPress be easily hacked?
No, WordPress is not easily hacked. WordPress is considered one of the most secure content management systems available. However, no system is 100% secure, and there are always ways for determined hackers to find vulnerabilities. That’s why it’s important to take steps to secure your WordPress site further.
Will limiting WordPress users' permission help secure my WordPress site?
Yes, limiting user permission can help secure your WordPress websites. By only allowing people who you trust to have access to your site, you can help reduce the risk of malicious activity. Try to limit the number of administrator accounts and ensure that all user accounts have strong passwords.
What are some of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities?
Here are the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities: