Last Updated 3 weeks by Emily Standley-Allard
Keeping up with your WordPress site security to keep your website safe today is not very easy. No one wants their website to be attacked by hackers and cause problems for yourself and your readers. Recently the ‘Mother of all Breaches’ MOAB took place, compromising 26 billion records!
This is why I have put together a list of important points that can help you safeguard your websites and keep them well secured.
Whether you have a small blog or a network of blogs, following this checklist will help you get secure your websites and keep your readers happy.
Let’s get started!
Here are the top 10 most important ways to keep your WordPress site security up to date!
1. Protecting Against Brute Force Attacks
Imagine if a thief tried to break into your house by trying every possible key until they found the right one. Well, hackers do something similar to break into websites. They use special computer programs to guess your login details over and over until they get it right.
If they succeed, they can do harmful things like make your website stop working or steal your information. They might also send bad stuff to the people who visit your site.
To stop this, you can use a plugin like “Limit Login Attempts Reloaded.” It’s like having a guard that locks the door after a few wrong tries.
Also, it’s a good idea to change your default username and the way you log in to make it harder for the hackers to guess. This way, you make it really tough for them to get in.
2. Use of only Secure Passwords
One of the main ways hackers get into WordPress websites is by figuring out passwords. That’s why it’s crucial to check and make sure your passwords are really strong. Here’s what you should do:
No Common Words: Avoid using everyday words that you can find in a dictionary. For example, don’t use something like “password123” or “admin” because hackers can easily guess those.
Use Numbers and Special Symbols: Make your password more complicated by adding numbers and special symbols like !, @, or #. For instance, you could turn “apple” into “Appl3!Secr#t”.
Keep Them Safe: Store your passwords in a safe place. Don’t write them down where others can see them. Use a secure password manager if you have many passwords to remember.
For Others: If you have users or colleagues who also use your website, make sure they use strong passwords too. You can set rules that require them to have tough passwords.
By following these steps, you make it really hard for hackers to guess your passwords and break into your website. So, keep your passwords strong and safe!
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3. Maintain both local and remote backups
Imagine if your website suddenly crashed because of an attack or a mistake made by someone on your team. That would be a big problem, right? Well, that’s why having a good backup plan is super important.
Here’s what you should do:
Daily Backups: Make a copy of your website every day. This copy is like a safety net, so if anything goes wrong, you can use it to get your website back.
Local and Remote Copies: It’s smart to save these copies in two places. One should be on your own computer or a server nearby (local). The other should be far away from the internet (remote). This way, even if something really bad happens to your website’s server, you still have your backups safely stored somewhere else.
Examples of tools to help with backups include:
UpdraftPlus: A plugin for WordPress that lets you easily back up your site and store it in different locations.
Dropbox or Google Drive: These cloud storage services are great for remote backups. You can set them up to automatically save your backups.
By doing this, you can breathe easy knowing that if something terrible happens to your website, you can restore it using the copies you’ve saved. It’s like having a spare key to your house in case you lose the original!
4. Malware Scan
It would be a nightmare if hackers managed to sneak malicious software onto your website. Malware is a type of software that can cause major problems. It can mess up your website, steal important information, and even harm the people who visit your site. That’s really bad!
What’s worse is that if your site has malware, it can be used by bad guys to attack other websites, too.
Here’s what you can do to protect against this:
Use a Security Tool: Think of it like having a superhero guard for your website. Tools like WordFence or Sucuri are like these guards. They automatically check your website for malware and other bad stuff.
Regular Scans: These tools scan your website regularly, like a detective looking for clues. If they find any malware or sneaky code, they let you know so you can get rid of it.
For example, WordFence can be set up to monitor your website 24/7, and it will alert you if anything suspicious happens. Sucuri also provides a firewall to stop attacks and clean up your website if it gets infected.
By using these security tools, you’re like a castle with a strong moat and guards, keeping the bad guys out and your website safe.
5. SSL Certificate
Strong encryption is crucial for ensuring the privacy and security of your WordPress website. To achieve this, you should employ a trusted and reliable SSL certificate to encrypt all communication between your domain and visitors.
By doing so, you not only protect sensitive data but also provide your visitors with the confidence that their information is being transmitted securely.
Why SSL is Important:
Privacy: SSL keeps your visitors’ personal information, like login credentials and payment details, safe from hackers.
Security: It prevents hackers from intercepting data during transmission. Without encryption, sensitive information can be stolen while it travels between your website and your visitor’s browser.
Trust: SSL secures your website with a padlock icon displayed in browser address bars. As they see this visual cue, they can feel reassured that their data is secure, thus increasing their trust in the website as a whole.
Examples of SSL Certificates:
Let’s Encrypt: A widely used and free SSL certificate provider that offers basic encryption for websites.
Comodo SSL: Provides various types of SSL certificates with different levels of validation and features, suitable for different security needs.
DigiCert: Offers advanced SSL certificates with enhanced security features, ideal for e-commerce and large websites.
6. WordPress Core, Plug-Ins And Themes Updates
WordPress is known for frequently updating its software, and these updates are essential for several reasons:
New Features: Updates often introduce new functions or enhancements to the existing ones, allowing your website to perform better or offer more capabilities.
Security: Updates are crucial for security. They fix vulnerabilities in WordPress, making your website safer from potential hacking attempts.
To maintain a secure and efficient WordPress website, it’s important to update three key components regularly:
WordPress Core: This is WordPress’s primary software. Updating the core means you’re running the latest version of the WordPress platform itself, ensuring optimal performance and security.
Plugins: These are additional features you can install on your site. Keeping plugins updated is important as outdated plugins can be a security risk or might not work properly with the latest version of WordPress.
Themes: The theme controls the visual appearance of your site. Regular updates to your theme ensure it functions correctly with the current WordPress version and remains secure.
7. Database Protection
Your website’s database is a crucial part of your site because it holds a lot of important information. However, it’s also a target for hackers because of the valuable data it contains.
One of the main threats to your database is something called an “SQL injection attack.” This is a type of attack where hackers try to sneak harmful code into your database. They do this through the parts of your website where users can enter data, like login forms or search bars.
Here’s why it’s important to protect your database from these attacks:
Data Integrity: An SQL injection can allow hackers to add unwanted data to your database. This can mess up the content on your website or display information that shouldn’t be there.
Data Theft: Worse, hackers could steal sensitive information from your database, like user details or confidential data.
Website Control: In some cases, these attacks can give hackers control over your website.
To keep your database safe, it’s important to take steps to prevent these SQL injection attacks. This usually involves:
Validating Input: Making sure that the data users enter into your website is checked and only allows what’s necessary. For example, if a field is meant for a phone number, it shouldn’t accept letters or special characters.
Using Prepared Statements: This is a way of writing database queries that separates the data from the code. It’s like giving the database a template of what a query should look like, which makes it harder for harmful code to slip through.
Regularly Updating Software: Keeping your website and any plugins up to date can help patch security vulnerabilities.
8. IP Tracking And Blocking
A cybersecurity solution that blocks access to your website from certain countries or locations can be a useful tool for protecting your site.
This kind of security measure works by identifying the geographic location of a visitor’s IP address – which is a unique number assigned to every device connected to the internet – and then deciding whether to allow or block access based on that location.
Here’s how it helps in keeping your website safe:
Blocking Common Attack Sources: Some countries or regions are known for originating more cyber-attacks than others. By preventing IP addresses from these places from accessing your site, you reduce the risk of attacks.
Real-Time Updating: These cybersecurity solutions often have databases that are updated in real-time. This means they constantly receive new information about which IP addresses are being used for harmful activities. With these updates, the solution can effectively block these IPs from accessing your site.
Preventing Harmful Traffic: By blocking certain locations, you’re essentially stopping potentially harmful visitors before they even have a chance to do anything to your website. This includes hacking attempts, trying to overload your site with too much traffic (DDoS attacks), or other malicious activities.
9. Go With Secure and Reputed Themes & Plugins
When you’re new to using WordPress, you might choose themes and plugins quickly without thinking too much about their safety. But picking safe and trustworthy ones is very important. Using themes and plugins that are not trusted can put your website in danger.
It’s a smart move to stop using any themes or plugins you don’t trust and be more careful when choosing new ones in the future. Nowadays, there are many safe plugins available for almost anything you want to do on your WordPress site. It’s worth spending a bit of time to look for and pick the right ones.
I also want to recommend a plugin called Perfmatters. It’s really good for making your WordPress site work better and faster. It helps by speeding up load times, reducing HTTP requests, and minimizing database bloat.
This improves user experience and potentially boosts SEO rankings. With its easy-to-use interface and detailed settings, Perfmatters is suitable for both beginners and advanced users to enhance website performance. And there’s good news: you can get a 20% discount on it right now if you use the coupon code ‘GRABHOSTS’.
So, this is a great opportunity to get Perfmatters at a lower price and start improving how your site works.
10. Real-Time Monitoring
A real-time monitoring service is a tool that constantly checks your website for several things:
Downtime: This means the service keeps an eye on whether your website is working properly or not. If your site stops working or can’t be accessed, the service will notify you so you can start fixing the problem quickly.
Hack Attempts: The service also looks out for signs that someone might be trying to break into your website. If it detects such attempts, it will alert you. This way, you can take steps to protect your site.
Traffic Spikes: Sometimes, your website might get a lot more visitors all at once. The service tracks these sudden increases in visitors. If it’s just a lot of people visiting your site, that’s fine. But if it’s because of an attack, the service can help you respond to that.
Additionally, the service can adjust how it protects your website based on what it finds. For example, if it notices many hack attempts, it might strengthen your website’s defenses.
Here’s a simple example:
If the service notices that your website is getting a lot more traffic than usual, it checks to see why. If it’s a sign of trouble, like a cyber attack, the service can increase security measures. This means you’re always informed about what’s happening with your website.
If something goes wrong, like your site going offline or someone trying to hack it, you can take quick action. This helps stop small issues from becoming big problems.
Now that you’ve looked at my guide on WordPress security, you know the steps to keep your site safe. Just keep everything up to date, change your passwords often, and regularly check your devices for any malware.
If you’re unsure about how to check certain settings on your site or how to implement these 10 steps for WordPress security, feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’ll be happy to help provide you with tips to ensure your WordPress site security.
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