There are reasons why more than 50% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. The CMS platform is not only flexible and easy to use but is also easy to expand and maintain. There is no type of website that you cannot create using WordPress, especially with so many plugins, themes, and custom functions you can now add to the site.
Aside from being highly usable and flexible, WordPress is also known to be very easy to secure. Without having to jump through hoops, you can secure your WordPress installation and protect your data. This is a great trait now that there are more cybersecurity attacks lurking around the corner. To help you secure your own WordPress site, here are the top five security tips to follow.
WordPress comes with an easy update feature that lets you update the core of the site as well as plugins and themes from within WordPress. There is no need to manually delete and upload files just to get the site to the latest version of WordPress. It is also worth noting that the team behind WordPress release frequent security patches.
Keeping your WordPress site up to date is an important part of keeping the site secure. The latest security patches and updates to plugins and themes can help close security holes and prevent attacks from damaging the site. Using the latest version also enables you to get the latest features, which makes the whole process of managing the WordPress site easier.
Keep in mind that WordPress, by default, applies minor updates automatically. Updates to major releases, on the other hand, need to be done manually. Go to Dashboard > Updates and you will see if updating your site is necessary. Plugin and theme updates are also displayed on this page.
Secure Your Account
When you build a WordPress website, you may choose to use Admin as your username. After all, Admin is a default username offered by the WordPress Installation. While the username is easy to remember – and you can still protect the account using a strong password – it is certainly not the recommended username to use.
You want a username that is unique and isn’t easy to guess. Common phrases like “sysadmin” or “administrator” are usually targets of cyber attacks, so you want to avoid them completely. The same can be said for your password. Using a strong and unique password is a must with the number of attacks targeting websites at the moment.
The combination of a unique username and a really strong password alone can help reduce the risks of getting your site hacked by a whopping 80%. At the very least, it will take much longer for attackers to brute-force their way into your site. Of course, you can also use Captcha or the built-in brute-force blocker from Jetpack to prevent this type of attack even further.
Check Your Hosting
Due to the way shared hosting – and some other types of hosting – services are set up, a successful attack on one WordPress site can easily spread throughout the server. This has happened to countless servers during the peak of attacks like WP_VCD. Once one site is infected, the malicious code can then search for other WordPress installations on the same server.
Choosing a secure WordPress hosting is a must. It is better if you can set up your own cloud hosting. It is not only cheap but also gives you much higher performance in return. It’s easy to set up your own cloud server for WordPress too. You now have tools like EasyEngine and VestaCP at your disposal.
If you are using a public hosting service, stick with reliable providers that have proven track records. The last thing you want is to wake up one morning and discover that your site has been defaced by an unauthorized attacker because other site owners aren’t securing their sites properly.
Set Up a Backup Routine
The next part of securing your WordPress site is establishing a backup routine. This too is easy to do even when you don’t have access to a hosting control panel. Countless plugins can automate the creation of backups directly from WP-Admin. Premium plugins will even connect to your Google Drive or Dropbox account and store backups there.
Maintaining daily backup is ideal if you update your site a lot or if you get thousands of visitors every day. This way, you don’t risk losing comments and other important data. In the event of a catastrophic hack, you can simply return to the latest backup image of the site and get it up and be running in a matter of minutes.
For smaller sites, daily backup is a bit too much. To keep the backup routine manageable, you can choose to go with a weekly or monthly backup. You can also create a backup image manually every time you make big changes to the site; this last approach isn’t recommended, because you don’t have the periodic backup to revert to when the site doesn’t get updated.
Use The Right Plugins
You don’t have to be a security expert or an avid programmer to secure a WordPress site. You can almost certainly find a suitable plugin regardless of the kind of protection you want. Jetpack comes with a number of security features out of the box, although the premium features – like remote backups – are available on a subscription basis.
Sucuri Security is another interesting WordPress security plugin to consider. Some of the features are only available to premium users, but the basic security tools alone are great for most users. Sucuri can also scan your site for potential malware and malicious codes. Wordfence Security, a close competitor of Sucuri, also offers malware scans.
Some plugins are known for their security weaknesses. A couple of years ago, users of WordPress Newsletter suffered from attacks due to the plugin’s security hole. To stay up to date and avoid unsecured plugins, you can also sign up for newsletters from WordPress or security plugin makers like Wordfence and Sucuri. Keep an eye out for big attack news and securing your WordPress site should be much easier to do.