Is you WordPress site locked down? As a website owner, I understand the importance of having a fully secure website. However, even with the best intentions and security measures in place, WordPress sites can still be vulnerable to attacks. So why is your WordPress site not fully secure?
Ok, there is no such thing as 100% safe or secure.
All you can do is take some proactive measures to protect against any potential security issues.
If your site is hacked it is a hassle to get it back to where it was, you lose valuable time that you could have put to better use like creating or promoting content. Not to mention the headache and hassle of going through some investigation and restoration.
Here is an infographic that covers WordPress security and can give you an edge. Some of the tips are applicable to any website.
Understanding WordPress Security
As a WordPress user, it’s important to understand the basics of WordPress security. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- WordPress is a popular target for hackers because it powers so many websites.
- WordPress is open-source software, which means that anyone can access the code and potentially find vulnerabilities.
- WordPress is constantly updated to address security issues, so it’s important to keep your installation up-to-date.
- WordPress security is a shared responsibility between the user (you) and the hosting provider.
There are a few key areas of WordPress security to focus on:
- Passwords: Use strong passwords and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Plugins and Themes: Only install trusted plugins and themes from reputable sources, and keep them up-to-date.
- User Accounts: Limit the number of user accounts with administrative privileges, and use two-factor authentication for added security.
- Backups: Regularly backup your website to ensure that you can recover from any security incidents.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your WordPress site is more secure and less vulnerable to attacks. However, it’s important to remember that no website can be 100% secure, so it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place for handling security incidents if they do occur.
Common Reasons for Insecurity
One of the most common reasons why WordPress sites are not fully secure is because of weak passwords. As a WordPress user, I understand the importance of having a strong password. Weak passwords can be easily guessed by hackers, making it easier for them to gain access to our site.
To ensure that my WordPress site is secure, I always use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters in my password. I also avoid using easily guessable information such as my name, birthdate, or simple words like “password” or “123456”.
Outdated Themes and Plugins
Another reason why WordPress sites can be insecure is due to outdated themes and plugins. Outdated themes and plugins can have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. As a WordPress user, I always make sure to keep my themes and plugins up-to-date to ensure that my site is secure.
To keep my themes and plugins up-to-date, I regularly check for updates in my WordPress dashboard and install them as soon as they become available. I also make sure to only use themes and plugins from reputable sources to avoid any potential security risks.
No SSL Certificate
A lack of SSL certificate is another common reason why WordPress sites are not fully secure. Without an SSL certificate, the connection between my website and my visitors is not encrypted, making it easier for hackers to intercept sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card information, and other personal data.
To ensure that my WordPress site is secure, I always make sure to have an SSL certificate installed. This can be easily done by contacting my web hosting provider or by using a third-party SSL certificate provider.
By addressing these common reasons for insecurity, I can ensure that my WordPress site is fully secure and protected against potential security threats.
How to Check Your Site’s Security
As a website owner, it is important to ensure that your WordPress site is fully secure. Here are some steps you can take to check your site’s security:
There are many security plugins available for WordPress that can help you check your site’s security. Some popular options include:
- Wordfence Security: This plugin offers a range of security features, including malware scanning, firewall protection, and login security. It also provides real-time threat defense feed and a detailed security audit trail.
- Sucuri Security: This plugin offers security hardening, malware scanning, and blacklist monitoring. It also has a website firewall that can block malicious traffic.
- iThemes Security: This plugin offers over 30 security measures, including malware scanning, brute force protection, and two-factor authentication. It also provides a security dashboard that shows you the current security status of your site.
Online Security Check Tools
In addition to security plugins, there are also online security check tools that can help you assess the security of your WordPress site. Some popular options include:
- WPScan: This tool scans your site for vulnerabilities and provides a report that includes the severity of each vulnerability and recommendations for how to fix them.
- Qualys SSL Labs: This tool checks your site’s SSL certificate and provides a grade based on the certificate’s security level. It also provides recommendations for how to improve your SSL configuration.
- Google Safe Browsing: This tool checks your site against Google’s list of unsafe sites and provides a warning if your site is deemed unsafe.
By using security plugins and online security check tools, you can ensure that your WordPress site is fully secure and protected against potential threats.
Improving WordPress Security
Strong Passwords and User Permissions
As a website owner, I understand the importance of having strong passwords and limiting user permissions. I always make sure to use strong passwords that are difficult to guess and never reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Additionally, I limit user permissions to only those who need access to certain areas of my website.
Regularly updating WordPress and its plugins is crucial for maintaining a secure website. I make sure to check for updates regularly and install them as soon as they become available. This ensures that any known security vulnerabilities are patched and my website remains secure.
Implement SSL Certificate
Implementing an SSL certificate is another important step in improving WordPress security. It encrypts data transmitted between my website and its visitors, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information. I always ensure that my website has an SSL certificate installed and that it is up-to-date.
Use Security Plugins
Using security plugins is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to my website. I always make sure to use a reputable security plugin that provides features such as malware scanning, firewall protection, and brute force attack prevention. This helps me to detect and prevent potential security threats before they can harm my website.
In conclusion, by implementing these security measures, I can significantly improve the security of my WordPress website.
How Do WordPress Blogs Get Hacked?
- Hosting 41%
- Themes 29%
- Plugins 22%
- Weak Passwords 8%
- 83% of WordPress Blogs that are Hacked are Not Updated
- 30,000 Web Sites are Hacked a Day
- On Average, a Website is Hacked Every 5 Seconds
If a vulnerability is discovered in WordPress and a new version is released to address the issue, the information required to exploit the vulnerability is almost certainly in the public domain. This makes old versions more open to attack and is one of the primary reasons you should always keep WordPress up to date – WordPress.org
How to Prevent WordPress Security Issues?
- Don’t Use the Default Admin Account – This is one of the most common and elementary mistakes you can make from a security perspective. What username do you think hackers try first when trying to gain access to any site? Admin, that’s right. Create another username and assign admin rights to that user before deleting the old admin user account.
- Close Comments After 30 or 60 days – OK, this might be controversial and not everyone is going to agree with this. If you are getting hit by a lot of spam comments you can try closing comments after 30 or 60 days – it certainly has cut down my spam comments drastically. Using spam comments filtering plugin like Akismet is a must.
- Get Rid of the Login Link from your Blog – Regardless of what CMS your website is running on (WordPress or similar) having a login link to the admin interface is like giving the location to the locker in the bank. Now removing the login link from your website does not guarantee safety from hackers but it just puts another step for them to go through; the more barriers the better!
- Always Keep WordPress Up-to-Date with the Latest Version – This is a no-brainer; especially when you know 83% of blogs that get hacked are not up-to-date. Most big blogs use the WordPress auto update feature to keep their blogs away from security vulnerabilities.
- Report WordPress Bugs and Security Issues – WordPress is the most used CMS on the web and the user community is huge. Every day new issues are being reported and patched. If you find a bug or an issue report it so the whole community can benefit. You can report bugs here.
- Lock Down File Permissions and Write Access – If you want to take your website security a step further you can lock down files and who has write access. You can do this in many ways: a plugin or even through the settings (cPanel) of your web host. If you are not sure how to do this; it is best to contact your web host support team and they should be able to help.
- Use a WordPress Security Plugin and Limit Failed Login Attempts –
If more than a certain number of attempts are detected within a short period of time from the same IP range, then the login function is disabled for all requests from that range. This helps to prevent brute force password discovery – Login LockDown
After the research for this post, I have started using Login LockDown plugin to see if I can block malicious login attempts. I am not sure how good this is so if you have any thoughts please leave a comment below.
- Consider Two-step Authentication – The traditional login requires a username, password and this is a one-step authentication. In order to increase security, you could have two-factor authentication (2FA) like an SMS code used by some banks. You can use Google Authenticator for 2FA if your site is eCommerce/WooCommerce store or similar that needs added protection. This, of course, depends on what kind of site you have and the information you are trying to protect; for a simple blog it may not be worth the effort or hassle.
Web Site Host, Themes & Plugins
Most of the above WordPress security tips are for protecting your site from security issues and the below tips are for being prepared in case of a security breach.
- Re-Evaluate Your Web Host’s Backups and Recovery – If your site is hacked you need a backup to restore your site to its previous glory (pre-attack). It’s too late to find out that you don’t a have a weekly or daily backup; otherwise, you will lose content and valuable time. The backup should also be offsite and not on the same server as your website files are as they may be down or even infected. Check with your web host before it is too late!
- Check Your Host’s Speed, Stability, Security and Uptime – When selecting a web host if you did not consider security, stability and up-time then now is a good time as ever. 41% of security issues are through the host.
- Re-Evaluate Your Website Theme and Plugins – 51% of security vulnerabilities are through the theme and plugins used by a site. Keep your plugins up to date and constantly remove unwanted plugins; this also helps with speeding up your WordPress site.
Your Computer and Network
- Ensure Your Computer is Free of Malware, Spyware and Virus Infections
- Work From Trusted Networks – Avoid Internet Cafes and Free WiFi, Where Possible
- Make Sure Your Passwords are Strong (including WordPress, Emails etc.)
- Take Advantage of a CDN’s (Content Distribution Network) Firewall – Not only CDN’s can help with reducing website load times but they also have a firewall as an added layer of protection that the hackers need to breach before getting to your site and its data. I use CloudFlare CDN as it is free and easy to set up
WordPress Security Plugins
A simple first step towards protecting your WordPress site is to start with a security plugin. Here is a list you can choose from. Don’t install more than one as they might have compatibility issues or overlapping functionality.
- iThemes Security – offers a wide range of security features.
- Bulletproof Security – protects your site via .htaccess.
- All in One WP Security and Firewall – adds a firewall to your site.
- Sucuri Scanner – scans your site for malware etc.
- Wordfence – full-featured security plugin.
- Exploit Scanner – searches your database for any suspicious code.
Use this post as a proactive reminder to check your WordPress site for security issues. You can start with your username and password. If you are using ‘Admin’ as your username your first step is to create another Admin user and delete the default account as you can’t change the username. Make sure your password is strong and not something like ‘password’ that can get hacked easily. Keep WordPress, theme and plugins updated. Use a CDN for better performance and as an added layer of protection. Good luck with locking down your WordPress site. Remember, prevention is better than cure.