With over 40% of websites powered by WordPress, it comes as no surprise that it is an attractive target for hackers. However, by implementing a robust security strategy, you can fortify your WordPress site and protect it from potential threats. In this article, we will explore the best practices and strategies to safeguard your WordPress site from hackers.
Keep Your WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins Updated:
One of the most crucial steps in securing your WordPress site is to keep all components up to date. Regularly update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to ensure you have the latest security patches. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities found in outdated versions. Enable automatic updates wherever possible to streamline this process and minimize the risk of missing critical updates.
Choose Strong Login Credentials:
Strong passwords and unique usernames are your first line of defense against brute-force attacks. Avoid using common usernames like “admin” or your website’s name. Instead, create a unique username and use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for your password. Consider using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords securely. Personally I use Roboform. Here’s a link to get 6 months free Roboform when you sign up.
Limit Login Attempts:
Implementing a limit on login attempts can help protect your site from brute-force attacks. Plugins like “Limit Login Attempts” can restrict the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address, temporarily blocking further access after a specified limit. This hampers hackers’ ability to guess passwords through automated scripts.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
Adding an extra layer of security through two-factor authentication can significantly enhance the protection of your WordPress site. 2FA requires users to provide a second form of identification, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password. Plugins like “Google Authenticator” or “Duo Two-Factor Authentication” offer easy integration of 2FA to your WordPress site.
Install a Web Application Firewall (WAF):
A Web Application Firewall serves as a shield between your website and potential attackers. It filters incoming traffic, detects and blocks malicious requests, and protects against common attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). Several WordPress security plugins, such as “Sucuri” and “Wordfence,” provide comprehensive firewall protection.
Regularly Backup Your Website:
In case of a security breach or any unforeseen circumstances, regular backups are vital to restore your WordPress site to a stable state. Perform automated backups and store them securely on remote servers or cloud platforms. Backup plugins like “UpdraftPlus” or “BackupBuddy” offer reliable solutions to simplify this process.
Secure File Permissions and Directory Access:
Set appropriate file permissions to restrict unauthorized access to critical files and directories. Ensure that files are readable only by the owner and that directories have restricted write permissions. This prevents hackers from injecting malicious code or tampering with essential files.
Implement HTTPS Encryption:
Encrypting your website’s data transmission using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is essential to protect user information and ensure secure communication between the server and the visitor’s browser. Obtain an SSL/TLS certificate and configure your website to redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPS. Pro tip: You can get free SSL from Cloudflare.
Remove Unused Themes and Plugins:
Unused themes and plugins increase the attack surface of your WordPress site. Remove any unnecessary themes and plugins, as they can contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Regularly audit your site and remove any unused or outdated components.
Monitor and Audit Your Website:
Stay vigilant by monitoring your website regularly for any suspicious activities. Implement a security plugin that scans for malware, monitors file changes, and provides real-time alerts. Additionally, regularly review your website’s logs and access files to identify any unusual patterns or suspicious IP addresses.
These are just some of the security strategies I have used — mixed and match — in several WordPress projects and these have saved me from a lot of headaches and losses. Feel free to use these as you find fit in your WordPress installation and drop a comment below if you have suggestions and questions.