10 Actionable steps to secure your WordPress site
WordPress is a powerful content management system (CMS) that millions of people use every day. However, it’s not immune to threats and attacks. This guide will help you understand WordPress security concepts and how they relate to your business’s site, as well as what you can do to keep your site secure.
Website security is a concern for every business today. However, with all the responsibilities that come with a business, it is easy for owners to let their website slip through the cracks. It is important to keep in mind that a website is an extension of your business. A strong website (security, design, SEO, etc.) will only help your business grow.
Why is Website Security Important for your business?
Website security is a crucial component for any company to invest in, because it helps with SEO ranking, protects the business from potential damages, and also provides peace of mind for customers.
Google Loves Secure Sites
For years, Google has emphasized the importance of website security. They’ve made it a part of their ranking analytics. If your website is not secure, Google will reduce your visibility in search engine results or not list your business. One way to help your website pass Google’s security standards is to have HTTPS enabled.
HTTPS is important for your website because it encrypts sensitive data. This prevents attackers from viewing your data, even if they have access to the network between the server and browser.
Enabling HTTPS is essential for your website because it protects customers’ data and billing information. It also helps avoid becoming a target of hackers who may damage your company’s reputation and assets because of cybercrime damages.
Maintain a reputable reputation
Maintaining a reputable reputation is important for any business. Company data breaches often make headline news and cause damage to the company’s reputation. It is important to maintain a secure environment for your customers and employees by keeping their personal information safe from theft.
What damage can a data breach do to your company?
- You could lose revenue because customers are wary of providing their personal information.
- You may incur fines and penalties due to violating data security regulations.
- Google could block your website.
Does WordPress have security issues?
WordPress is a powerful platform that can build many types of websites. However, no platform is immune to security threats and issues. Below are some common threats that you need to be aware of.
Social engineering is manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It can gain access to passwords, financial information, or other sensitive data. Social engineering attacks are often successful because they exploit human nature and our inherent trust in others.
There are many types of social engineering attacks, but some of the most common include:
- Phishing: Phishing is an attack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to lure people into revealing their personal information. The goal of a phishing attack is to get login credentials, credit card numbers, or other sensitive data.
- Baiting: Baiting is a type of attack where hackers leave infected USB drives or CDs lying around in public places to infect unsuspecting users who plug them into their computers.
- Tailgating: Tailgating is when someone follows an allowed user into a restricted area without proper authorization. This type of attack can gain access to secure areas or data centers.
It is important to educate yourself and your employees about social engineering attacks. These attacks can happen online and in person, but the goal is the same—to manipulate people into directly or indirectly revealing confidential information.
Brute Force Attack
A brute force attack is a common way for hackers to gain access to your WordPress site. This type of attack involves guessing the login credentials for your website. If a user is attempting to log into your site, they may try to hack it with a brute force attack.
There are several ways you can protect yourself from these attacks. First, make sure you use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. You can also enable two-factor authentication, which requires an additional code that is sent to your phone or email before logging in.
You can also avoid using words that may give away your company’s or website’s identity. For example, if you’re using WordPress for a pet store, don’t use the word “pets” as part of your password.
Denial of Service (DoS)
Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerabilities exploit errors and bugs in the code to overwhelm the memory of website operating systems and create botnet chains. You can protect your business from a DoS attack by following these steps:
- Ensure you have a firewall enabled.
- Update your WordPress installation regularly. WordPress updates help optimize against DoS attacks.
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Install a monitoring system that will alert you to any suspicious activity.
- Use plugins with caution – some are vulnerable to DoS attacks and can be used by hackers.
SQL injection is a vulnerability that can allow attackers access to your database. The vulnerability occurs when user input is not properly filtered before being used in an SQL query. This can happen when you are directly entering data into your database, or when you are using user input to build a SQL query.
For example, the following code snippet shows how an attacker could use user input to access all the data in your database:
$name = $_POST[‘name’];
$sql = “SELECT * FROM users WHERE name=’$name'”;
This code will execute the SELECT statement and return all the rows from the user’s table, where the name column matches the value entered by the attacker.
What are the best WordPress security practices?
Website security is a crucial component for any company to invest in because it helps protect the business from potential damages and also provides peace of mind for customers. Without putting too much pressure on yourself, take these ten steps to help secure your WordPress site:
1. Choose a reputable hosting company
For hosting your WordPress site, it is important to choose a reputable hosting company. Factors to consider include:
- Uptime- you want a host that guarantees nearly 100% uptime.
- Speed- you don’t want your site to slow down because of an inefficient hosting company.
- Customer Support- good customer support can be crucial in times of need, so choosing a company that offers excellent and reliable customer service is key.
- Security- a host with good security measures can help keep your site secure.
- Affordable pricing- different businesses have different needs. It is important to pick a company that offers a variety of plans and custom plans. You don’t want to be stuck paying for services that your business does not need.
2. Regularly backup your website
Your WordPress website is important and should be backed up regularly. A backup file would include the WordPress core files, like your database and WordPress installation files. There are many ways to back up a site, but using a plugin is an easy way to do it. The backup will appear in a list on the backup page after being created. You can then download it or send it to another server for storage.
Keeping your backups stored on another server, not your web server, is a good way to increase security. Storing it in at least three different locations will help keep your data safe in case of a disaster.
3. Keep WordPress, Themes, and Plugins updated
One of the most important ways to secure your WordPress site is to keep all software up-to-date. One way to do this is by installing all the major updates for your themes and plugins. Always check compatibility before updating anything and make a backup of your website as soon as you update a theme or plugin.
Creating a staging environment to test new updates before implementing them onto live websites can also help avoid any potential disasters. Exercise caution when purchasing themes or plugins from third-party sites because they may contain malicious code that can harm your business in the worst way possible! Instead, purchase themes and plugins from known reputable sites.
4. Use an SSL Certificate
SSL is a protocol that encrypts the data between the user’s browser and the web server, helping to keep the information private. When an SSL certificate is used, it also helps with SEO, helping the website get more visitors. Remember, part of Google’s ranking analytics is security.
What is an SSL certificate?
- An SSL certificate is an encryption key that allows websites to verify the identity of a user and encrypt data between browsers and web servers.
A good hosting provider will provide a free SSL certificate on all its hosting plans, making it easy for you to secure your WordPress site.
5. Limit Login Attempts
Website owners can limit login attempts to reduce the risk of brute force attacks. You can do this with a plugin that will determine the number of failed login attempts for specific IP addresses. This is especially important for site administrators and WordPress blog owners that have admin-level access to their websites, as they may be targeted for hacking attempts.
6. Use captcha login
One way to secure your login from cyber attacks is to use a captcha. Captchas are images or videos that contain a code you must enter to prove you’re human, rather than a computer program trying to guess your password.
Captcha protects against automated bots. It asks you to solve a puzzle, which is harder than memorizing a list of words and symbols. Captchas are a great way to protect your login forms against brute-force attacks.
7. Change the admin username
WordPress provides a generic username for the administrator. You should change that immediately to help protect your website. If you keep the generic username, then your site is vulnerable because your admin username is known.
To change the username, navigate to Settings > Users and click on “Edit” next to edit your admin account. Here you can change the username to anything you want, but it’s recommended that you use a name that is not easily guessed. If you are using a network, be sure that the username is unique across all sites in your network. This can help protect against attacks.
8. Use strong passwords
A strong password cannot be easily guessed. It should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Most sites recommend using a password at least eight characters long, but a strong password should be between twelve and sixteen characters long. Of course, remembering long complex passwords isn’t easy. Using a tool like LastPass to generate strong passwords for you is perfect for ensuring you have strong passwords for multiple sites.
9. Change your WP-login URL
By default, WordPress uses wp-login.php as the login URL. This makes it easy for hackers to target your login page and try to guess your username and password. However, you can easily change this URL to something more difficult for bots and scripts to brute force by using a plugin like WPS Hide Login. WPS Hide Login is a free plugin that can be used as an option.
If you use a plugin like WPS Hide Login, you will be able to change your WordPress login page URL without any coding knowledge.
10. Block Hotlinking
One way to protect your website’s assets is to block hotlinking. Hotlinking is when someone displays your website’s assets on their website. It uses up your web server resources, slowing down your site.
You can use an FTP (file transfer protocol) client, a WordPress security plugin, a CDN (content delivery network), or edit the control panel’s settings to prevent hotlinks to your content from appearing anywhere else online (including Google Images).
Secure your WordPress site with WP Gazelle
It’s important to keep your business site secure from potential threats. Running a business is stressful enough, and constantly monitoring the security of your websites is a full-time job. Let WP Gazelle take care of your site for you. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your website is being monitored 24/7 by an expert team, and if there are any issues or attacks, we’ll fix them before you know it.
We offer comprehensive security solutions that include auto real-time backups and easy restores, malware scans, and spam protection. Plus, our support team offers fast real-time support to help you take your site to the next level. So whether you’re just starting or have been running your business website for years, WP Gazelle has a solution for you. Contact us today!
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