You might have put so much work into launching your WordPress site and may think that it is finally time to catch a breath. But guess what? You are still not completely done.
The growth of the internet has seen the emergence of malicious cybercriminals who are keen on finding any possible vulnerabilities to infiltrate systems and cause damages. Some of the most common attack vectors that website owners are vulnerable to are malicious redirects, backdoor attacks, Cross-site scripting, Denial of Service attacks, Brute force attacks, among others.
Generally, all websites are vulnerable to malicious attacks. Even so, WordPress sites tend to be a ripe target for data thieves, distributors of malicious codes, and hackers. Moreover, it is a common target for cybercriminals because it is among the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS).
Its popularity increases the chances of cybercriminals finding an insecure site. But, if you own a WordPress site, you don’t have to run for the hills. We have compiled the best WordPress security tips checklist to ensure that your WordPress Website is safe.
Use the Latest Version of WordPress
Every new WordPress update comes with improved functionality and better security. When a WordPress version has been in the market for a significant time, malicious hackers may have found vulnerabilities and ways to exploit those vulnerabilities to hijack a website.
Each new update fixes any existing bugs and patches any issues. Using outdated versions puts you at risk of attacks. Another significant advantage of using the latest WordPress versions is that newer versions usually have superior features and better compatibility.
You may not be keen on the new features, but you need to maintain regular updates to take advantage of security releases. Using well-updated software ensures that any visitors to your site enjoy a better experience since every component of your site will be working optimally.
When users have a great experience with your site, they are more likely to stay on your site. And this will also boost your SEO strategy.
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Best WordPress Security Plugin
Security plugins secure WordPress Websites by limiting requests from an IP address or blocking an IP address if it exceeds the set threshold. They recognize legitimate crawlers and don’t throttle or block them.
Several WordPress security plugins to choose from, but some of the best ones are Sucuri Security, MalCare Security, iThemes Security, and Defender.
Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Firewalls are software or hardware tools that act as a defence between your website and all incoming traffic. For example, a Web Application firewall helps secure web applications by analyzing and filtering any traffic between the web application and the internet. They are instrumental in protecting against cross-site scripting, cross-site forgery, SQL injections, file inclusions, DDoS attacks, etc.
Firewalls are designed to either block traffic that is malicious or only allows safe traffic. Web Application firewalls also help to secure WordPress websites through virtual patching before WordPress releases official patches.
The best thing about firewalls is that they offer protection continuously rather than on a reactive basis. That ensures that you can prevent attacks before they infiltrate your website.
In case of an attempted attack, you can clean your site quicker and with much less money. You could opt to use a WordPress Security plugin to install a firewall for your site. It is the simplest way to add a firewall since it does not require full server access or lots of technical skills.
With WAF, the cherry on top is improved site speed and performance via advanced caching techniques. As a result, you get a website that is faster and safer.
Move Your WordPress Site to HTTPS
HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol) sites provide secure transmission of information across the internet. They ensure that any confidential information being conveyed online is not at risk of unauthorized access. To move to an HTTPS site, first you need to buy SSL certificate from trusted SSL certificate providers. After that you need to install SSL certificate in your server.
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An SSL is a cryptographic protocol that encrypts data transmission between a visitor’s browser and your website. With this encryption, any malicious people sniffing around, hoping to steal sensitive information, will find it almost impossible to decipher the encrypted information.
Moving to an HTTPS site does not only guarantee security but also improves ranking in search engine results. This is because search engine giants are taking the initiative to ensure that users are safe when interacting on the internet.
We hope that you found this article useful.
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Limit User Access to Your Site
WordPress has several user roles, with the administrator role as the most superior one. An administrator enjoys unlimited access to the whole website. Some websites allow all their users to have admin privileges. However, this is very risky since some users may take advantage of that to run havoc and cause damages to your site by creating ghost admins or backdoors to let them in if their accounts ever get blocked.
You, therefore, cannot risk having all users free reign over your WordPress Website. Several WordPress plugins can help you to restrict user access. User Role Editor and Restrict Categories WordPress plugins are beneficial in customizing your WordPress users and restricting access to only specific sections of your website.
Add Two Factor Authentication
The two-factor authentication technique involves going through a two-step process to log in to an account. You not only need your password to access login but also a second method. The second method could be an SMS, phone call, one-time password (OTP), etc.
While an attacker may have laid hands on your login credentials, it is unlikely that they will have your cell phone to verify with before accessing your accounts. It is a potent WordPress security tip against Brute force attacks on your WordPress Website. You could use the free WordPress plugin, Google Authenticator.
Protect Your wp-config.php
wp-config.php is a significant configuration file in all WordPress Websites that contain critical information about the website. The file has various details like host, user name, security keys, WordPress data connection details, etc. This is information that allows your WordPress Website to connect with the database to retrieve or store data.
These sensitive details would cause you a major headache if they fell into the wrong hands. That makes protecting the wp-config.php file a matter of utmost significance.
To protect the file, you could use an htaccess file, move the wp-config.php file from the root directory, modify the file to remove lines containing sensitive information like database connection details and WordPress security keys.
Having a secure WordPress Website should be a priority for any site owner. Staying clear from malicious cyber-attacks helps protect your website’s reputation. It also builds trust with the visitors to the site.