In recent times, WordPress being the most widely used CMS it has been highly targeted by hackers. So the question which is most commonly asked is, “Is WordPress secure?”
Yes, WordPress is secure.
However, when we use various plugins, themes and some time it’s the hosting, which follows security worst-practices and thus makes our WordPress website vulnerable to different kind of attacks and hacks.
Fact: WordPress powers around 33% of the websites in the world, which not only makes it the most popular CMS platform but also is more prone to hacking.
If WordPress is safe the why WordPress security is crucial?
As I mentioned above, WordPress is secure by default but when you host it on an unsecured server or when you add new codes in the form of themes and plugins, you are increasing the possibilities of getting hacked.
This help page on hardening WordPress adds
“The vulnerabilities most affecting WordPress website owners stem from the platform’s extensible parts, specifically plugins and themes. These are the #1 attack vector being exploited by cyber-criminals to hack and otherwise misuse WordPress sites.
These vulnerabilities are usually not introduced intentionally, they are a result of mistakes and oversights during development. Many plugin and theme developers are not highly versed in security, and so they are prone to inadvertently write vulnerable code. As vulnerabilities are discovered, developers usually address them by releasing updates“
Hackers usually hack a WordPress site for personal gain, which is usually in the form of adding backlinks to some spammy sites or redirecting a WordPress site to other websites. Sometimes it’s done so sophisticatedly that you would not even know you are hacked or there is a backdoor installed on your website.
However, the owner starts losing the traffic over time (SEO penalty) and by the time they realize the actual issue, things are way out of their hands. Another worse that could happen is getting blacklisted by a prominent blacklist authority. This will cost you a significant amount of time and money to get your website out of the blacklist.
According to security firm Sucuri,
of all the CMS they cleaned in 2018, WordPress tops the infected CMS with 90%.
That’s some scary numbers for any WordPress owner and this is why it’s of utmost importance for you to roll your sleeve and follow these best practices to enhance WordPress security.
Here are some of the things you can do right now to protect your WordPress site.
5) Configure WordPress Backups
Not having a proper WordPress backup solution in place is the biggest mistake you can make. When a big site like Sony or Dropbox can be hacked, your WordPress blog will be relatively easy to be cracked by a hacker.
So the first thing is to ensure you are taking a daily backup of your blog.
You can use the backup system offered by your hosting company or use a 3rd party backup system such as Blogvault, VaultPress or Updraftplus.
If your hosting company offers backups, ensure they store the backup on a different server.
4) Switch to a Reliable & Secure Hosting Company
Your WordPress installation is just software installed on a server. The foundation of a secure website is a server that has enough protections that ensure your website is safeguarded against hackers.
A secure WordPress hosting usually has:
- Server level firewall to mitigate DDOS attacks.
- Uses the latest hardware and top-notch data center for physical security
- Regularly update the Operating system and apply the latest security patches
- Has intrusion detection systems for malicious activity or policy violations
Here’s a list of secure WordPress hosting companies:
- SiteGround: An award-winning hosting that uses an anti-bot AI system to prevent some well-known attacks.
- Bluehost: One of the top-rated hosts which offers great security.
- WPEngine: A managed WordPress hosting company that is recommended for business WordPress sites. They offer backups and security on multiple levels.
- Kinsta hosting: This one is perfect for WordPress blog with high traffic.
3) Use the latest version of WordPress
Keeping your WordPress software up to date is the most basic security tip for any WordPress blogger. This is something that you never want to miss.
Whenever WordPress is sending an update, it means that they have fixed some bugs, added some features, and most importantly, added some security features and fixes.
When you see the message: “WordPress x.x.x is available!”
Please Update it.
Nowadays, with one-click update, it’s very easy to upgrade your blog.
Make sure your theme and plugins are compatible with this latest version of WordPress. If an update has been rolled out and it’s not a security update, I suggest you wait for 5-6 days before other users stop reporting bugs in the latest version.
2) Keep Your WordPress Plugins Updated
WordPress releases an update to fix bugs and security holes, and the same goes with plugins.
Many times, a vulnerable plugin or 3rd party script can create a security hole in your WordPress website.
One such issue which we have seen in the past is the Timthumb vulnerability. This was because of a script, and many plugins that were using this script became vulnerable too. Such kind of Zero-day vulnerability is hard to avoid, but by limiting the number of plugins, scripts, and themes you can make WordPress site more secure.
Always use plugins which are continually updated and have good support. If you are using a plugin which has not been updated for a while, find an alternative to it.
1) Change the WordPress Login URL:
By changing the WordPress login URL page, you are preventing a lot of attacks and hacking attempts. Especially, if you are someone who has a handful of people or just, you need to login to WordPress dashboard, changing login page will offer a great deal of help.
How To Change WP Login URL with WPS Hide Login Plugin ?
With over 90,000+ downloads, WPS Hide Login is the simplest & most straightforward WordPress plugin for changing the admin URL. You can install this plugin by searching for “WPS Hide Login” from your WordPress dashboard (here is the WP repo plugin page).
Once you have installed & activated the plugin, go to Settings > General to configure the options. Scroll down & at the bottom, you will see the option to configure the “WPS Hide Login” plugin.
A bonus tip
Please do not download so-called nulled WordPress themes or plugins as most of them usually always ship with malware and backdoors. Installing and using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin can be a very huge security risk.
So there you have it, these are some of the basic things you can do to secure your WordPress site. Now, for sure these 5 things are not enough. We’ll be publishing a full guide on WordPress security soon which will cover all possible things you can do to secure your WordPress installation.