WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform and Content Management System (CMS). Due to its ease of use and gentle learning curve, it has found a place among a wide range of websites, from business to news, and everything in between. According to W3Techs, 25.6% of all sites use WP, while a staggering 58.8% use it as their CMS of choice.
WP’s widespread adoption does come with its downsides though, as it’s a frequent target of hackers who aim to exploit a range of loopholes in any way possible.
To protect you against such hackers, here are some tips that will help ensure the security of your WP website; even though they aren’t 100% foolproof, they will nevertheless ensure that your site will be as safe and as secure as possible.
Always Be Updated
New releases of WordPress roll out on a regular basis containing new features, solved bugs, as well as security fixes, which just goes to show the proactiveness of the team behind it all. Keeping this in mind, it’s a no-brainer that you should always keep your WordPress installation up-to-date.
If you’re on a single install, head to Dashboard > Updates, but if you have a multisite install, go to [Your Network Admin’s] Dashboard > Updates > Available Updates.
Minor security patches will be installed automatically, but major releases need to be installed manually by visiting the previously-mentioned pages.
Have a Secure Host
Some hosting providers are more secure than others, employing the latest in server technology and encryption. Do as much research as you can when choosing the right provider for your site; find out what security measures they have in place, and check out their reputation and track record.
You might get a pretty good deal with a cheap hosting solution, but are they safe and trustworthy?
Knowing what you’re getting into beforehand will save you from a lot of trouble in the long run.
Use Strong Passwords
It goes without saying that having an easy password such as “123456” or “password” is like giving a burglar the key to your front door. Hackers will easily gain access to your administrative account, and you can only imagine what damage they could inflict on your website.
Ideally, use a password that has alphanumeric characters, including both upper and lowercase characters, as well as punctuation.
To create an easily memorable, yet secure, password, think of a sentence only you would know. Then get the first letter of each word plus numbers and punctuation, and you have yourself the perfect password!
You can also install security plugins such as Wordfence Security or iThemes Security, or a password manager like LastPass, where you’ll only need to remember one master password, and the service will store the rest of the passwords for you.
Choose a Unique Admin Username
By default, when creating your site for the first time, WordPress 3.0 and earlier automatically sets the “admin” username to the default account, but you can now change this to your desired name during setup in later WP versions. By keeping the default username, all hackers would have to do is guess your password.
Solving this is simple: just set up a new administrator account (with another username of course), logging in as that user, then deleting the old, insecure “admin” account.
To avoid giving hackers easy access to your website, it’s best to change your administrator username as soon as possible.
Install Trusted Themes and Plugins
There’s a wide variety of WordPress themes and plugins, both free and premium, available online, but some of them may do more harm than good. Many contain badly-written code that can adversely affect your site.
Also, there might be vulnerabilities that haven’t been discovered, which can be exploited by hackers. Even with trusted plugins, the developer might add some malicious lines of code in an update unbeknownst to the site owner.
Choosing themes and plugins from trusted websites and developers will be your best bet.
Backup Your Website
Last, but certainly not the least, make regular backups of your website. You might have taken all the precautions, but there might still be a security hole you may have forgotten to patch up, which could cost you your website. Having backups will mean that in case the worst happens, you’ll be able to restore your website as soon as possible.
These are just a few of the measures that will help you protect your WordPress website from hackers and vulnerabilities. It’s a constant battle against you, the website owner, and the bad guys who will do whatever it takes to gain control of your site.