The most security-conscious organizations in the world rely on WordPress. Even Facebook and the United States White House is no exception. Hearing that must feel like a relief, right? Well, you shouldn’t feel so confident.
You can put your trust in any website provider, even WordPress, but that doesn’t guarantee that they’re safe from hackers. That’s the truth, unfortunately. Sites get exploited, and it’s usually because of a number of issues. The big culprit is that you’ve been lax in security.
The good news is that you can do your part now (in partnership with a coding website like Nerder) to prevent user errors and stop bad practices. Implementing prevention because they’re better than troubleshooting the error.
And that’s what this post will talk about today.
5 Must-dos to Keep Your Site Secure
For too many companies, it’s not until after a security breach that web security and its best practices are prioritized and taken into account. And to keep it from happening, the effective approach is to be defensive and proactive. A security mindset in the site owner and his web development team must be in place.
Here are the best practices to keep your website from being threatened.
#1 Impenetrable Passwords
As much as possible. You need to do your part to lockdown your log-in page and make use of strong passwords. Controlling the access to your site is necessary as password theft are one of the most common attack methods used by cyber criminals.
The good part is that WordPress actually gives its platform users a few different routes to go about ensuring their website security. As the site owner, you choose the approach that properly balances your website’s security and usability needs.
You can implement this through high-quality extensions:
- Be selective: Only whitelist certain IP addresses for log-in.
- Limit access: Put a limit on failed login attempts, and automatically block IP addresses that go beyond the certain threshold.
- Two-factors: Use two-factor authentication with a variety of two-factor methods. This includes smartphone apps, text message (via HOTP or TOTP), or through physical keys (e.g. FIDO).
- Password strength: Enforce strong password usage for all the registered users at your website.
- Different locations: Move your WordPress login page away from the default URL structure. Security benefits are limited, but it cuts down the bot traffic which is also pretty advantageous.
#2 Keep Everything Up-to-date
Some people think that keeping plugins up-to-date can consume memory. Well, better a consumed memory than a hacked website. Out-of-date WordPress software is one of the most common ways WordPress sites are hacked.
So keep your plugins up-to-date at all times. With the latest updates come the latest security features that your site badly needs.
#3 Be Wary of 3rd Party Extensions
There’s a massive third-party plugin library on WordPress. It’s one of the things we love about it. But it’s also one of the things that make WordPress vulnerable and liable to a security breach. The third-party plugin library is massive, and holds thousands of pre-made themes and plugins that allow you to customize your WordPress website; down to how it looks and functions.
Each extension has a different developer. And you have no way of guaranteeing each developer’s responsiveness, or the quality of their work. You can’t do it without doing a full audit for each plugin.
You have two ways of avoiding security issues with the extensions you use.
One, only choose extensions from developers who have proven track records of success and who are responsive. Kind of like you’re buying online. A good example of a trusted developer is the Yoast SEO plugin. It has a dedicated development team, and is used for over 5 million WordPress sites.
Or two, take things in-house. You can either modify an existing plugin or build something from scratch. If it’s to support an extremely essential function, it’s worth doing it. It will require more work and ongoing maintenance, but you have full control and you can deploy patches at your leisure and as needed.
#4 Assign User Roles
WordPress has a user access permissions system that lets the administrator control exactly which actions each class of user (or user) is able to take. To maintain security, only permit users to perform a minimum number of actions that are absolutely necessary to accomplish their job.
Let’s say, for instance, that your site is open to accepting guest posts. If you have a contributing author, you don’t want to give them the capability to edit existing content on your site. Or even publish content for live viewing. You only need them to write their work, and submit it to you, the admin, for review.
#5 Changing your WP-Login URL
By default, a WordPress login address to your site is “example.com/wp-admin.” When you leave it on default, you can be targeted for a very harsh attack, and can end up cracking your username and password combination.
If your site accepts users registering for subscription accounts, you can also get a lot of spam registrations. These are the kinds of things you prevent by changing the admin login URL. Consider adding a security question to the registration and the login page too.
You can also further protect your login page by adding a 2-factor authentication plugin to your WordPress, as I’ve mentioned in point number 1.
This way, when you try to login, you’ll need to provide additional authentication to gain access to your site. Two-factor authentication plugins enhance security features and prevent hackers from accessing your site.
Your Site Security Depends on You
It should be noted that the security of your website depends entirely on you. Aside from ensuring WordPress security, there are plenty of similar things you could do to make your site’ s figurative armor even more robust.
Security tactics like:
- Using a web application firewall (WAF).
- SSL certificates, and HTTPS for secure data transmission. It helps you rank on SERPs too.
- Correct file permissions.
- Using Cloudflare or Sucuri to ward against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Keeping your site secure should be one of your top priorities. After all, prevention is better than cure.