Undoubtedly, the most popular platform for digital portals, WordPress is hands-down a winner when people are planning to have their own blogs. The WP portal is user-friendly, feature rich and you have a wide variety of WordPress themes to pick from, as per your definite industry. But then again, WordPress is not immune to hackers. Do you know that 73% of very popular websites built in WP were tagged as “vulnerable” in 2013? Well, the unfortunate part is that there is no such that can assure confirmed safeguard against hacking threats for your WordPress portal. However, the great bit is that there are still some ways by which you can make the entire thing a surmountable task for the ill-minded hackers. Your main goal here is to make your WordPress blog or site as fortified as possible.
1. Up-to-date WordPress
Though often overlooked, this is a really important point when it comes to affirming WordPress security. According to experts, WordPress is always fixing the security bugs spotted from previous versions to present a safer platform with the newer versions. Thus, never take to the old versions and always go for up-to-date WP versions. As you will login to the WordPress dashboard, you will find a separate banner saying “Update available” and it’s your trump card. You must make sure to regularly update your WP site to make it even safer with passing years.
2. Never keep defaults
When you sign up for your WP account hosting & your website CMS, you would be given a set of default username and password. Now, the default passwords & usernames are handy for hackers to see through brute-force attacks & make the whole process easier for them. Thus, it’s of utmost importance to change the defaults as soon as possible.
3. Stronger passwords
Password tips are always at the forefront of security discussions and it’s no exception here. There is no parallel to perplex long passwords and you have to go for the same to ensure a robust security for your WordPress site. Go for alpha-numeric codes, accentuated by special characters. It’s to mention here that more is the number of special characters in your password, harder it would be to crack it.
4. Change passwords after every two months
You would have to change your password regularly, say after every 2 months. Random alpha-numeric codes accompanied by special characters would be great. If you are worried about forgetting the frequently changed password, write it down somewhere safe. Moreover, if your site hosts user accounts, you must advise the same for your users too. If they don’t follow the same, your WP site would still be vulnerable in spite of your personal efforts on changing the password.
5. 2-step authentication
This is another great way to protect your password from hacking attempts and keeping your site safe. According to the 2-step authentication process, added to your password, a separate authentication code would be needed to enter the site. This authorization code would be sent via SMS to the account owner’s number only and hence helps a good deal in thwarting the hackers, even if they are able to crack your password.
6. Update plugins & themes regularly
As you would be updating your WP core regularly, make sure to update the plugins and WordPress Themes as well at regular intervals. This is to stress here that every theme or plugin used on the site acts as a backdoor to the site’s admin and any security hole here is a bliss for the hackers.
7. Download from premium sources
If you are planning to download the WordPress Templates, themes or plug-ins, make sure to download from premium sites only. The reputed sources take the security matter very seriously and only offer secured, bug-fixed versions of themes or plugins.
8. Remove unused plugins & themes
You must also make sure to remove the unused plugins & WordPress Themes that you aren’t using any more. It’s because if they are not that needful to you, you won’t bother updating them which brings in the same concept of security holes in dated versions and great opportunities for hackers. Thus, by deleting these unused themes and plugins, you would be in a much better position to prevent hacking threats to your WordPress site.
9. Change the file permissions
This is another important tip to take care of when it’s about WordPress security from hackers. The tech gurus around have suggested avoiding directory configurations with the usual 777 permissions. Rather, a smarter and better deal would be to go for 750 or 755. 777 means an open invitation to just anybody, including hackers to enter & do anything they wish to with your file contents.
10. Limit access for freelancers
If your WordPress site receives contents from freelancers, you have to be really careful with usage authorization as there have been cases where the site owners were hacked by these freelancers after the payment is paid to them. To avoid that, you must-
- Once the freelancer submits his or her content to you, you must make sure to remove the usage authorization access from your freelancer.
- Offer random password to your freelancer & never give him or her the one used by you as the webmaster.
- Restrict authorization/permission capacity for the freelancer to limit his/her control over your WordPress site.
11. Limit the number of logins
Hackers on their way to crack your password will relentlessly try on several login attempts till they are finally able to. Thus, it would be wiser to set limitations on the login attempts so that the hackers can’t be consistent with their chances and finally discouraged to get into your site. This is to note here that today you have plugins that can limit the number of login efforts from the same IP to keep your site safe from unwanted login attempts.
12. SSL encryption
Use private SSL encryption to secure the WordPress admin login as well as area, posts & more. The encryption layer on the login sessions ensures harder password interception or the hacker and better security for you. Some hosting service providers offer free SSL certificates with hosting plans. So, if you have still not launched your WP site or is planning to change your web host, go for a company that assures SSL certificates.
13. Regular backup of WordPress site
You have to be careful about a regular backup of your WordPress site. It is especially important if your site had been hacked before. No lax here. The good news is that there is a wide range of plugins around which can automate the backups for you, saving you all the hard work. You would simply need to set a schedule and the plugins would work automatically. However, you must make sure that your chosen plugin can back the whole site, including every database & directory.
14. Invest in security plugins
The good thing is that there is a good host of security plugins for WordPress sites and you must make sure to invest in some of them.
15. Firewall is important
You must make sure to backup your WordPress site with an additional layer of Firewall protection to safeguard it from the hackers & security breaches.
16. Workstation security
Though often overlooked yet the security system of your computer plays a great role in ensuring the security of your WordPress site because it is through it that you open up your WP platform. Thus, you have to be really particular about your workstation security. So, make sure to update the OS regularly. Don’t forget to update the anti-virus software in your system as well as the browsers. You have to keep the eyes open for any possible vulnerability in your system which might threaten the security of your WordPress site.
17. Security scanner
You have to install a good security scanner for your WordPress site as well. The scanner option will scan the presence of (if any) malicious codes inside your core files and plugins.
18. Be careful about hosting services
This is one of the most vital tips to keep in mind when it comes to safeguarding WordPress from hackers. It must be mentioned that your web host plays a great role in ensuring solid security for your WordPress site. Make sure your chosen web host is very particular about server security and if possible try to avoid shared hosting. It’s because in shared hosting if one site is affected all other sites on the same server would witness the same unfortunate fate. Managed hosting can reduce the hacking chances to a great extent. If dedicated hosting is too costly for you, take to VPS hosting at least.
Your WordPress website is like your virtual representative to your audience and you have to ensure the best possible security for it. Hopefully the exhaustive list of tips mentioned above would ensure a layer of good security for your WP portal against the evil hackers out there.