WordPress is a widely used platform to build or develop websites. It accounts for more than 30% of sites available currently on the internet. Though it proffers various security features, in recent times, it was highly targeted by hackers. There is no denying that websites of WordPress are secure. However, when we use the plug-ins, themes, etc. it makes our website vulnerable to various hacks and attacks. WordPress is one of the most popular websites, and it is immensely prone to hacking if you don’t secure the WordPress website. As an end to end-users, there are a couple of things you must do to protect your website.
If WordPress is safe, then why do we need to make efforts to secure the WordPress website?
As mentioned earlier, by default, WordPress is highly exceedingly secured. But, when we install plug-ins, themes, or host it, it becomes vulnerable. The vulnerabilities which affect most of the owners stem from the extensible parts of the platform, especially themes and plug-ins. These two are the No.1 vector of attack being utilized by the hackers to misuse or hack your website.
The majority of the themes and plug-ins are not highly versed when it comes to security. Therefore these vulnerabilities are done intentionally; they are just the result of mistakes and some errors. The developers usually address and fix these vulnerabilities by introducing various updates.
Hackers intend to hack these websites for personal gain, which is usually in the form of generating the backlinks to spammy sites or companies. Sometimes the hacking process is done so sophisticated that you won’t even realize that you’re hacked, or there is a backdoor that is installed on your website for a very long time.
However, the owner of the website starts losing the traffic due to SEO penalty, and by the time they realize it is unusual or abnormal, it’s too late. In the worst-case scenario, your website can possibly be blacklisted by the prominent blacklist authority. It will result in the loss of significant time and money to get back your website from the blacklist.
14 Proven Tips To Secure WordPress Website
Below are some of the proven tactics and methodologies which you can implement in order to secure the WordPress website. Let’s take a deep dive into the 14 methods, which will definitely elude the risk factor of getting hackers to invade your website.
It is immensely recommended to have the proper WordPress backup solution if you have not yet. It is because one of the biggest sites like Dropbox and Sony, can be hacked. It will not be that arduous for the hackers to invade your website too. So, the fits that you need to make sure you are getting daily backups of your blogs. You can use the system of backup proffered by your hosting company. If that does not work out, you can also go for third party backups systems like Updraftplus and Vaultpress. Make sure the backups service proffered by your hosting companies saves that data into different servers.
2. Use a Reliable and Secure Hosting Company
The installation of your WordPress is only the software that is installed on the servers. The substructure of a secured website is a server that is capable enough to ensure that your website is protected against hackers.
- A secured hosting must include,
- Regular updates on the operating system.
- Apply the latest security patches.
- Server level firewall which can diminish DDOS attacks.
- Intrusion detection system which helps in detecting the policy violations and malicious activity.
It’s a bit bewildering to figure out which hosting can be the best for your website, which is reliable enough to defend the hackers. Therefore, we have created an array of secured WordPress hosting companies.
1. Kinsta hosting– This one best fits for you if you have a blog website with tremendous traffic. There are various big websites who are using the same.
2. Bluehost- It is considered as one of the top-graded hosts which proffers excellent security. It is chosen by a lot of people to secure wordpress websites.
3. Sitground- It’s an award-winning hosting that utilizes an anti-bot AI system in order to prevent attacks and ransomware.
4. WPEngine- It offers a great backup service with different servers. WPEngine provides high-level security and backups at multiple levels.
You can undoubtedly switch to any of the above hostings if your current hosting does not meet your expectations or requirements. Move to any one of these, and you will be able to witness a huge difference.
3. Always keep updated With Latest WordPress Version
Never forget to keep up with the latest version of WordPress, it’s basically a security tip for all kinds of users. This is something; you should never miss out whether you have a top graded hosting. Whenever WordPress delivers updates, it means they have fixed the bugs or errors in the software. It can also be some extra steps taken by WordPress to make it more secure and reliable.
Whenever you come across the message “WordPress x.x.x is available,” Update it.
Also, make sure that the theme and all the plug-ins are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. It is recommended to wait 5-6 days after when WordPress launches an update. You should wait before the other users stop reporting the errors or bugs in the latest version.
4. Update WordPress Plugins
As mentioned earlier, WordPress rolls out the updates from time to time to fix security holes and various bugs, and the same applies to the plug-ins.
A WordPress plug-in or a third-party script can possibly develop a security hole in your website. We have already seen such issues in the “Timethumb” vulnerability as well. It is because the script and the bunch of plug-ins that were using the script turned out to be vulnerable. These type of Zero-day vulnerability is tough to ignore. In order to secure wordpress website, it is recommended to limit the number of plug-ins, themes, and script.
You must use the plug-ins, which come with reliable support and get updated from time to time. If you have been using a plug-in that has not been updated for a long time, you should find a replacement for it.
5. Use The Latest Version of PHP
PHP is considered as the backbone of the WordPress website. The latest version of the PHP is 7.3. As per the stats of official PHP, they provide security support to all stable versions of PHP for at least two years. This means if you are using the older version of PHP, you will not be able to grab these benefits. It has been researched that around 71.8% of WordPress website owners are still using the outdated version of the website.
You can easily change your PHP version in no time, varying upon the hosting environment you are using. We strongly recommend you build a staging environment and then begin with the testing of the latest PHP version. This is to make sure about the compatibility as at the time, outdated themes and plug-ins could cause a severe issue. This is one of the major steps falls down in the methods to secure wordpress website
6. Use Web Application Firewall (WAF)
A firewall takes place in the network traffic and hosting server. The firewall works by filtering out the common threat before it reaches the machine hosted with your WordPress website.
There are three most common types of firewall solutions which you can use on WordPress.
1. At the host level- It is hosted on the level of a web application, and in our case, it’s none other than WordPress. It is not suggested as eventually, your host needs to do loads of lifting or filtering out the traffic. It is undoubtedly better than the network-based WAF. Talking about the local resources it requires, it’s not the best option.
2. At the network level- It is usually stored on the network level or the machine level or network level. It only works when you host your WordPress website at the data center, which you own. This is one of the most costly options and usually preferred by enterprises. Such enterprises have control over the physical space, the space where the server is installed.
3. Cloud-based WAF- The cloud-based WAF are generally applied at the DNS level, which helps in filtering the most common type of threats even before it comes to hit the servers of your WordPress. This method is way easier to apply and pretty much economical as well. It’s only downside is, it may be obligatory to change the DNS.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of threats that re-identified by the WAF are SQL injection attacks, buffer overflows, cross-site scripting (XXS) attacks, and the session hijacking. It is a level 7 protocol defense in the model of OSI.
There are two immensely suggested services which you can use to implement the WA.
Sucuri- Price starts at $9.99 a month
Cloudflare- Starts at $20 a month
It’s an exceedingly recommended feature of WordPress security, especially for the Woocommerce and WordPress websites that are made for business purposes. Choose any of those and secure a wordpress website.
7. Hide WordPress Version
Suppose you are out of time, and you don’t have those 2 minutes in order to update your WordPress core files. The listed version of the WordPress can spark an idea for the hacker to invade your website. If you are using an older version of WordPress and everyone can see it, you are doomed.
There plenty of free and paid themes available that can figure it out and get you rid of it in no time. But, make sure to head over to the functions.php and add the following line,
8. Use the complex login password
Mentioning this one was not necessary, but there are still some of the people who use ingenious and tremendously complex passwords such as,
These are way too complex to crack.
Please never forget to make your passwords stronger and complex. You must add a couple of special characters, digits, and some capital words too and keep changing the password every 5 or 6 months. Those easy-peasy are not going to get the job done to secure wordpress website.
It is also recommended to go for a plug-in, which is called login lockdown. This plug-in is highly beneficial; it records all of the timestamps and IPs of the failed attempts of logins. You will be notified whenever someone tries to invade your website with the help of this utmost plug-in.
9. Change the login URL of WordPress
By changing the login URL of WordPress, you prevent yourself from tons of attempts of hacking or various attacks. By changing the page of login, you will be offered a great deal of help, especially if you are someone who has a handful of the people.
10. Set Google Alert For Indexed Pages
Most of the people are not aware of this trick, you can use the feature, ‘Google Alert’ which keeps sending the alerts whenever it crawls or indexes a new page on your domain. There are times when the hackers of WordPress add new posts and pages which are not shown in the frontend and backend but still get crawled in Google.
By setting up these types of alerts, you will come to know if something unusual is happening without your notice or awareness. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes to set up, and it is absolutely free.
Here is how you can get started with it.
Get to the Google Alerts
In the section of “Create an alert about”, add the desired site:domain.com
Now, change ‘How often’ to ‘As it happens’,the language to “any language” and change ‘how many’ to the ‘all results’. That’s done, now you are all set to exploit its benefits.
Now you will be able to get the notifications and alerts whenever a new page gets indexed or crawled in the search engine.
11. Delete Default admin user
It is one of the most vital tips for those who are looking forward to creating a protected and secured WordPress blog. In order to secure wordpress websites, the default “admin” username is highly prone to brute-force attacks and high jacks. It is because most people never consider changing it.
Whenever you install the WordPress, make sure you use a distinctive username instead of being stuck to the same old username ‘Admin.’
With the help of administrator rights, you can create a new username and lend the new administrator a nickname which is going to be published if he or she writes a new post or blog. Now the next step is to log out and then log back into the new admin account, which you created and remove the old user ‘admin.’
Ensure that you have attributed all of the usernames and links to the new user which you created recently.
12. Check out the folders of WordPress in the File permissions
Open the cpanel and head over to the file manager. You can also sign in to your FTP software and check out the whole of the files attributed to the folder of WordPress.
If it turns out as 744 (read-only), you are all safe. If you find it to be 777, you are exceedingly lucky that you have not been hacked yet.
Ensure you verify all the permissions of files after you migrate the hosting. Most of the bloggers do not realize that the authorities of files also get changed when they change their hosting.
13. Hide the directory of plug-ins
The folder of plug-ins/wp-content//plugins should not be following the folder’s list and all the files placed inside it.
Head over to the folders of plug-in and replace the domain.com with the name of your domain.
If you witness the list of folders, you will need to hide them asap.
In order to secure wordpress website and hide those folders, you will be required to create a new .htaccess file and then drop it in the directory of your plug-ins.
If you have an accurate and well written .htaccess file in the directory of your root, then adding a separate .htaccess to another folder will not cause any damage or harm.
14. Turn off the database error
If you are using an older version of the WordPress, then you will be able to come across all of the errors even if there are errors in the MySQL database. It will also proffer the valuable information of the hacker about your database.
We hope this guide has helped you enough to figure out how to secure WordPress website. Implement all the methods listed above and elude the complexions you most people face while trying to secure their website. Again, it’s a great idea to always take the backups of your blog at intervals to ensure you roll back to your blogs in healthy conditions. Kindly let us know what other suggestions you would like to give a blogger to keep their blogs and secured from the cybercriminals. Share your ideas or methods in the comment section and don’t forget to share and bookmark the post.