WordPress security: 7 essential steps (2020)
If your WordPress site is hacked, you might lose your clients, funds, and reputation overnight. In this article, you'll find useful tips on how to protect yourself against hackers with affordable and accessible tools.
If your site runs on WordPress, you might become an easy target for hackers. All WP sites are built on identical templates and function on identical principles, which is the main reason for their popularity. But this very trait makes them vulnerable for attacks — once a hacker knows the vulnerabilities of your site, they will be able to assault hundreds of others. In case your site is hacked, you might lose everything overnight: funds, clients, reputation.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time or effort to defend yourself against hackers. Diverse safety solutions are available at no cost, and you don't need to be a geek to deploy them. Below, you'll find valuable tips that will help you enhance the safety level of your WordPress project and ensure reliable protection to your online presence.
You shouldn't fully rely on the statement that WordPress auto-updates itself as soon as a fresher version is available.
It's true that the system automatically deploys minor updates. But in the case of major updates, you will be required to update the website manually.
Numerous themes and plugins that WordPress site owners use for their projects were built by third parties. Each of them has its individual update schedule, and you should check and deploy their freshest versions manually.
The older the item, the more vulnerable it is to hacking attacks. This is a universal rule that applies with equal efficiency to WordPress, your browser, your operating system, and your computer.
To maximize your degree of protection, you should update all the components timely and regularly.
Rule number one: never introduce the same password to all the services and platforms you use. An ideal password contains 8 characters or more, including numbers, small and capital letters. Instead of using your pet's name or your idol's birth date as your password, invent a random string of nonsense that no one can guess or use a password generator.
WordPress allows you to defend yourself from violators with multiple passwords. Feel free to invent a unique combination of letters and numbers for each of the subsequent components:
- Administration section
- FTP accounts
- Hosting account
- Email (the one linked to your web project)
To generate and store your passwords, download 1Password or other similar programs. It's trusted, simple to handle, and has an intuitive interface.
Here, you will find further useful insight on How to Secure Yourself Against Data Breaches with the help of additional software. It's a vital topic, but we need to move on with the tips.
It allows you to lock down selected areas of your project — the ones that are most often attacked by violators. In case someone tries to access the system, you will receive an email notification. The plugin will check the integrity of your site, audit its logs, and perform many other functions to keep the intruders away.
Many powerful and efficient plugins are distributed for free — such as Sucuri. Its main functionality is available at no cost, and if you want, you can pay extra to update some of its features.
Backups don't quite protect you from attacks but allow you to recover rapidly and without excessive losses. First, install a plugin to create backups — consider, for instance, UpdraftPlus or VaultPress. Second, choose a storage for these backups — it should be different from your hosting account. Stash, Dropbox, Amazon serve as convenient examples of storage services.
The optimum frequency of creating backups depends on how often you update your site. The minimum frequency should be once every 24 hours. If it's necessary, you can create backups in real time.
This tool detects and blocks suspicious traffic long before it reaches your webpage. The firewalls that work on the application level inspect the traffic as soon as it reaches the server. They prevent you from downloading malware to your WordPress scripts. DNS level website firewalls are more efficient: they use cloud proxy servers to separate genuine traffic from malicious one. Like this, only trusted traffic can attain your server.
Hackers might target not directly your site but the server it connects to. For this reason, it's crucial to entrust your project to a hosting service whose team meet the following criteria:
- Have a modern and efficient toolkit to withstand DDOS attacks
- Systematically update their server hardware and software, so that intruders can't exploit the weak points that they discovered earlier
- Regularly inspect their network in search for suspicious symptoms
- Have ready-to-use recovery plans that guarantee the safety of all the data in any emergency
When choosing a hosting solution, opt for a managed service. Managed hosting services feature automated updates and backups, so your data won't be erased as a result of an assault.
Most payment apps feature this option, and WordPress includes it as well — so please feel free to enable through the settings. If you log in to your account but remain inactive for a certain period, the system automatically logs you out. Like this, an intruder won't get a chance to enter your account, reconfigure your settings, and steal your identity.
Hopefully, these recommendations came in handy and you will use the advice from this review to ensure the maximum level of protection for your web project. If you need more comprehensive guidelines for any of the bullet points, you can always google them. It won't take you too much time to improve the security of your WordPress project, and this small effort will save your funds and reputation.
About the author:
Naomi Stone is a cybersecurity enthusiast and Mac aficionado. She’s passionate about covering topics like Mac cybersecurity, Mac tips & hacks, Mac’s how-to guides. She is a contributor to Cyber Experts and Cybers Guards. Find her on Twitter.