Internet
Hackers are looking for weaknesses in your cyber security. Photo Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images Israel

Hackers are looking for weaknesses in your cyber security. Photo Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images Israel

10 security tips to protect your wordpress website from hackers

Do you want a site that is easily manageable, easy to use, SEO friendly and secure? WordPress is probably the best bet for you, but you still need to know how to secure it properly.


If it didn’t occur to you then allow me to remind you that WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) out there seeing as how it powers more than 27% of the world’s websites and has a massive online community.

However, that fame and glory comes with a price. Having such an elevated status makes WordPress an easy target for hackers, DDoS and brute force attacks. Thankfully, the WP community works tirelessly to beef up security as best as it can.

With that being said, I am going to share a bunch of tried and proven security tips that will fortify your WordPress site’s guard up against any attack for a long time.

  1. Avoid Using So Many Plugins

While plugins and themes extend the functionalities of your website, it is not a good idea to have so many at once. It is not just in terms of security that I mention this but also regarding the speed and performance of it as well.

You don’t need to have two plugins that perform the same duty. Only go with the ones that are recently updated and the most downloaded. Be sure to choose the plugins that fit your desired criteria and just roll with that. Doing this will lessen the chances for hackers to gain access to your info.

2. Two-Factor Authentication Login

The infamous two-factor authentication is one of the simplest, but highly effective tactics of fending off brute force attacks. For this method, you need two things; a password and an authorization code that is sent to your phone via SMS as an extra precautionary step to help you log into your site.

Some of the best plugins that make use of this feature are Clef, Duo Two-Factor Authentication, and Google Authenticator.

3. Ensure Platforms and Scripts are Up-to-Date

Keeping your stuff updated, including platforms and scripts is another way of protecting your site from potential hacking incidents. The reason why this is to be done is because most of the tools are made as open-source software programs. This means that their code is up for grabs for both developers and hackers.

As such, hackers are able to security loopholes around those codes and find a way to invade your site. And all they have to do is to exploit the weaknesses of a platform and a script. That’s why it is always to have the latest versions of both your platforms and scripts installed.

4. SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks are also something worth considering. Attackers can gain access or manipulate your data by using a web form field or URL parameter. This can happen if you use standard Transact-SQL, which is then easy for attackers to insert a rogue code into your query.

If successful, the attackers will be able to get valuable online info or even delete your data. So in retaliation, you must use parameterised queries. Fortunately, this is a common feature for most web languages and is quite easy to apply.

5. Utilize Automatic Core Updates

I know I have mentioned the importance of updating your stuff earlier, but it is better to reinforce that statement for the sake of your own site’s safety. Considering how often hackers make hundreds of attempts to intrude your site, WordPress has to constantly dish out new updates.

It is here that maintaining your website can become quite the chore. So to spare yourself the extra effort, it would be best to automate those updates. It is less stressful and can help you focus on other aspects of your WordPress site. But major updates are something that you have to focus on greatly.

You have to insert a kind of code into your wp-config.php file in order to configure your site to install major core updates automatically. To do this, just insert this code in the file and the major updates will commence automatically:

  • # Enable all core updates, including minor and major:
  • define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true );

Be warned, however, as auto updates could break your site, especially if the plugin or theme is not compatible with the latest version.

6. Install Security Plugins

For added security, you can install security plugins from the WordPress plugin directory. You will find a host of amazing free security plugins such as iThemes Security and Bulletproof Security.

Then there is SiteLock, that works well with CMS-managed sites or HTML pages. Not only does it close site security loopholes, but it also provides daily monitoring of everything such as malware detection, vulnerability identification, and active virus scanning among others.

7. Apply Login Limits

Hackers will be desperate and tempting to try and log into your site as many times as they’d want. But you can pull a fast one on them by limiting their login attempts. WP limit login does this quite effectively by blocking the IP addresses of anyone who exceed the number of failed login attempts.

8. Use HTTPS

Every URL that comes with a green HTTPS serves as an indicator to the user that it is safe and secured. This is specifically if the site provides classified or personal information and such.

For example, if you’re running an online store or have a segment that requires visitors to hand over confidential data such as your credit card number, then you must invest in an SSL certificate. It won’t cost you as much as the high level of encryption that it provides your customers with.

9. Get Rid of the Plugin and Theme Editor

Be advised that this point is not for those who routinely update or tweak their plugins and themes. Other than that, you will be far better off disabling the built-in plugin and theme editor if you don’t use it on a regular basis.

Why is this necessary you ask? This is because if the accounts of authorized WordPress users who have access to the editor are hacked, then the editor will have to take down the entire site by modifying the code that this there. All your months of hard work will be gone down the drain just like that.

10. Use CSP

Like SQL injections, site owners have to be wary of cross-site scripting (XSS) attackers. It happens when the attackers manage to slide in malicious JavaScript code into your pages, which then affects your site’s pages and will, in turn, affect users who visit the pages that are exposed to that code.

Parameterized queries are one of the ways to fight such attacks. Make sure the code you use on your site for functions or fields that demand input are as explicit as to what is allowed.

Another great tool is Content Security Policy (CSP). CSP allows you specify the domains of a browser which would normally allow valid sources of executable scripts while on your page. It is so that the browser does not pay any attention to malicious scripts that could infect the computer of your visitor.

Conclusion

And that about wraps up all you need to do to strengthen the security of your WordPress site. The more of the above steps you implement, the better your guard against unauthorized attacks will be.

Photo courtesy: WikiMedia Commons

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