Hackers are eyeing up your website. It’s under constant threat!
Relax, I’m not talking about an imminent threat. But in the present scenario, every website on the internet is at high risk. A little breach in cybersecurity can cause fatal consequences.
Many website owners are already concerned about the issue. Especially, a platform like WordPress is an easy target for cyber goons. Knowing that a big chunk of websites is running on this platform.
We understand, if you have a WordPress site, you might be surfing the question in mind, how to make my wordpress site secure? So, this time we have decided to share some tips on how to secure WordPress site.
Why Is WordPress Security A Concern?
First, to make things clear, WordPress is a secure platform. There is no doubt about WordPress security. Moreover, they provide excellent support and take rapid actions to solve any issue. But as we have mentioned earlier, the issue with being so popular is they grab attention from the evil-eyes as well. According to the Search Engine Journal, 39.5% of websites on the internet use WordPress.
So, it’s only natural that significant attempts are made to break down its security system. Yet, this most popular Content Management System (CMS) fights its best to prevent those attacks.
Even so, you must be defending from your end. There’s a lot you can do to keep your site from being hijacked. Some basic to advanced level practices can help to enhance your website security.
Undoubtedly, you don’t want to put your efforts, word hork, time, and money into the trash. So securing your website is indispensable for you.
How To Secure WordPress Site?
Now, let’s jump into the main discussion. At this point, we will be discussing what are the major aspects that keep your site secure and how they play a vital role in this. Let’s look into WordPress security best practices that you should follow to make your wordpress site secure.
Don’t Hesitate To Invest In A Secure Hosting
Now we will be going into the technicalities of how to secure WordPress site. Imagine, one morning you wake up and realize your entire website is gone. Or, at least a significant part is erased.
Why? Because your website’s files were stored in a “place”, that wasn’t secured. You would lose your mind. And that’s obvious. The “place” I’m talking about is hosting. And You are already perceiving why secure hosting is essential
What is hosting and how is it important for website security?
In simple terms, hosting is a space that stores all your website files (codes, images, data, and everything else). And a hosting provider or company actually allocates that storage space for your website.
Basically, your entire website is placed in the hosting server. Therefore, a vulnerability on the hosting end will put your website at hazard. So, one of your primary priorities has to be choosing a reliable hosting provider. A hosting service that would add extra layers of protection to keep your website safe.
There are certain criteria that a good hosting service usually meets:
You should put all of those criteria in mind before deciding on a hosting provider for your website.
A short note to mention that, usually dedicated hosting servers are more reliable and secure than the shared ones. However, you have to offload your pocket a bit more to get dedicated hosting. But, when your precious asset is at stake, you should consider expanding your budget to avoid a disastrous situation.
A trick to choose a hosting
Sorry, I’m not suggesting any specific hosting company here. But a trick I will surely share with you. You might research popular and secure hosting providers. But there is another thing you can do.
List out some of the websites famous for strong security maintenance. Then check which hosting servers they are using. But how would you find out their hosting names? Hoo’s Hosting can help you with this.
They detect any web hosting company of any given website on the internet. Just copy the URL of a website you find reliable and put it on the Hoo’s Hosting site. They will detect the hosting provider for you! Isn’t it amazing?
The site uses multiple techniques to identify the hosting server accurately. It would be a great solution to find a reliable and secure hosting company for your website.
Install SSL And Move To HTTPS
Websites with SSL certificates are more secure than others. When you enable SSL, your website moves from HTTP to HTTPS. As your website runs over HTTPS, web browsers form a secure connection with the website, and the data transfer between browser and server is encrypted. Therefore, HTTPS is clearly essential for maintaining your website’s security, also for the trust and credibility of the domain. Beyond that, HTTPS is a vital Google ranking factor that affects the SEO of your website too.
How does HTTPS work?
When a browser loads a website, the browser receives SSL certificate of that site through a public key and verifies it. Then the browser and the website handshake to establish the connection. Then they both agree to the encryption type and start transferring data with encrypted codes. Finally, using a private key, the browser end decrypts the data.
To get an SSL certificate, you can directly contact third-party companies, known as the certificate authority. However, these days most of the top WordPress hosting providers offer a free SSL certificate with their services.
Keep Your WordPress Updated
Bugs and flaws are usual for software. And hackers always try to cash on those bugs to sneak into your system. They even invent new ways to breach security.
For that reason, software developers bring updates to their software. With every update, developers fix bugs from previous versions and make few changes to tighten up the security.
Like other software, WordPress core, plugins, and themes come with regular updates. Their latest versions always have advanced security features with bug fixes. Latest version of WordPress core is available at https://wordpress.org. Also, you can update the current version from your dashboard.
Besides, WordPress offers automatic updates. Just enable that feature and the CMS will get automatic updates. Along with WordPress core, updating plugins and themes is important too. Make sure you are using latest version of all the plugins and themes. And they are compatible with the most recent WordPress version.
Use Latest Version of PHP
Majority of WordPress core is written in PHP language. So, using the latest version of PHP is crucial for your WordPress site security.
Using a back-dated PHP version causes serious flaws to your security system. Two-year support is available for each major release of PHP. You will have bugs and security issues fixed during this time. But if you use a back-dated version, you won’t get security support and it can make your website vulnerable.
To get regular support, you must use at least PHP 7.2 or a higher version. Although I will recommend you to use the latest version to get the highest security support with the most advanced protection.
Practices like choosing reliable hosting, updating WordPress regularly, and using the latest PHP versions also help optimize your site. You can get tips to improve website performance from our blog on How to optimize WordPress sites.
Tighten Up “wp-config.php” File Security
The wp-config.php file is the core of WordPress installation. When it comes to your WordPress site’s security, it is the most important file that has vital contents like database login information and security keys involved in the data encryption.
To protect the wp-config.php, you should move the file from its default location. The file is located in the WordPress root directory by default. In order to move the file, first copy the whole file to a new folder above the root directory (public_html). Then rename the file in the new folder, so that no one except your concerns can recognize the file.
Now go back to the original wp-config.php file and replace the entire file content with the following code snippet:
<?php include('/home/new-folder/filename.php'); ?>
Needless to say, the “new folder” and “file name” will be replaced by the names you have set on your WordPress installation.
Finally, once you save the file, your site will start using the new file for the site configuration. There shouldn’t be any issues with moving the wp-config.php file. However, you must still follow the guideline from your hosting provider from root directory.
Use A Strong Password With Tricky Username
If you ask for suggestions on how to secure WordPress site, one of the primary answers will be to strengthen the username and password. A very basic security practice for any platform. Breaking into a website with a weak password and a guessable username is a piece of cake.
Change default username & login URL
The default username for any WordPress site “wp-admin”. This by default sets the login URL to “xyz.com/wp-admin” if your site domain is xyz.com.
Knowing the login URL will do the job half done for hackers. A Powerful brute-force attack can break your security easily. This is why you must change the default username immediately. Changing the username will also change the login URL by default.
Use a complex password
And there are no alternatives to using a strong password. You must use a complex password instead of using random numbers or alphabet. Cybersecurity experts consider a combination of numbers, alphabets, and special characters as strong passwords.
Always remember, a strong password is your first line of defense attempts like brute-force attacks.
Add A Extra Layer of Security With Two-factor Authentication
It’s a two-step verification method to log in to your website. The first step is username and password. The second step is a one-time code sent to your email or phone number.
You may use a very strong password, but there is still a possibility that a shrewd hacker may still crack it. Therefore adding an extra layer of safety is important.
How does two-factor authentication work?
When you enter your login credentials aka username and password, an email or SMS is sent to. The message contains a verification code or a time-based OTP (One-Time Password) or login link.
Only way to complete the login is to enter that verification code or click through that login link. There is no way to log in to the website without having all the credentials. It is very unusual that an attacker would have access to both your website username-password and your personal email or phone.
For these reasons, Two-factor authentication is almost a flawless method to prevent brute force attacks. Thus, using this process will surely be a big boost for your WordPress site security.
Set Limits To Login Attempts
Brute force attack to some extent is a guessing game. Usually, attackers try to crack the password with multiple login attempts. So, let’s cut down the chance. Restrict the number of failed attempts to log in to the site.
With that, one can only try to for a limited number of times with the wrong username or password. Once the limit is crossed, the system will temporarily suspend logging into your website. You can use the web application firewall to limit the login attempt. It will automatically deal with the failed attempts.
Otherwise, you can install a WordPress plugin for the task. The plugin records the IP address and timestamp of each bad login attempt. Using the plugin, you can set a number of maximum login retries. You can also decide the restriction time and how long a specific IP address is blocked from login.
Make Use of Automatic Logout Feature
The hypothetical situation I’m going to describe is actually a frequent occurrence.
Assume, one of your users has malicious software installed on his device. Hackers can easily access that device via the software when the user is inactive. They can steal the session and change the password. Even worse, they can change the website settings and remove all other admins.
That’s a strange situation for you. Although you ensured tight enough security from your end, still you are in trouble. To avoid that situation, you can take advance cautions in the form of automatic log-out for idle users.
In this process, inactive users are automatically logged out of the site after a specific span of time. You will find WordPress plugins to add that feature to your site. It will add an additional measure to keep your site secure.
Take Backup of Your Website Files
Now you know how to secure WordPress site. But wait. There can be a bit of a surprise element. Do we like surprises? Well, at least not in the case of cybersecurity.
Web is a dynamic place. Despite taking all the security measures, evil men on the internet can surprise with new and innovative ways. Hence, the best practice is to take backups of your website files.
There are two ways of taking backups. First one is obvious for WordPress – Plugins. One way is to use plugins. You will find quite a few backup plugins. These plugins integrate your site with cloud storage like Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and so on. These highly reliable cloud services will store your backup data.
Another way is backup through a hosting provider. Many of the hosting services provide backups. You can have a low-cost backup service in this way.
Get A WordPress Security Plugin
Continuous monitoring is an effective way to be aware of malware and security threats. But, everyone out there is not a developer. Or, even if you are, monitoring websites regularly is a time-consuming task. You must have other priorities.
Thankfully, there are WordPress plugins to do the job for you. Security plugin is the 24/7 guard for your website that audits and monitors the site’s security. You can find a lot of WordPress security plugins to protect your website. However, make sure the plugin you use, is trusted and up to date, capable of dealing with advanced security threats.
This is the easiest step to secure your WordPress site. If you don’t want to go deep into the technical details, this one’s for you.
Taking major steps like using secure hosting, regular updates of WordPress, using strong username & password, and so on will definitely boost your website security.
However, website security isn’t a one-time task. In the ever-changing world of the internet, there is no alternative to constant monitoring and scrutiny. Follow the steps described here and keep checking for potential threats. That will do it for you.
You have come here to find the answer to how to secure WordPress site. Hopefully, I have helped you find the answer.
Did you like the article? If you did, you will also like other blogs on WordPress, Elementor, and industry-related topics.
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