10 ways to harden the WordPress security of your website
Did you know that WordPress powers almost 30% of the world’s top websites? If these figures are something to go by, then you can imagine the scale of destruction a hacker could cause if he/she found a vulnerability that could potentially compromise the WordPress security of any of these websites.
Not just the top websites, but every website is susceptible to a breach of security, and regaining lost data, site ranking, and ensuring the safety of your users becomes a cumbersome, tedious and expensive task.
Hardening the security of your WordPress website is hence extremely vital to the safety of yours and your users’ sensitive and private data. We are listing out the top 10 ways in which you can do this, thus protecting your website.
Ways to Harden WordPress Website Security
Tough Usernames and Passwords
Never use a simple password or username. The most common mistake that WordPress site users make is to create simple login credentials. Try to avoid using combinations like your name, birth dates, anniversary dates, or simply ‘1234’. Instead, use a combination of uppercase and lowercase alphabets, numbers and special characters.
Keep random sequences of characters and change these often. If you can’t remember your credentials, then write them down somewhere in your phone or a notebook that you always keep on you.
Keeping Plugins Updated
WordPress regularly updates its plugins for a very important reason – to tackle any security issues and other concerns and make the plugin safer. Hence, it is vital to keep your plugins updated regularly.
Whenever an update becomes available for a plugin, download and installs it immediately. This will ensure that your plugin isn’t at a risk of attack.
Using Security Plugins
WordPress also offers a range of security plugins that work to ensure your website’s safety. These plugins prevent a variety of attacks and also inform you if anyone attempted to hack into your server.
This enables you to take extra safety and precautionary measures to harden the security of your website. Always pick a WordPress security plugin that has been tried and proven to be effective. Also, consider using a combination of multiple plugins.
Always Backup Your Website
This is a very important activity to protect your data in case of a security breach. In the event that your website loses all its data, the backup can restore everything to the last version that was backed up. This saves you time and money in creating your website from scratch and also prevents your rankings from plummeting.
Did you know that companies have gone out of business after their websites crashed because they had not backed up their data? It is impossible to create a website from scratch and be back to your original ranking, so create regular backups.
Remove Unused Plugins and Themes
This is an important housekeeping activity that you must perform on your website regularly. Keep your website updated with only those plugins and themes that you use. Getting rid of unused ones not only optimizes your site speed but also reduces potential security concerns.
A plugin that’s just sitting on your website unused and unupdated can be a threat to your site’s security.
Use Two-factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a commonly-used security measure that requires double authentication to allow logging into your website. The first step is, naturally, the username and password. Then the website goes to the second step, which is typically sending a code or link to your phone or email which you enter to log in. This prevents unauthorized login attempts, securing your website further.
Limit Login Attempts
If a hacker is attempting to log in to your website, chances are they will make multiple attempts to get the combinations right. You can add a limit to your login attempts by installing plugins like Login Lockdown, Jetpack Protect or Limit Login Attempts. This will automatically prevent a user from logging in for a certain time period after a particular number of attempts. This will deter determined hackers from attempting to breach your website.
Disable File Editing
Disabling file editing prevents people from accessing or editing your dashboard. By disabling the File Editing feature, you can limit the dashboard access to certain people only. This will prohibit hackers, who have breached your website from a brute force attack, from accessing and making any changes to your website.
Use SSL Certificates
SSL stands for secure socket layer. An SSL certificate encrypts the information that is exchanged between the server and browser, which makes it impossible to breach or crack. This information is otherwise available in plain text, which compromises your site security. There are plenty of free SSL certificate providers which you can use for hardening the security of your website.
Hide PHP Errors
PHP errors can be displayed on the front end of your website by adding define ( ‘WP_DEBUG’; true); to your website’s wp-config.php file. Although this is useful for developers, you should always hide this information for a public facing website. This type of data can help experienced hackers breach your website and alter it from within.
Conclusion on WordPress security
Hardening the security of your website is extremely important for a number of reasons. WordPress offers a number of plugins to protect your website and ensure that it is secure. Follow these tips and techniques to prevent hackers from attempting to breach your website and keep it safe.