Last updated on April 19th, 2023 at 02:51 am
WordPress is the most widely used content management system on the planet. It powers a large proportion of the world’s websites, accounting for 43.2% of all websites.
However, due to its popularity, WordPress websites are among the most frequently attacked by hackers. The platform attracts a diverse range of cyber criminals who take advantage of the platform’s security flaws.
Every day, 300,000, new pieces of malware are created and 30,000 websites are hacked worldwide. The scope is vast and a recent attack is launched somewhere on the internet every 39 seconds on average.
As a result, ensuring a website’s safety and security is the most important aspect of any business domain.
When it comes to WordPress, one of the most popular content management systems used by millions of people every day, it becomes even more important to keep it safe and secure from the preying eyes of hackers, viruses, spam, and others.
Even though WordPress is generally regarded as a secure platform, the use of any external themes or third-party plugins/add-ons may compromise the site and expose it to outside hackers.
Even so, when such a situation arises, the developers typically push an update to patch the website’s vulnerabilities from hackers. However, there is a possibility that you could miss other security threats. This may leave your website vulnerable to further attacks.
Why WordPress security matters
Because WordPress is the most popular website builder, it is frequently targeted by hackers. Hackers all over the world are constantly looking for ways to break into a website’s security systems.
A hacked WordPress site can seriously harm your company’s revenue and reputation. Hackers can steal sensitive information, install malicious software and even distribute malware to your users.
These security concerns may jeopardize your customers’ personal information. Worse, you may be forced to pay ransomware to hackers to regain access to your website.
Cybercrime damages could cost up to $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. You don’t want to be a hacker target, this is why it is critical to keep your WordPress website secure.
WordPress security vulnerabilities
Some of the most common types of WordPress security vulnerabilities include:
i). Cross-site request forgery (CSRF)- This compels users to perform unwanted actions within a trusted web application
ii). Structured query language (SQL). – causes the system to execute malicious SQL queries and manipulate database data.
iii). Cross-site scripting – injects malicious code into a website, converting it into a website, converting it into a malware transporter.
iv). A distributed denial of service (DDOS) – attack disables online services by flooding them with unwanted connections making a site inaccessible.
v). Authentication bypass – enables hackers to access your website’s resources without first verifying their identity.
vi). Local File Inclusion (LFI) – compels the site to process malicious files that have been placed on the web server.
Best website security practices for WordPress
By default, WordPress core includes some security features. However, this does not guarantee complete security because security breaches can occur due to anything, including a user’s lack of security awareness. As a result, it is best to implement preventative security measures before your website becomes a hacker target.
In this article, we will discuss how to improve WordPress security and protect your site from various cyberattacks. The article will include best practices and tips with or without WordPress plugins.
#1. WordPress security plugins
Using a WordPress security plugin is one of the most important steps in securing your WordPress website. Although WordPress security extends far beyond plugins, they are still an important tool for keeping your website secure.
These security plugins are designed to protect WordPress from targeted cyberattacks. The plugins can increase the likelihood of a successful hack on your website. As a result, selecting the best plugin for your WordPress is critical.
The following are some of the advantages of using a security plugin
- Safeguard confidential data: A security plugin will keep your data and that of your customers safe from hackers.
- Protect your SEO rankings and brand reputation: hacking incidents can have long-term consequences for your search rankings and brand reputation.
- Stop brute force attacks: WordPress security plugins protect your website from brute force attacks.
Choosing the best WordPress security can be difficult, especially with so many options.
Let’s look at some of the best WordPress security plugins and how they can help you safeguard your WordPress website.
Sucuri is a cloud-based security solution that protects your website from attacks, malware infections, DDOS, brute force attempts, and pretty much anything else that could harm it.
This security plugin is one of the most effective WordPress security plugins available. It provides a free basic Sucuri security plugin that assists you in hardening WordPress security and scanning your website for common threats.
Sucuri is a fantastic free WordPress security plugin for websites, but the pro version is an absolute must-have for any website owner.
Also, the Sucuri website firewall blocks malicious traffic before it reaches your server. They also use their CDN. aside from security, their DNS level firewall with CDN provides a significant performance boost and accelerates your website.
This is a free WordPress security plugin with incredible features that will prevent hackers from breaching your website. It also has a paid version with additional security features.
The plugin will scan your website for common threats automatically, but you can also run a full scan at any time. If any signs of a security breach are detected, you will be notified and given instructions on how to resolve them.
Wordfence also includes a WordPress firewall. However, this firewall is activated on your server just before WordPress is loaded. As a result, it is less effective than a DNS-level firewall such as Sucuri.
03). iThemes security
iThemes security is a tool that is one of the most trusted and popular among WordPress users.
It includes fire integrity checks, security hardening, login attempts limits, strong password enforcement, 404 detections, brute force protection, and other features.
A website firewall is not included with iThemes security. It also lacks its malware scanner, instead relying on Sucuri’s site check malware scanner
This is widely regarded as one of the best WordPress plugins available and for good reason. It provides a simple, all-in-one solution for site security, performance, and improved content management.
Jetpack’s free version provides basic security features such as spam malware blocking, brute force login protection, a simple activity log, site statistics reporting, and plugin auto updates.
However, its premium plan includes daily malware scans, and priority support if you experience any issues with functionality. One feature that distinguishes Jetpack’s premium plan from other plugins is the ability to back up your site in real-time and restore it to any point with a single click.
05). All-in-one WordPress security
This is one WordPress security is a robust security auditing, monitoring, and firewall plugin for WordPress. It makes it simple to implement basic WordPress security best practices on your website.
The plugin is popular and available for free.
It has an adds on which includes malware and vulnerability scanning, login protection, comment spam protection, user monitoring, database backups, a firewall, and other ways to harden your website for its low price.
Its level of protection is exceptional, elevating the security of your WordPress site to new heights.
#2. Install SSL certificate
Installing an SSL certificate is another way to ensure WordPress website security.
A secure sockets layer(SSL) is a data transfer protocol that encrypts data exchanged between a website and its visitors, making it more difficult for attackers to steal sensitive information.
Furthermore, SSL certificates improve the WordPress site’s search engine optimization(SEO), allowing it to attract more visitors.
It is easy to identify websites with an SSL certificate installed because they use HTTPS instead HTTP.
How SSL certificates work
SSL protects data transferred between users and websites, or between two systems, by making it impossible to read.
It employs encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit, preventing hackers from reading it as it travels across the network.
Names, addresses, credit card numbers, and other financial details are examples of potentially sensitive data.
#3. Use trusted WordPress themes
It is critical to select the right theme for your WordPress website. However, looking for a beautifully designed layout that incorporates the features your website requires isn’t enough.
It’s also critical to consider security. It makes no difference how well-coded your WordPress theme is if it exposes your website to threats.
WordPress themes, and likes apps, are managed and monitored by different developers. While some developers continue to provide regular updates on their themes, others don’t give a hoot about them.
Some WordPress themes have numerous security flaws. For example, malicious code, such as malware and spam links, may be inserted.
Furthermore, these themes can act as backdoors to other exploits that can compromise your WordPress site.
To avoid becoming a hacker target, we recommend using a WordPress theme from a reputable developer.
Also, you can check out third-party themes and official theme marketplaces where thousands of premium themes are available.
#4. Update the WordPress version regularly
WordPress releases software updates regularly to improve performance and security. These updates also safeguard your website against cyber threats.
Every WordPress update includes release notes that detail what has been fixed and changed. Hackers read the release notes before attempting to exploit them by searching for sites that have not yet been updated. Your website has known vulnerabilities if it runs an older WordPress version.
Updating your WordPress version is one of the simplest ways to improve WordPress security.
#5. Remove unused WordPress plugins and themes
Having unused plugins and themes on the site can be dangerous, especially if they haven’t been updated.
Hackers can use outdated plugins and themes to gain access to your site, increasing the risk of cyberattacks.
Securing a WordPress site is a continuous process. Because cyber attacks are constantly evolving, you must constantly reevaluate them. The risk will always exist, but you can mitigate it by using WordPress security measures.