10 Essential WordPress Security Tips to Protect Your Website in 2023
WordPress is a popular content management system used by bloggers, small businesses, large enterprises, and even governments. The availability of a rich library of plugins, themes, and various other tools has proved to be beneficial to create a website on the go and therefore WordPress sites have become targets for hackers who try to exploit the vulnerabilities in the platform. Hence, it is quite essential to protect your WordPress site from data theft and other security-related issues. WordPress security is very much essential to safeguard your site, your users, and your reputation. Practices like timely updating the components, using strong passwords, using security plugins, etc can keep your website safe and secure making it less prone to malicious attacks.
Ways to secure your WordPress site
The following expert tips can help you secure your WordPress site from security breaches and malicious attacks:.
Keeping all plugins and themes updated
Keeping all the themes, plugins, and software of your WordPress website is quite important to maintain the proper security of your WordPress website. This is very important to prevent your website from security breaches and other vulnerabilities. During the release of updates by developers, they include security patches that are mainly targeted to fix the security issues which could be easily exploited by hackers. If you have your WordPress plugins and themes updated then the hackers find it quite difficult to gain access to your site. Usually, hackers tend to look for loopholes in websites so that they can get access to sensitive information. Then they inject viruses and other malware, finally taking full control of your site. If your themes and plugins are outdated, then this poses a huge risk for your website as these are the main areas of target for hackers. So, always keep on updating the themes and plugins of your website from time to time so that you can have a smooth-running website and you can also protect your website from hackers
Using strong passwords
For your WordPress website, it is extremely important unauthorized access to your WordPress website. Passwords are considered to be the first level of defense against security breaches and other vulnerabilities. You can use password managers like LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, and KeePass to generate strong passwords. But you need to keep a track record of the kind of security they are providing. If you opt to create strong passwords manually then make sure the password is unique and complex so that there is a chance of your website getting compromised. While creating passwords, always avoid things like date of birth, phone numbers, and commonly used words and phrases. While trying to create complex passwords make sure the length of the characters is at least 12 and always combine uppercase, lowercase, special characters, and numbers. This way it will be difficult for the hackers to crack your password. Your password will also be free from brute-force attacks.
Limit login attempts and use two-factor authenticationTo protect your website from brute force attacks, you need to limit the number of login attempts. Enable the two-factor authentication system so that users can log in with a code sent to their phone or email. By default, WordPress allows multiple logins from users but this way it becomes quite easy for the hackers to guess the password from the multiple inputs. You can use a plugin called “ WP Limit Login Attempts” which automatically limits the number of attempts made from a specific IP address and then blocks the user once the maximum limit is reached. Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires the user to input a code generated by a separate device like a smartphone apart from the username and password. Even if your password is cracked, it is impossible to bypass the 2FA, and thus your website remains protected.
Use a reliable security pluginThere are tons of security plugins from the WordPress repository and the third-party marketplace. But you need to be a bit careful while choosing a security plugin as there is so much risk attached to it. If you choose reliable security plugins you can protect your website from malware, brute-force attacks, and other vulnerabilities. Look for firewall protection in the plugin so that malicious traffic can be blocked before it reaches your website. Similarly, the plugin must have a malware scanner that can scan for infected files on your website from time to time. Besides these, use plugins that offer features like login protection, and spam protection and give you regular updates and support. You can install plugins like Wordfence Security, Sucuri Security, iThemes Security, and All In One WP Security & Firewall which are very reliable plugins.
Regular backup of your websiteYou can easily restore your website if you maintain regular backups of your website in case it is compromised. Regularly backing up your website is a crucial step in protecting your WordPress website. A backup is essentially a copy of your website’s data that you can use to restore your site in case of a security breach, server crash, or any other disaster. To create backups, you can use a backup plugin or create manual backups by downloading files from your website. You can also schedule a backup according to your website’s update frequency. Try storing your backup files on a remote server so that even if your server fails, your files remain unharmed. It is also crucial to check the backups regularly to ensure there are no missing files. You can use plugins like UpdraftPlus, Jetpack Backup, BackupBuddy, and VaultPress which are developed for this particular purpose.
Installing an SSL certificate and using HTTPSThe data transmitted between your website and your visitors need to be secured hence, installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is crucial to protect your WordPress website. Installing an SSL certificate and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) can protect sensitive information like credit card details from getting leaked. You need to purchase an SSL certificate from a reputable provider. Many WordPress hosting service providers offer SSL certificates for free. So, first, confirm with your provider whether they are providing the same or not. If you are getting it free you will get instructions regarding the installation process else you can use plugins like Really Simple SSL or Let’s Encrypt to install it. Also, make sure that all the internal links of your website use HTTPS, and then test your website using tools like Why No Padlock or SSL Server Test to ensure a proper SLL configuration. Google always favors HTTP websites and this can help your website get a boost from SERPs.
Remove unwanted users and plugins from your websiteHackers can exploit vulnerabilities in user accounts that are inactive for a long time. You need to remove these unnecessary users from your website immediately as this is a very crucial step in securing your website. Also, remove outdated plugins from your website which you consider unnecessary. Access the plugins section from your WordPress dashboard and search for plugins that are no longer in use. You can deactivate these plugins or delete them permanently as they can cause major vulnerabilities. Always try to keep the plugins updated as the updates contain security patches that will prevent your website from vulnerabilities. Also, remember to use reputable plugins on your website that have high reviews. You can use plugins like WP Security Audit Log to keep track of suspicious plugins.
Secure your wp-config.php fileThere is a file in your WordPress website known as the wp-config.php file. It contains sensitive information such as login details and database credentials and is very important to protect it from unauthorized access.You can add the following lines of code to your .htacces file and add an extra layer of protection to this file: <files wp-config.php> order allow, deny deny from all </files> Make sure to move the wp-config.php file to the root directory of your WordPress installation to prevent its access from a direct URL and make it read-only for users by setting the file permissions to 400 or 440.
Spam Protection:Protection of a WordPress Website from spam is very much necessary in order to prevent unwanted comments. You can install these anti-spam WordPress plugins like Akismet, Spam Protection by CleanTalk, WP-SpamShield, Anti-Spam Bee, Gravity Forms, etc to filter spam comments. You can also use the Google Recaptcha tool in order to keep automated bots away from your website who are responsible for spam posts. Enable the comment moderation option so that you can moderate spam comments before they are published on your website. Also, disable comments on older posts as they are more vulnerable to spam comments. Using content filters can help you filter certain keywords and phrases that spammers tend to use. A firewall can be pretty useful to prevent your website from spam attacks.
Choosing a reliable hosting provider:
Selecting a reliable hosting provider is very essential from a security point of view and can protect your websites from several security threats like DDoS attacks and other phishing attacks. Find a provider that offers your security features like malware scanning, security firewall, SSL certificates, and malware scans. Choose a provider on the basis of reviews given by their existing customers. Make sure that the hosting provider provides 24 x 7 customer support so that in case of any types of issues you can reach out to them. There is one more important thing to consider and that is the hosting provider’s server location. Make sure the provider you choose has a server close to your target audience so that you get a faster loading time and a good user experience. Of course, you have to consider the budget too. Compare the plans of various WordPresss hosting providers before making the final decision. Choose a provider that offers good gestures at a reasonable price.