Sun Oct 15 2023
WordPress Security Tips for Non-tech Business Owners
WordPress gets attacked around 90,000 times in a minute. At this rate, you can imagine the high chances of your WordPress site getting hacked. This may lead you to wonder why it is the most targeted CMS.
The reason is its increasing popularity; it powers close to 43.2% of the websites on the internet. Also, WordPress offers a rich ecosystem of themes, plugins, and a vibrant community, making it incredibly user-friendly. The popularity and features of this CMS platform attract not only website owners but also those with malicious intent.
The major reasons why a WordPress site’s security gets breached are using poorly coded plugins and themes, weak passwords, neglected backups, etc. Unlike physical premises, you cannot place guards around your site to enhance its security. But armed with the proper knowledge and tools, it is possible to make a site less vulnerable.
Read this blog post to know the tactics helpful in keeping your WordPress site safe and secure.
WordPress security: Best practices to follow
From implementing secure login procedures to performing regular site backups, here are some best WordPress security practices that even a non-tech-savvy website owner can implement. These can largely reduce the number of security loopholes on your site.
Also, there might be situations wherein you might require technical expertise while implementing security protocols for your site. In such cases, you can opt to hire WordPress experts as they very well know the ins and outs of security aspects.
Secure your login procedures
The foremost shield to be used against any hacking attempt is having strong login credentials. Avoid using common passwords (like ‘qwerty,’ ‘123456,’ and so on) including only numeric characters or alphabets. Here are some best practices to ensure your WP login is as secure as possible.
- Change your default administrator name
- Create unique or complex passwords
- Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Limit login attempts
- Utilize SSL encryption to secure data transfer
Update your WordPress version
Keeping your WordPress site updated to the latest version is another crucial step in enhancing security. WordPress regularly releases updates that not only introduce new features and improvements but, more importantly, patch known security vulnerabilities. By following this approach, you can ensure that you are running the latest, most secure WordPress version that can reduce the risk of encountering cyberattacks.
Additionally, a necessary practice before an upgrade is maintaining the site backup. It will ensure that you have a copy of your website if anything goes wrong during the updation process. Once the update is completed, you can delete the backup version from the server to keep it clean.
Install security plugins
Another useful tactic to secure your WordPress website is installing a good security plugin like iThemes Security, Sucuri, and Wordfence. It can help protect your website from common attacks such as brute force login attempts, malware, and SQL injection. These plugins will handle security-related manual tasks like scanning your website for infiltration attempts. Also, remember to ensure the plugins you choose are well-established and legitimate.
SSL encrypts the connection between the website and visitors’ web browsers. It ensures that the traffic between your WordPress site and the visitor’s computer is safe from unwelcome interceptions. This fosters trust and credibility among your audience, as they can see the reassuring padlock icon in their browser’s address bar, indicating a secure connection.
A firewall acts as a virtual barrier to monitor and filter incoming and outgoing website traffic. It helps prevent malicious attacks and unauthorized access. However, setting up and configuring a firewall requires you to be well-versed in basic web security concepts. If you lack the knowledge of this, you can hire a WordPress developer to do it for you.
Below is the procedure one should follow while installing firewalls:
- Assessment and analysis of different firewall options
- Selecting the right firewall
- Installation and configuration
- Continuous monitoring
- Regular updates and maintenance
While security plugins offer valuable features including malware scanning and login attempt monitoring, a firewall gives a broader, proactive defense by filtering traffic before it reaches your site.
Maintain regular site backup
Site backups provide a safety net for your digital assets and content. They serve as a critical recovery mechanism in the event of data loss, cyberattacks, or technical failures. Backing up a site involves creating copies of the site files, databases, and content, which can be stored locally or on remote servers. Overall, maintaining site backups is not merely a precaution but a crucial approach to the WordPress website’s security.
Perform regular WordPress security scans
To maintain the robust security of your WordPress site, performing regular scans can be a paramount step. They are proactive measures to identify vulnerabilities, malware, or suspicious activities. Scanning a website for security purposes involves comprehensively examining the site’s files, databases, and configurations. It ensures that any potential threats are detected and addressed instantly.
To perform security scans, you can either use specialized security plugins like Wordfence Security or employ the services of WordPress developers with expertise in security. These professionals have the tools and knowledge to conduct in-depth scans, offering a higher level of security or uncovering hidden vulnerabilities that might be missed by automated tools.
How do you know your WordPress site has been hacked?
Detecting whether your site has been hacked can sometimes be challenging. Hackers often attempt to hide their activities. However, some common signs may easily indicate that your WordPress site has been hacked.
- Unexpected content changes
- Increased server resource usage
- Unusual activity in server logs
- Unexplained traffic increase
- Search engine warnings
- Unexpected redirects
- Disabled security plugins
Hopefully, you won’t face a scenario wherein you would need to deal with any of the malicious signs mentioned above. Nevertheless, to be prepared for the worst cases, let’s understand the required steps to be taken in the next section.
WordPress website is hacked: What should you do now?
Discovering that your site has been hacked can be distressing. Here are the approaches that you can take to mitigate the damage.
Put your site in maintenance mode
If your WordPress site has been hacked, but you still have access, put it in maintenance mode. This temporary measure not only prevents further harm but also signals to your visitor that you are actively addressing issues like unusual changes in content and unexpected redirects.
Find your backup
If you have maintained proper backups of your website, now is the moment to retrieve them. This will help restore your site to its previous and secure state.
Reset WordPress passwords
The next essential tactic is changing all of your WordPress passwords, including those for admin accounts and databases. Opt for robust, complex, and unique passwords that hackers will find challenging to track. Performing this will ensure that the malevolent actors won’t regain access to your website.
Update your WordPress software
Update your core WordPress, themes, plugins, and any other software in use. Usually, hackers exploit the vulnerabilities in outdated software, so keeping everything up to date will bolster your site’s security.
Remove unnecessary admin accounts
Take a close look at the list of user accounts in your WordPress dashboard. Remove any accounts that shouldn't have access or those that appear unfamiliar.
These steps will help you regain control of your attacked WordPress site and set the stage for a recovery process. If you're unsure about the scope of the hack or need assistance with the recovery process, consider consulting a WordPress security expert. They can offer specialized expertise and tools for thorough cleanup.
All in all
Despite your best efforts to strengthen your WordPress site's security, and even with perfect adherence to every security measure, you still cannot expect complete security.
Remember, safeguarding the site against security threats is an ongoing endeavor. From strengthening login procedures to regular site scans, each measure contributes to a robust defense of your site's security.
Amelia Swank is a senior web and app developer with over 8 years of experience. Currently with SunTec India, she specializes in the domain of digital solutions, specifically WordPress development, Shopify development, Magento development. Her passion for technology fuels her writing, aimed at spreading insights to all. Amelia closely follows the latest IT advances to share her expertise with those interested in the field.