Table of Contents
- Follow these to ensure the security of your WordPress website
- #1. Move from HTTP to HTTPS
- #2. Use strong passwords.
- #3. Install security plugins.
- #4. Change your login page URL.
- #5. Limit login attempts
- #6. Add multi-factor authentication.
- #7. Choose a good host.
- #8. Install a web application firewall (WAF)
- #9. Limit the number of users accessing your WordPress dashboard.
- #10. Backup your site regularly
- #11. Keep everything up to date!
Making a website on WordPress is easy. But what about keeping it secure? Well, it is not that easy, but with proper guidance, it can certainly be done in a hassle-free manner. However, most of the time, we fail to get the right information and advice regarding WordPress security. We decide to do only those little things that we know to secure our site in all those situations. And that’s where the problems begin – problems that can result in a total disaster for your business.
If you want to avoid it, you must implement some essential steps to secure your WordPress website. By the end of this article, you will know how to secure your WordPress website from hackers. Let us begin!
Follow these to ensure the security of your WordPress website
#1. Move from HTTP to HTTPS
If you look at it, there’s a difference of only one letter between HTTP and HTTPS. However, when you dig in, you’ll find that there’s a lot of difference between both these protocols. A WordPress website that loads over HTTP is much less secure than the one that loads over HTTPS because of two reasons:
- First, data packets being sent over HTTP protocol can be captured, and information sent through them can be stolen.
- Second, because anyone can create a clone of your website on a similar-looking domain name if it loads over HTTP and makes it available to your visitors and employees.
By doing any of these things, the accounts of your visitors/employees can be compromised. Their login credentials may be stolen, and everything would be under the control of the cybercriminals after that. HTTPS prevents it from happening by encrypting the data packets before transit and adding a unique green padlock to your website that proves the genuineness of your site (no clone website can have it).
And how to make your WordPress website load over HTTPS? By installing an SSL certificate! An SSL certificate makes your website load over HTTPS protocol, thus providing you with the safety you need from both vulnerabilities outlined above. The challenge lies in selecting the perfect kind of SSL certificate for your website. If you need to secure multiple first-level subdomains under a chosen primary domain and wish to add more such subdomains in the future, then a wildcard SSL certificate is the best choice for you. You can easily buy it from reliable SSL providers such as Comodo, GeoTrust, Thawte, RapidSSL, etc at a reasonable price.
#2. Use strong passwords.
Once your website is loading over HTTPS, the next thing you should do to protect it is to stop using an easy password. If your password is easy to remember or easy to guess, it can be cracked easily by guessing, prying, or any other eavesdropping attack. To avoid that situation, always use a strong password that is at least 8-10 characters long and includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. And if it includes a combination of both lowercase as well as uppercase letters, then even better.
#3. Install security plugins.
A major benefit of being on WordPress is that many plugins related to security can make your website highly secure. You should take their advantage and install them to fix the vulnerabilities existing on your site. A few such plugins include:
- All-in-One WP Security and Firewall
- Bulletproof Security
- Security Ninja
If you install any of these plugins, they will scan your site for security vulnerabilities and suggest all the things you should do to fix those vulnerabilities. All good plugins also keep notifying you about the new WordPress security threats that emerge, so you can take the right steps in time to secure your site against them.
#4. Change your login page URL.
The next major step you can take to secure your WordPress site is changing the login page URL. By default, the WordPress login page of every website is located in the main HTML directory at wp-login.php, and that’s a problem. Anyone can access the login page by firing your website’s URL coupled with the link to this file (i.e. www.example.com/wp-login.php). If you want to fix this issue, the way to do that is by changing the login page URL of your WordPress site. Several plugins are available to help you with that thing too.
#5. Limit login attempts
Next, you should also limit the number of login attempts that one can make to log into your site. If someone needs dozens of attempts to log into your site, then it’s obvious that they’re not someone authorized by you. That can only be someone who is trying to log into your site by brute force. To keep such elements away, you should make sure there’s a limit to the number of login attempts a person can try from one IP address to your site. There is a plugin called Limit Login Attempts to help you do this thing.
#6. Add multi-factor authentication.
Another step to secure your login page is to add multi-factor authentication to your site. If you do not know about it, multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security to your WordPress site by enabling an OTP or Google Authenticator-based authentication method after entering a password. Once you enter the password, a code is sent to your mobile phone through SMS or Google Authenticator. Only after you enter this code correctly, you’re allowed to log into WordPress. So, even if someone stole your password, they can’t enter your site unless they have access to that additional authentication method (i.e. your phone).
#7. Choose a good host.
The reliability of the hosting company is also important to improve your WordPress website security. If your host is not reliable, even after you implement all the other steps mentioned on this list, you may find your website in trouble because negligence by your host can make their servers easily accessible to hackers. In such a situation, no security arrangements put in place by you can come to your rescue. The only way to prevent it from happening is by choosing a reliable host that has a good track record concerning its security.
#8. Install a web application firewall (WAF)
A web application firewall protects your WordPress website from malware, viruses, ransomware, and other similar intrusive elements that can attack it. Blocking the IP addresses sending suspicious traffic and activity also allows your site to preserve the precious bandwidth and system resources for genuine visitors. Several firewall plugins are available in the WordPress plugin marketplace that can be installed for the purpose, like Sucuri firewall, Wordfence Security, MaxCDN (StackPath), etc. You can install any of them.
#9. Limit the number of users accessing your WordPress dashboard.
We often add several users to our WordPress site to manage the workload associated with managing our site in a better way. And there is also no doubt in the fact that if you want to scale your site and business associated with it, then you’ll need the help of other people’s hands. But keep in mind that other people’s hands may also bring some unwanted trouble for you – not because someone from your team members would want to crack into your site but because having multiple users is a risky thing. The greater the number of users on your site, the more usernames an attacker may use to break into your server. So, try to keep the number of WordPress users on your site as limited as possible. And where you must create a new user account, ensure that it does not have too many unnecessary permissions.
#10. Backup your site regularly
While the steps given above will make your WordPress site highly secure, you must prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario because that is also a part of cybersecurity. And how do you do that? By backing up your site regularly. If your site is backed up regularly, in the event of an attack, you shall be able to migrate to another server swiftly without wasting much time and worrying about the loss of user data. It would help if you automated the backups of your site with the help of an automated backup plugin, like UpdraftPlus or BackWPup.
#11. Keep everything up to date!
Finally, keep everything installed on your server up to date. From themes to plugins to core WordPress installation, updates are released for everything from time to time. It would be best if you keep updating all of them as soon as those updates are released because almost all updates bring important security patches with them that fix the vulnerabilities discovered by the ever-working teams of WordPress developers. The same goes for the PHP installed on your server and other software elements on your webserver.
So, these are the 11 important steps that can help you keep your WordPress website secure. It’s essential to implement each of them to make sure that your website remains secure for all your visitors. If you have questions about any of these steps, please leave them in our comments section, and we shall try to answer them as soon as possible. Otherwise, start implementing them on your site today!