Are you wondering with a question “How to secure my WordPress site?”
Do you want to tighten the security of your WordPress site?
If yes, then you are at the exact place to find out some helpful tips.
You need to know a hell lot of WordPress security tips and thus I have decided to craft 2 blog posts, and here is the 1st post (Part 1) with some fundamental precautions.
Today, WordPress is not just a blogging platform anymore, but it has also developed into a full-fledged CMS and is considered as the ideal solution to develop websites of all kinds.
Individual developers in the community work around the clock to get rid of all sorts of vulnerabilities involving WordPress security to make sure that this content publishing platform is always safe and secure.
However, due to its worldwide use and considering the fact that it is an open source platform, the risks involved with this highly popular and powerful platform are always on the rise. The interesting fact is that the hackers are finding new methods to sneak into your WordPress websites.
Hence, it is vital to upgrade your WordPress security to make sure that your site is safe from all sorts of malicious attacks over the web.
Yet, it is not as simple as it seems. Just like you maintain your bike, grease the engine, tighten the brakes now and then, you need to maintain your WordPress website as well.
Now, you must be confused that how could you possibly secure a CMS platform without any prior knowledge of coding.
Well, everyone who maintains their bike is not expert mechanics either. All you need is to follow the trends around WordPress, following basic and advanced WordPress safety measures.
I have tried my best to craft this WP security guide to ensure the safety of your website powered by WordPress.
Importance of Securing WordPress
In 2013, a tally of around 73% of the popular sites was at risk. Now, you must be thinking that your website is not that popular to get hacked or even noticed by the hackers.
However, the fact is that most of the hacking methods involve running a malicious script that would crawl into different WordPress websites found on the web, irrespective of its popularity.
Being developed by a huge community of WordPress enthusiasts, the core installation of WordPress is highly secured with regular updates, to get rid of certain tweaks and vulnerabilities discovered on the platform.
But, the extra additions to this core WordPress platform, such as adding plugins, themes, and custom codes, increase the chances for the WordPress website to get hacked.
So, it is highly important for every WordPress user out there to follow some improved and basic WordPress security tips to ensure the safety of their data and the overall website.
Well, before we get into the advanced WordPress security strategies, you should ensure that you are following the necessary things to protect your WordPress files.
How To Secure WordPress?
You don’t need to have any coding background or expertise of a developer or programmer to ensure the security of your WordPress website.
All you need is to follow the essential WordPress security checks given below!
Basic WordPress Security Tips
Following are some of the basic security tips for WordPress that you need to know!
1. Keep Everything Up-to-date
Remember that; WordPress is an ever-growing platform with a beautiful community around it. As I said early, there are teams of developers working forever on the platform to make it user-friendly, fast, reliable and most importantly, secure.
Hence, there are regular updates rolled out now and then to upgrade the overall platform and making sure that all the discovered vulnerabilities around the platform are taken care of.
Thus, it is important to make sure that your WordPress is up-to-date all the time. Apart from the upgrading the overall platform, you should also follow the same suit for your plugins and themes.
Yes, every plugin and theme installed on your WordPress website must be up-to-date as most of the times, it’s the plugin that opens up a backdoor for the hackers to get in.
2. Download Plugins & Themes From Reliable Sources
Installing the themes and plugins from the reliable sources is the most important step to protect your WordPress files in this competitive modern age.
I have seen that many bloggers, while copying others, end up downloading nulled themes or plugins, just to get the advantage of a premium software that they couldn’t afford. Well, it may be a smart trick, but the question is, for whom?
You must understand that someone, who could create nulled themes and plugins are already expert hackers, and you can’t possibly be aware of their real intentions. Most of the times, these nulled themes or plugins act as a backdoor into your WordPress site, which could be manipulated by anyone to take control of your data.
Hence, always make sure to download plugins or themes from reliable sources. If you want to use a premium plugin or theme, then pay for it as the developers behind such plugins deserve that remuneration for their hard work.
You can get an array of different free WordPress plugins and themes directly from its repository, i.e. Plugin directory and Theme directory, etc.
However, if you are looking for premium plugins, then either get it from their official websites or check into recommended sources to buy WordPress themes & plugins.
3. Keep Your WordPress Clean
It is something that many bloggers and WordPress website owners often tend to ignore. Trying out all kinds of different themes or plugins makes them too lazy to remove the unwanted stuff from their WordPress site.
Remember that, whether active or inactive, the plugin and theme files are always a load on the server, hence removing them, when they are not required, is a wise choice to keep your website running smoothly.
Also, getting rid of unwanted plugins or themes will ensure that your WordPress is less vulnerable to any kind of malicious attack.
It is also important to check, whether a particular plugin or theme gets updated regularly. If not, then check the plugin or theme page in the WordPress repository and ensure that the developer has been active with the plugin or theme updates.
If not, then WordPress will have a disclaimer on the page, and it will be an indication to move on from that particular plugin or theme.
Most of these theme and plugin developers are individuals like us and most often, they don’t get enough time or resources to keep upgrading their work.
Over the time, these outdated themes or plugins may cause high vulnerability to your WordPress website if they are still active on your site.
Hence, removing them would be the smartest choice you will be making for your WordPress website.
4. Disable Junk Value & HTML in Comments
Over the years, I have seen that lot of times, user comments with junk value forces the web host to disable your website. Not every web host is so sensitive, however, from my own personal experience, I would suggest disabling any sort of junk value added on to your blog through the comments section.
In addition to junk values, it is also highly recommended to disable HTML in WordPress comments as there are chances that malicious links or scripts can be executed once they are submitted to your website through the comments area.
Simply add the following line to your functions.php file in your WordPress website in order to disable any junk characters or HTML that flows in through the comments section.
add_filter( ‘pre_comment_content’, ‘esc_html’ );
It doesn’t matter if you have enabled comment moderation on your WP blog. It’s better to prevent such malware rather than finding solutions later on.
Once you have followed these basic WordPress security checks, it’s time to move on to the enhanced options.
Sophisticated WordPress Security Tips
Improved WordPress security methods may be a bit technical and here are some of the improved security measures for WordPress users to follow!
5. Never Use “admin” As Username
WordPress, by default, assigns “admin” as the username for the administrator of the WordPress site. It is to simply the overall process as WordPress.org is designed to install automatically. Now, the problem here is that everyone knows this basic fact about WordPress that the default username of the administrator would most likely be “admin.”
This would make it easy for the script or program created by hackers as it simply needs to make attempts to retrieve the password to hack into the website using “admin” as username. However, if the username is something else, then things would get complicated.
So, it is highly recommended to use an unpredictable name while setting the username for the administrator during the installation process.
Nonetheless, if you have already installed WordPress with “admin” as the username, then you can always change it by editing the related database, accessing PhpMyAdmin from your hosting cPanel dashboard.
In PhpMyAdmin, look at the left side, you will be able to see your WordPress database files. Click it and locate the wp_users folder (It may vary with hosting service like yourusernameusers) like the below image
Click on it and you will get the table on the right side with user/users information. There you can see the “Edit” option to change your username as shown in the following image.
6. Keep Changing Your Password
Most of us follow the habit of creating a password that’s personal and easy to remember. However, simple that may sound, it is also highly risky at times. It is easy to determine a password that’s personal and easy to remember while the random ones with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters are often tough decoding.
Hence, it is advisable to set passwords using password generator tools such as Strong Password Generator to ensure that it is complex and tough to determine.
Another important aspect is to change your password regularly as the banks prompt us to do. Changing passwords on a regular basis limits the amount of time needed for any hacker activity, hence making it impossible to crack your secure password.
7. Use Quality WordPress Security Plugins
Well, if plugins can be a doorway for malicious attacks, they can also be the firewall to block such attacks too. There are many different WP security plugins developed over the past few years to diminish the vulnerability of WordPress and ensuring smooth and safe functioning of your WordPress site.
WordPress installs Akismet, its own Spam Protection plugin, to ensure that no malware or junkware comes through your comments section. In addition to these, you can also install major reputed and reliable WordPress security plugins to ensure the safety of your website.
8. Choose The Best Web Hosting
While the majority of security hacks on WordPress sites is due to back-end vulnerability, there is another report from WP White Security stating that 41% of WordPress sites are getting hacked because of a vulnerability discovered on the web host.
Most of the WordPress users opt for shared hosting for cheap pricing; it is advisable to go for VPS or Managed hosting. Learning some strategies to choose the best web hosting service would add extra security measures to ensure the safety of your WordPress site.
Despite that, if you are still on shared hosting, then simply make sure that the hosting provider offers the account isolation feature, to protect your WordPress website and files from vulnerability or attacks on other sites hosted on the same server.
Most commonly, users consider the whole concept of WordPress security being something more advanced and complicated for a layman.
However, the fact is that most often, it’s the simple things that you haven’t even considered that opens up your website to different high-security vulnerabilities.
So, instead of fussing about the threats or malicious attacks on the web, simply follow the above WordPress security tips that would let your site remain safe, secure and reliable for yourself and your readers forever.
I hope that I have revealed some helpful replies for the question “How To Secure WordPress?“.
But, if you still look for some most advanced WordPress security methods, you would need to access your would take some FTP level changes to ensure the safety of your WordPress is intact.
So, if you wish the learn some enhanced WordPress security tips to stay safe, please have a look at my latest post “Advanced Security Tips For WordPress“.
You may leave your views about these vital ways to avoid WordPress security issues in the comment section.