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, you are at the exact place to find some helpful tips.
You need to know a hell of WordPress security tips, and thus I have decided to craft two blog posts, and here is the 1st post (Part 1) with some basic precautions.
Today, WordPress is not just a blogging platform anymore; it has also developed into a full-fledged CMS and is considered the ideal solution for developing websites of all kinds.
Individual developers in the community work around the clock to eliminate all sorts of vulnerabilities involving WordPress security to ensure that this content publishing platform is always safe and secure.
However, due to its worldwide use and because it is an open-source platform, the risks involved with this highly popular and influential platform are always on the rise.
The interesting fact is that hackers are finding new methods to sneak into your WordPress websites.
Hence, upgrading your WordPress security is vital to ensure your site is safe from all sorts of malicious attacks over the web.
It is not as simple as it seems. Just like you maintain your bike, grease the engine, and tighten the brakes now and then, you need to manage your WordPress website.
Now, you must be confused about how to secure a CMS platform without prior knowledge of coding.
Well, everyone who maintains their bike is not an expert mechanic either. All you need is to follow the trends in 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, around 73% of the favorite sites were at risk. Now, you must think that your website is not that popular to get hacked or even noticed by 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 their popularity.
Being developed by a massive community of WordPress enthusiasts, the core installation of WordPress is highly secured, with regular updates to eliminate specific tweaks and vulnerabilities discovered on the platform.
But, the extra additions to this core WordPress platform, such as plugins, themes, and custom codes, increase the chances of the WordPress website getting hacked.
So, it is highly important for every WordPress user to follow some improved and basic WordPress security tips to ensure the safety of their data and the overall website.
Before we get into the advanced WordPress security strategies, you should ensure that you follow 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 earlier, teams of developers are working forever on the platform to make it user-friendly, fast, reliable, and, most importantly, secure.
Hence, regular updates are rolled out now and then to upgrade the overall platform and ensure 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 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 time, it’s the plugin that opens up a backdoor for the hackers to get in.
2. Download Plugins & Themes From Reliable Sources
Installing themes and plugins from reliable sources is the most critical 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 to get the advantage of 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 is already an expert hacker, and you can’t possibly be aware of their real intentions.
Most of the time, these nulled themes or plugins act as a backdoor into your WordPress site, which anyone could manipulate 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 free WordPress plugins and themes directly from its repository, i.e., Plugin directory, Theme directory, etc.
However, if you are looking for premium plugins, either get it from their official websites or check into recommended sources to buy WordPress themes & plugins.
3. Keep Your WordPress Clean & Install SSL
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 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 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, which will indicate 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 time, these outdated themes or plugins may cause high vulnerability to your WordPress website if they are still active on your site.
Hence, optimizing the WordPress database would be the smartest choice you will be making for your website.
Likewise, install an SSL certificate for your WordPress website and get the https:// version activated. Most of the hosting providers offer Free SSL in their pricing plans. However, you may also buy the cheapest SSL certificate to ensure a secure connection by encrypting your data.
4. Disable Junk Value & HTML in Comments
Over the years, I have seen that many times; user comments with junk value force the web host to disable your website.
Not every web host is so sensitive; however, from my experience, I suggest disabling any junk value-added 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 to disable any junk characters or HTML that flows 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 find solutions later on.
Like comment moderation, you have to focus on content moderation as well. 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 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 a 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 and 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. 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 as that may sound, it is also highly risky sometimes.
It is easy to determine a password that’s personal and easy to remember while random ones with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters are often strict decoding.
Hence, it is advisable to set passwords using password generator tools such as Strong Password Generator to ensure that it is complicated and severe to determine.
Another important aspect is to change your password regularly, as the banks prompt us to do. Changing passwords regularly limits the time needed for any hacker activity, making it impossible to crack your secure password.
7. Use Quality WordPress Security Plugins
If plugins can be a doorway for malicious attacks, they can also be the firewall to block such attacks.
There are many WP security plugins developed over the past few years to diminish the vulnerability of WordPress and ensure the smooth and safe functioning of your WordPress site.
WordPress installs Akismet, its 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 are 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 weakness discovered on the web host.
Most of 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 ensure 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.
I suggest you buy the Managed WordPress cloud hosting as it has robust security features like dedicated firewalls, security patches, two-factor authentication, automatic backups, and a free SSL certificate.
If you read my detailed Cloudways hosting review (we are using this cloud hosting for this blog, www.wpglossy.com), you will come to know that it has excellent protection for your website.
You may also use the Cloudways Promo Code – WPGLOSSY to get $30 Free credits and use the basic Digital ocean plan FREE for 3 months.
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 you haven’t even considered that open up your website to high-security vulnerabilities.
So, instead of fussing about the threats or malicious attacks on the web, just follow the above WordPress security tips that would let your site remain safe, secure and reliable for yourself and your readers forever.
I hope I have revealed some helpful replies to 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.”
In the comment section, you may leave your views about these vital ways to avoid WordPress security issues.