Disrupt Hacking Now: The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide
Thousands of websites are empowered by WordPress software and there is a logic behind that. It’s one of the most developed and user-friendly CMS. You can mold it the way you want it to be like. But, with these many advantages, it has few disadvantages either.
It has been shown by the statistics that almost 80 million websites are developed by WordPress and 70% of the portion from that is susceptible to attacks. Though, it damages your website but also can ruin your brand’s reputation.
A lot of unacceptable things can happen to your website, such as you can lose traffic, customers, money, private knowledge with the stress, effort and the time to clean the site and to get back it to the normal website states.
So, it is very much significant to keep your website free from hackers and for WordPress website development. Set it as your imperative priority. So, in this article, the preventive measure has been discussed that can minimize the risk of getting your website hacked. The way on how to improve your WordPress Security.
The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide:
1. Keep Everything Updated
Getting timely updates is an impression of a superior product. Updates aim to fix the bugs. Not updating the themes and plug-in defines a problem. Often, hackers take advantage of bugs that have been fixed. So, a regular update is compulsory if you are using some WordPress product.
A good thing about WordPress is that it automatically provides updates through notifications. The plug-ins are updated manually from the dashboard. And, when there is an availability of the new version, a link will be provided to update.
A managed WordPress hosting plan can also opt. Quality managed hosting provides automatic updates for each element to improve WordPress security.
2. Use Security Plugins
Plug-ins of WordPress is very helpful with platform users and they can be extra useful. It provides security and firewalls to your site with security plug-ins that implement a lot of good security practices. You can use many features that offer plug-ins manually.
An all-in-one solution is more beneficial. It means they allow to address all things from login security to access the constraint with a single tool. The plug-ins are very effective if it is a matter of large site that requires protection from every side.
Though, it is easier and harmless to add a single plug-in than installing four or five plug-ins to sort out the susceptibility issue. Some of the best WordPress Security Plug-ins are; Theme Security, All-in-One WP Security, and Firewall, Jetpack, etc.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Weak passwords will lead to insecurity of the WordPress website. It should not be neglected. With strong passwords, your accounts or WordPress blog are at less risk and it is not possible to avoid security when there is a matter of WordPress website.
The administrators usually adopt a secure WordPress web host for the websites. Password strength meter shows the probability of a strong password. Security risk occurs when an administrator or an editor uses a weak password.
The user with the capability to upload files, publish a post or to edit the publish post should use strong passwords for security.
4. Use a Different Username Than “Admin”
With the default WordPress admin username, the WordPress website becomes accessible to the hackers. Using a different user name than Admin is a great security measure to prevent the website from WordPress wp-login brute force attack.
A brute force attack uses the simple method to have account authorization. It continues to get username and password till it cracks it.
Because of its increasing popularity, WordPress has become the primary target for hackers.
Three ways are followed to change the WordPress username.
- Changing manually by generating a new admin to replace the default one
- Usage of Plug-in
- Touch the phpMyAdmin
5.Protect the wp-config.php file
Wp-config.php file contains the fundamental information of the WordPress website, like WordPress database connection details and security keys.
So, it is important to protect this file from hackers. You can protect the wp-config.php file either by .htaccess file or by removing the sensitive information from the wp-config.php file.
In the case of the .htaccess file, you need to connect to the website using the File transfer protocol (FTP) client to download the .htaccess file. SFTP is used to encrypt the communication. Notepad is used to open the .htaccess file. After all the entries, copy the text given below from the bottom of the .htaccess file.
Once the text is added to the WordPress .htaccess file. Upload it back to the root of the website to overwrite the old one.
Another method to protect the wp-config.php file is to remove all the sensitive information. For that, you need to create a new file config-php in a non-WWW accessible directory.
After opening the existing wp-config.php file, the lines with sensitive information moves to the new-config.php file with a line (‘/home/yourname/config.php’); after wp-config.php file now can read the sensitive information from a different location.
6. Hide Author URL
WordPress author URL can be guessed easily and effortlessly they can access the credentials. WPscan tool is used by hackers to guess the URL or they use the below URL to get it: http://www.example.com/?author=1
If the credentials get matched, then they will be directly redirected to the author URL. Changing even ID will not work. It only delays the guessing but does not eliminate it permanently. Hiding the author’s URL improves the security of blogs and websites. Some steps are followed to hide the author’s URL.
Initially by navigating to the WordPress user’s profile by assuring the populated rate of First name, Last name, and Nickname. Some different usernames should be chosen from the WordPress username. The nickname can be changed from phpMyAdmin.
And its entry can be changed from the MySQL command line. After changing all the details, even if a hacker tries to guess the username from WPScan or URL, it will be redirected to the below URL that contains the details of the user’s nickname than the WordPress user name: http://www.example.com/author/abc
7. Use a Secure Hosting
Adapting right and secure hosting for the WordPress website is important. The health of your website relies on the hosting provider. Not everyone out there is ready to harm your website, though, there are a group of hackers who tries to cause disruption. Once you become one of the victims, your website can be harmed with loss of revenues.
It is important to comprehend the factors of security and to check whether the host is providing security appropriately. WordPress works better when it has a rich hosting environment. Mostly, the web hosts know about the popularity of robust security.
The two things that should be considered for secure hosting are:
- You should be aware of the fact that your web host is taking care of the web servers for a secure environment.
- The appropriate tools should be provided to ensure the security and functionality of your website.
While analyzing the security of the web host, you should consider, SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), SSL (Secure Socket Layer), Server maintenance and Backups.
8. Add SSL certificates
SSL adds an encrypted path for the web server and the browser. SSL aims to ensure that the data (credit card information, social security, user name, and passwords) being sent from the web server to the browser should be protected and safe.
It has been used by several users to keep their website hack and phishing free. SSL is considered as a transparent protocol by which you can get an alert by a padlock icon when some suspicious activity is seen.
Using an SSL certificate is significant to add. The information sent online is passed from PC to PC for secure and successful transfer to the designated server. SSL provides authentication as protection for sending sensitive information to the intended server.
PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) plays an important role from a trusted SSL to achieve protection and safety.
Before adding SSL to your website, you should follow certain steps:
1. Buy an SSL certificate
2. Install a certificate on the server
3. Preparing WordPress for SSL certificate
Plug-ins can also be used to have more convenient results.
9. Always Keep Multiple Backups
Regular backups are compulsory to protect the system from hackers. It has been said that data doesn’t live if we don’t have two or more copies of it. So, it is better to store the backups on multiple locations because if one location gets corrupted than you have more options to restore it.
You can execute this process by following merely two methods:
- You need to find an appropriate offsite storage option to store the options carefully. Hard drive, local server, etc can also be used.
- Always try to save the files on different servers. This method ensures to have at least one backup when the primary server become compromised or crashed.
It is also significant to select locations with suitable security measures in place. Passwords can be used to secure the files further.
10. Use a Premium Theme with Support
First, look always matter. Most important is to have the finest theme when you start an online business enterprise. It’s a tough job to engage the audience with a high-quality theme. For that, WordPress offers premium themes. Using premium themes not only saves time but also is highly reliable and organized. Premium theme offers support and regular theme updates. Choosing the best theme that suits all your needs is essential.
WordPress provides numerous Tech Support WordPress themes, such as:
1. Flat base
3. Support desk
5. QA engine
6. TicketLab, and many more
The above-mentioned premium themes provide a support team for building the process. These themes help in creating a flexible yet strong design with better innovation.
11. Use two-factor authentication
The most common trick used by hackers is Brute Force Attack. With the automated scripts, the hackers can easily guess the username and passwords and can infect your WordPress website. The best way to protect your website is to use Two-factor Authentication (2FA). It protects against phishing, password theft, keylogger attack, etc.
That is, the access to the admin panel will be blocked until a special code is not entered from the mobile phone. So, it is virtually not possible for hackers to log in. It adds an extra layer of security that you can add to your login page.
2FA works by logging in to the website by submitting a password and an OTP. The common methods of receiving codes are a smartphone app, email or via SMS.
The ways by which 2FA authentication works are:
1. Authenticated device or app
2. Using SMS or e-mail
3. Backup codes (when OTP is not accessible)
WordPress does not have 2FA by default, so, Plug-ins are required to activate/ enable it. Some of the widely used Plug-ins are WordPress 2-Step Verification, Two-factor, Google Authenticator and Unlog two factor authentication. The Plug-ins can be differentiated using its features, interfaces and the way of setting.
12. Disable Edit Files from Admin
It is useful to edit the themes and plug-ins from the WordPress Control panel, but it is highly a risk factor. For instance, if someone wants to add a code to your WordPress website with access to your site. Then, they will open the file from the file editor and can add the code.
So, it means, FTP access is not playing any role in this. Only, WordPress is providing them the access to modify the files. Disabling edit files from admin has a major role in security. Writing the below code in wp-config.php disables file editing within the administrative interface:
The Bottom Line
After reviewing these steps, your WordPress website is secure and is hack cleaned. But there is a possibility that they can try it later as well. So, it is better to keep the website safe from malicious intent. Prevention is better than cure.
About the Author:
Emily Johns is a web developer and IT consultant at WordSuccor, providing Custom WordPress Development Services to global clients. She is dived through the open-source code for over a decade and share everything about WordPress and new Web design technologies. You can find her on Twitter!
Call me Sandy, a writer, and blogger of LifeStyleConvo & UrbanHouses, who worked as a full-time content creator. A writer by day and reader by night.