How to Secure Your WordPress Website in 2019

Posted May 9th, 2019 in Security. Tagged: , , , .

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, accounting for more than 60% of the market. The reasons for such popularity are obvious: it’s a convenient and powerful system with dozens of built-in tools and thousands of themes and plugins. WordPress offers numerous benefits and allows you to quickly create a customized website, no matter whether you have a news blog or an e-commerce business. Nevertheless, WordPress is also one of the most hacked platforms. This system is relatively secure by default, but as soon as users start to install new plugins or host their websites on unreliable servers, they also create countless opportunities for hackers.

WordPress security

Whether you’re a webmaster with 20 years of experience or a beginner, you need to make security your main priority if you want to avoid being hacked. You need a reliable login page and admin page that cannot be accessed by anyone but you. Fortunately, there are many tools and methods that can help you make your website more secure.

Why It’s Important to Secure Your WordPress Website

Many people emphasize that WordPress is vulnerable to hacker attacks and so is not a safe choice for businesses. However, the most common reason why WordPress websites are getting hacked is that their owners just ignore some crucial security practices. In addition, many users install outdated WordPress plugins and other software. Quite often, people just don’t have the necessary security knowledge, and such a category of users are the favorite target for hackers. Even such well-known organizations as Reuters can get hacked if they use outdated versions of WordPress.

According to the WordPress Security Codex, security is not about creating a system that would be perfect in terms of safety. Such a system would be virtually impossible to make and maintain. Therefore, the main point is to minimize risks because one cannot eliminate them completely. If you own a website, you should understand the key principles of security, being able to use the right tools, and making your website as secure as possible.

Given the popularity of WordPress, there’s no surprise that you can find this CMS on different websites. There are many unofficial third-party sources that offer outdated versions of the platform, as well as themes and plugins. Of course, there is also a big community that works on fixing vulnerabilities in WordPress, however, their efforts cannot stop people from installing suspicious software. Therefore, ensuring the security of your website is your responsibility, and we hope that our simple tips will help you protect your page.

How to Secure Your WordPress Website

1. Use a reliable web host

Many users only choose a host depending on its price. However, you shouldn’t forget that your host is also the first line of defense. Reputable hosts always support the latest versions of common web technologies, such as MySQL or PHP. For example, PHP 7 is a PHP version that is officially recommended by WordPress developers. We also recommend that you choose managed WordPress hosts, such as WP Engine. These services are optimized specifically for WordPress, ensuring proper security, performance, uptime, and backups.

2. Secure your login page

The login page is the most common target for hackers. Thus, we recommend that you pay particular attention to protecting it. For example, never use the default username (“admin”). Come up with something unique and difficult to guess. Secondly, create a 10-15 characters long password with different characters and numbers, and update it frequently.

Another great way to secure your login page is to integrate two-factor authentication. In this case, the website will require not only the password but also an authorization code sent to your phone. We also recommend that you customize your login URL, since all hackers will try to hack the “wp-login.php” first thing.

WordPress login

3. Get an SSL certificate

There are two serious reasons to switch to HTTPS. First, an SSL certificate makes your website more secure, as it becomes difficult for hackers to steal sensitive information transferred between your server and browsers of your users, which is especially important for e-commerce shops. Another reason is that, since 2018, Google Chrome marks all the HTTP pages as “not secure.” If you don’t have an SSL certificate, it will negatively impact your search rankings and make your website easier to hack.

4. Change your WordPress database prefix

This is a simple trick that will increase the security of your WordPress database significantly. WordPress uses a “wp_” table prefix by default, which makes it easy for hackers to use SQL injection attacks. To minimize the chances for such attacks, open the “wp-config.php” file and change the value of “$table-prefix” from “wp_” to anything else, for example: “$table-prefix = ‘83_PJ59&I.” Plugins like WP-DBManager will help you change default prefixes with just a few clicks.

5. Use a Web application firewall (WAF)

A firewall separates network traffic from your hosting server. It filters some common threats even before they reach your WordPress server. WAFs can save you from such common threats as SQL injection attacks, buffer overflows, cross-site scripting, and session hijacking. Sucuri and Cloudflare are good examples of WAF plugins.

6. Use reliable all-in-one solutions

There are also many solutions that offer extended functionality. For example, you can install all-in-one solutions like Wordfence, which will prevent data leaks, protect your passwords, and enable a reliable two-factor authentication process. Such plugins run on your server, being more reliable than cloud firewalls, which break your encryption and are an easy target for attackers.

7. Make backups and update your website

Even if you’ve done everything you can to protect your website, there’s always a chance that some talented hacker will break through your defense. If you create backups regularly, you’ll always have a safety net that will help you if anything goes wrong. Such plugins as BackWPUp, BackUpWordPress, and VaultPress are a good choice.

In addition, don’t forget to update WordPress itself, as well as any plugins that you have installed. Latest versions of software always address security problems and improve the overall user experience.

Conclusion

Since WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, there’s no surprise that it also is the most popular target for hackers. Most often, WordPress websites get hacked because users ignore some simple safety rules, installing outdated versions of WordPress or plugins.

Make sure to choose a reputable host for your website, install the latest versions of software, and follow our tips to make your website safe from hackers and to protect your sensitive data.


About the Author

Ester Brierley

Ester Brierley, a competent virtual assistant and a content strategist for College Writers, knows the secret for balancing freelancing and her full-time job as a QA Engineer in a software outsourcing company. As a seasoned content creator, she adores researching cutting-edge digital and lifestyle trends and sharing them in her writing pieces. Follow her on Twitter.

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