Your WordPress website security is of utmost importance. You put so much into building and ranking it, why would you allow it to be blacklisted by Google as a result of suffering a security breach which could have been avoided?
Generally speaking, the WordPress platform is continuously updated by the developers who work on it. This makes it one of the most secure CMS and hosting platforms out there. However, there are various ways to increase security overall and prevent hackers and malware from accessing your site.
In our beginner’s guide to WordPress security, we will run you through some important steps you can take to do this.
What Can Happen To An Unsecured Website
Being hacked can have a serious effect on online businesses. We’re talking damage to revenue as well as reputation!
Not only will you possibly be blacklisted by Google and lose your search engine rankings but hackers can also get access to passwords, steal information, send malware to your visitors, install malicious programs on your site, etc.
Steps To Prevent A Security Breach
1. Install WordPress Updates
Start by keeping your WordPress versions completely up to date. As mentioned, there are many committed and experienced developers who are behind the core, themes, plugins, and extensions that you use, and they continually push out releases to ensure your software and security is optimized.
Keep in mind that while minor updates may update automatically, you might need to manually install major system releases. Watch out for notifications of these on your WordPress dashboard.
2. Manage Passwords and Permissions
One of the easiest ways for hackers to get access to your site is through weak passwords. Ensure that all of your website administrators use unique and strong passwords on their profiles, rather than duplicating one password for all. Apply this across the CMS, your hosting profile, domain email addresses, etc.
Also, take a minute to review the user permissions you have granted to the platform. Restricting accounts where possible decreases the chance of having unwanted users accessing your website.
3. Set Up Two Step Login Authentication
You see it in apps like Facebook or Gmail where in addition to a username and password, a secondary device has to authenticate any logins. WordPress can do the same with the help of a plugin which requires a separate authentication app to be installed on your phone. Next time you log in, an authentication code which can be taken from the phone will be required to complete the task.
4. Assess Your Hosting Company
Unfortunately, many businesses use shared hosting plans which makes their sites more vulnerable to an attack should another website hosted on the same server be hacked.
A reliable hosting provider will take necessary measures to ensure that the latest security software is installed on their servers to protect against threats. They also typically monitor their servers for any suspicious activity and have measures in place to prevent attacks from happening.
5. Utilize a Firewall
Using a firewall will give your website an added layer of security. Simply put, a firewall monitors incoming traffic and will prevent malicious threats from ever reaching your site and gaining unauthorized access. Naturally, WordPress has a number of free and paid firewall plugins, known as a Web Application Firewall (WAF), which you can install onto your platform to protect it from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and hackers.
We recommend installing a DNS level website firewall, as this sends your traffic through their cloud proxy servers which then identify and send only genuine web traffic to your site.
6. Add SSL/HTTPS Protocols To Your WordPress Site
By adding an SSL (secure sockets layer) protocol certificate to your website, you make it more secure. You will notice that once the SSL certificate is enabled, your site will go from HTTP to HTTP (hyper text transfer protocol secure). What this means is your website will now use encryption technology to transfer data between servers and users browsers, making it harder for malicious threats to gain access to it.
Most hosting companies will offer you a free SSL certificate when you sign up.
7. Install a WordPress Security Plugin
Installing a powerful WordPress security plugin is the next step to take. These perform an auditing and monitoring function and will send you email alerts of failed login attempts, as well as monitor file integrity, scan for malware, etc.
8. Keep A Back Up In Place
We recommend making a regular backup of your website and saving it remotely, so that should a breach occur, and they do, you have a point of reference to restore it from.
Again, there are free and paid WordPress plugins which can perform backups for you and automatically save it to your remote location of choice. Cloud backups are typically the norm in this case.
Depending on how active your website is, perform these weekly, daily, or in real time.
What To Do In The Case Of Being Hacked
Of course, we hope that this never happens to you. In the case that it does, it is advisable to get professionals in to clean up your site and check that all threats are removed. Wordsecured can do this for you, and help you get your site back on track. Contact us for a quote today.