WordPress is the most common content management system (CMS) that website owners use. It’s easy to use, has lots of useful plugins, and just seems like the most obvious choice to start your website in most circumstances.
And while WordPress is a relatively safe CMS, the platform isn’t entirely free of potential security issues.
If you are not very proactive about the safety and security of your website, you may run into outages and hacking issues. This is something you never want.
First of all, it cripples your online business and all your efforts towards building a popular website or brand. Secondly, users don’t like a website that isn’t safe or secure. What’s more, even search engines don’t prefer showing an unsafe website in the search engine results pages.
As you can see, the damage can be overwhelming.
So, what can you do to ensure that it doesn’t happen?
In this blog post, we share 7 tips for improving the security of your WordPress website.
1. Regular WordPress updates
One of the best things about WordPress is that it is frequently updated.
Latest updates and patches constantly fix potential security loopholes that could jeopardize your online business operations.
Latest WordPress updates often improve safety with new features. It is important to understand that new releases improve the WordPress platform, which ensures that your website remains safe from potential and ever-evolving cyber attacks.
Note that users generally have to manually update WordPress. You are notified in the WordPress Dashboard that a new update is available, but you will still have to manually update your WordPress build.
To keep your website as safe as possible, make sure that you are always running on the latest version of WordPress.
2. WordPress theme updates
Just like with WordPress itself, WordPress themes also require regular updates and patches to fix any security loopholes.
As cyber-attacks continue to evolve, WordPress themes can easily become outdated and more susceptible to potential attacks. However, a good and reliable WordPress theme provider will regularly update its theme whenever a vulnerability is found.
Most themes will be updated automatically, but it is still important to keep in mind so you can do it manually if you have to.
As a general rule of thumb, install the latest theme updates. Also, read the patch notes so that you know what the update brings you.
3. Be wary of plugins
There are thousands and thousands of WordPress plugins available out there. And while it is a good thing in terms of variety and options, it can lead to other unforeseen problems, e.g., website security issues.
With nearly 40,000+ plugins, how do you identify the ones that you can completely trust?
After all, if you install a WordPress plugin, you may be sharing valuable information with it, and you don’t want that information to leak.
You will be surprised to know that most WordPress attacks happen because of vulnerabilities and security issues found in WordPress plugins. Moreover, just because it’s a premium plugin (for which you have to pay), it does not guarantee complete safety from potential attacks. For instance, you may remember the case with the Revolution Slider plugin that affected more than 100,000 websites.
The basic rule here is to be wary of installing any plugin that you find. Make sure to thoroughly vet a WordPress plugin that you intend to install. See how frequently the plugin is updated by its developers. Also, evaluate whether or not the functionality of the plugin is extremely important to you. More often than not, we end up installing plugins that we don’t really need. It increases security risk and, at the same time, slows down a website.
Lastly, never install a cracked plugin or a free plugin from an unknown source. You will find plenty of “free” plugins from shady websites, but they are often intentionally equipped with additional code to compromise the security of your website and steal important information.
4. Website scanning
While we are talking about WordPress plugins, it is a good idea to mention that there are plenty of powerful WordPress scanning plugins out there. You can use these tools to quickly identify any potential security issues on your website.
With the help of these tools, you can scan your entire WordPress website for anomalies, additional codes that compromise the security of the site, and potential malware.
More importantly, scanning tools like these help you identify the exact file that is a security risk so that you can take care of it.
5. Lockout after multiple login attempts
It is actually one of the first steps you need to take to ensure the safety of your WordPress site.
By blocking multiple login attempts, you minimize the possibility of unauthorized access. If anyone attempts to log in a certain number of times, their access will be blocked with the help of this feature.
For more information, read how and why you should limit login attempts in your WordPress.
For convenience, it is not uncommon to use different web properties under a single account. Also, it is quite common to use the same username and password for the database, so you don’t have to remember multiple usernames and passwords to access all the different websites you have.
However, while it is convenient, it is not the best practice in terms of safety and security.
It’s because if the security of one of your websites is compromised, it will make it that much easier for hackers to access all the other websites you have.
Similarly, if one of your websites is performing very well, it is a good idea to isolate that web property. It is because hosting services backup accounts, not individual websites.
In other words, to restore an infected website, you may also have to restore other functional websites to a previous state. You can bypass this problem by taking a manual, more labor-intensive route and by downloading all the other websites via FTP, but that requires a lot of time and effort.
A better solution is to just keep your high-performing website separate from the rest.
7. Google Search Console
Last, but not least, make sure that you have verified your website with Google Search Console. Apart from providing valuable insights and data about traffic and search queries, Google Search Console will also notify you if your WordPress website suffers a cyber attack.
After all, the last thing you want is not to be aware of the attack at all. Once you have been notified, you can at least do something about it. Verifying your website with Google Search Console is the first step towards ensuring the safety of your WordPress website.
Are you interested in learning more about improving the safety of your website? Read the following articles: