If you have a WordPress website, there is every chance that someone, somewhere in the world, will attempt to hack into it today. And, if you think that statement and exaggeration, install a security plugin like WordFence and check the log every day.
Now, some of those hackers will merely be amateurs trying their luck. But some will be professional hackers with malicious intent. So, if you don’t take steps to protect your WordPress website, you will wake up one day to find your site has been compromised.
Whether it is a business site or a blog, you will have invested a lot of time and money in your website. So, what can you do to protect your asset without needing to understand things like file permissions and coding? Here are ten essential security tips to safeguard your WordPress website.
- Take Regular Backups
Hackers are constantly developing new ways to attack WordPress sites. And even if you implement all the security suggestions below, your site could still be at risk. So, it would be best if you had a plan B to recover from a security breach. And that means the old, tried and trusted, backup.
Back up your site regularly and keep at least three days of historical backups in reserve. Then, if you don’t realize that your site has been compromised, you can go back a few days later to the last time it was clean. Regular backups will also cover you should you make any changes that break the site.
- Update WordPress Regularly
WordPress is continually being updated. And the software updates often contain critical security improvements as well as bug fixes and functionality upgrades. So, it is best to keep the version of WordPress on your site up to date.
You will see a notification that there is an update available at the top of the WordPress dashboard. And updating the software is usually a relatively fast and straightforward process. So, click that “Update Now” button every time there is an update, and your WordPress website will be a lot safer.
- Keep Themes and Plugins Updated
You will also find that themes and plugins are regularly updated. And it is advisable to make use of these updates too. Indeed, plugins and themes that are not kept up to date can sometimes provide backdoor routes for hackers to access your website.
Once again. Themes and plugin updates do not take an excessive amount of time. However, they do appear frequently, so it can be tempting to leave them if you have many plugins installed. Still, if you install these updates regularly, perhaps once a week, you can easily stay on top of the task.
- Install Security Software
One of the first things you should do when launching a new site is to install a security plugin. These plugins, such as Wordfence and Securi, provide security features, including a firewall that will protect your site against hackers.
Wordfence and Securi are easy to configure and use. And they both have a free option as well as the premium version. For maximum security, it would, of course, be best to pay for the premium version of the software. However, the free versions are perfectly adequate for most sites, so long as you keep backups as mentioned above.
- Use a Strong Password
One of the first ways hackers will attempt to gain access to a WordPress site is via the admin login. And hackers can be persistent, trying to log into your site by guessing your password many times. So, it would be best if you used a strong password, preferably one you have not used elsewhere. It is also best practice to change your password regularly. And limit the number of attempts logging in any user can make before they are blocked from the site.
- Be Careful When Installing New Plugins and Themes
There are thousands of WordPress plugins and themes available. And, because many of them are free, it can be tempting to install these add-ons and tools on your website without first considering the potential risk. However, some plugin and theme developers are not as security-conscious as others. So, it is best to some research before you install anything on your WordPress website.
The first thing to check before installing a plugin or theme is how many users there are and read the user reviews. If many users are using the software without issues, you can be more confident that security is good. And it is advisable to check when the software was last updated. If the previous update was some time ago, there might be some security issues.
- Use SSL
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the best way to secure data as it is transferred from the server to the end-user computer. So, using SLL with your website will protect your admin login details and your user’s data. In addition, SSL will increase trust in your website, and it will help improve SSO (search engine optimization).
SSL certificates will usually be available from your hosting provider. Or there are third-party SSL certificate suppliers, like RapidSSL, that provide them.
- Limit User Access
If you allow other people access to your site, it is best to limit their permissions. And it is advisable to limit the number of people who can log in to your site. Quite simply, the more people who can access the admin functions, the greater the risk that someone will make a mistake. And the more passwords there are in existence, the more likely it is that one of those passwords will be compromised. Remember, too, to inactivate dormant user credentials.
- Change the Default Admin Login
When you first install WordPress, the default admin login is “Admin.” And, it will come as no surprise that hackers will try to use that login to gain access to your site. So, create a new admin login with full permissions but with a unique name. And then delete the original “Admin” user.
- Monitor and Administer Site Security
Installing a security product like Wordfence or Securi will protect your site from the most common security threats. And you don’t need to be a techie to use these apps. However, you will still need to remain vigilant. And you will need to keep on top of maintenance tasks like updating plugins, taking backups, and removing redundant user credentials.
Your WordPress security software will also log attempts to breach site security and warn you about any vulnerabilities. So, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of visiting the security app dashboard every time you log in to see if any action is required.
WordPress is the content management system behind almost 35% of the world’s websites. So, any WordPress site, regardless of size or popularity, is a target for hackers. And that’s why security must be a priority for any WordPress website owner.
There are security precautions other than those mentioned above that you could take to protect your site. But many of these require some technical knowledge. So, the first thing a non-techie must do on a new WordPress website is to install one of the well-known security plugins.
Then, keep plugins, themes, and WordPress up to date and monitor activity on the site. And, of course, ensure that backups of your site are being taken. Then, you will have adequate protection against hackers and have a fallback position in the event of a security breach.