The current climate of the online landscape is full of peril, which calls for vigilance and discretion in order to tread safely. Running a WordPress website means this danger is indeed ever-present with many websites getting hacked daily. If you think you have nothing to fear since there wouldn’t be anything to hack for, then you may want to think twice about that assumption.
Getting your WordPress website hacked can result in a lot of frustration and pain since it can then be used for things like having it host hidden links to spam sites or phishing and malware that can get your website flagged and blacklisted by search engines, as well as compromise sensitive information of both you and your users.
To avoid all that hassle, here are several things you can do to clamp things down and make your WordPress website a lot less susceptible to hackers.
Regularly Update Your WordPress
It may seem like a drag, but updating your WordPress is necessary to keep things in check. The platform is continuously being supported and improved to keep it fresh and secure, the latter of which accounts for the exploits and other maladies that may come up in time. Also, WordPress can be auto-updated to make the process less tedious.
You should also keep plugins and themes up-to-date as well to minimize chances of there being holes and backdoors that hackers can exploit.
Use Email as Login
One of the most important security tips for WordPress is to change the administrator username from “admin” to something else since that’s pretty much the first thing hackers try out to get into a WordPress website.
If you want to take it further, you can use a plugin called WP Email Login to use your email address as a username, which can be harder for other people to find out if you’re able to keep that email address a secret, thus adding another layer of security to your website.
Buff Up Your Passwords
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This is pretty much the most common online security tip and it has become a cardinal rule at this point. If you use short common words entirely in lowercase and without numbers or symbols, then you’re just asking for trouble. Heed the word that countless security experts have given and use strong passwords that are more than 8 characters long with both lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols while still finding a way to make it memorable.
If you’re having trouble with remembering hard passwords, you can either use a password manager or just have a mnemonic device in your head to remember it. Nothing worth doing should be easy, after all.
If you’re really serious about the security of your WordPress website, then you should consider implementing two-factor authentication to make it harder for hackers to get in. Perhaps it’s indeed a hassle when you have to log in with two-factor authentication every single time, but it’s still better than having to deal with having your WordPress website hacked and all the damage control you have to wade through.
Limit Login Attempts
This is a plugin that does exactly what it says on the name, limiting the number of login attempts a user can do before being locked out for a period of time. This is for preventing brute force attacks, which can break into your WordPress website if left unchecked.
Brute force is basically trying out different combinations of numbers and letters until it gets the right password, so limiting login attempts is the most natural way to safeguard against it. Just make sure you don’t forget your own password so you don’t have to guess what it is and get locked out from your own WordPress website.
Lock Down Admin Access and Database
Everyone who is familiar with WordPress knows that in order to find the backend of WordPress website, you can enter ‘/wp-admin’ at the end of the URL to gain access to it. You can actually change it, especially the “wp” prefix. Hackers target WordPress websites by searching the web for that prefix in URLs, which means they’re powered by WordPress.
It’s simply the name of the wp-admin directory, which you can change to into something that’s harder to search for or guess so that hackers have a tougher time finding your WordPress backend.
If you want to take it further, you can also change the prefix on your database since the default one is “wp_”, which can be dangerous as it makes SQL injection attacks a snap for hackers. As long as you change it into something that’s not easy to guess like your domain name, you should be alright.
Minimize Number of Plugins
There are suggestions for plugins in this article, but they’re not mandatory for keeping your WordPress website secure. That has to be said since one of the most underrated ways to keep your WordPress website secure is to not use too many plugins. The more plugins your website has, the more chances there can be backdoors and holes that can be exploited, especially if one of those plugins happens to have been made by an unscrupulous developer who didn’t have security as a priority.
If you really need plugins, make sure they’re from reputable developers trusted by the WordPress community. That goes the same for themes, especially if you are using a custom theme made by someone else.
Choose the Right Web Host
This is perhaps the most important tip on this list. Web hosting can be expensive, but cheaping out on it can be dangerous as this is one of those instances where you indeed get what you pay for. A reputable web hosting service would have top-of-the-line security with encryption, malware scanning, and so on.
If you’re really concerned about security, your website gets heavy traffic, and you have a lot of money on hand, forgo shared hosting and go for your own VPS hosting. However, most people need not take it that far, so choosing a web hosting service known for its security and overall quality of service should be sufficient.
These tips are worth noting since WordPress is the most popular content management system on the Internet today, which means that hackers have become well-versed in breaking into them. There are many other things you can do to make your WordPress website more secure like properly configuring file permissions, using SSL encryption, and so on. But if you follow all the aforementioned tips, you’re already on your way to keeping security woes at bay.