How to secure wordpress site? You put in a lot of time and effort to build your website, and you’ve probably put in even more time and effort to keep it up to date. Your website might even be necessary for your survival — you need those lovely, dollar, dollar cash to keep your company afloat.
So, let’s get down to business when it comes to security.
WordPress is a great, secure platform right out of the box, but there’s a lot more you can (and should!) do to keep your site safe from nefarious individuals. Many of these security enhancements are simple to deploy and can be completed in a matter of minutes by hand. Others only necessitate the installation of a certain plugin.
In this article, I’ll walk you through ten alternative ways for fortifying your WordPress fortress’s defenses. But first, let’s dig a little deeper into why website security is important to you.
Choosing WordPress as your platform is a great place to start if you want to develop a safe site (an obvious “no duh”). It’s not only a versatile and powerful platform for creating websites, but it’s also extremely secure right out of the box.
Because WordPress developers are concerned about security, they are committed to “hardening” the core platform to the greatest extent possible. They also provide security-related updates and patches on a regular basis, which are automatically downloaded and deployed on your site. As a result, your website will be well-prepared to handle any new dangers that arise.
Of fact, no platform can guarantee complete security. Hackers are hard at work trying to break into even the most secure websites (if only they could utilise their abilities for good, amirite?) WordPress is popular enough to be a regular target because it powers more than 30% of the internet.
It should go without saying that if bad guys manage to get into your site, they can do a lot of damage.
They can, for example, steal or otherwise compromise sensitive information, install malware, modify your site to suit their demands, or even take it down completely. This is bad to both you and your users, and if you run a business, it can result in lost revenue and clients.
That’s not good at all.
Taking extra precautions to secure your WordPress website is critical. You’ll want to devote the same amount of time and attention to this project as you did to creating your website in the first place (if not more). Fortunately, dear reader, there are many basic, quick ways to strengthen the security of your site, as well as some more advanced strategies you might want to use.
How to secure wordpress site?
10 useful ideas for keeping your site safer and minimizing the possibilities of it being hacked in the rest of this article. In addition, I’ll send you in the correct direction for each strategy.
You don’t have to accomplish everything on this list — though you certainly may — the more actions you take to safeguard your site, the less likely you are to face a tragedy down the line.
1. Use a Quality Host
Your web host can be thought of as your website’s “street” on the Internet; it’s where your site “lives.”
The quality of your website’s home base matters in a lot of ways, just like a good school district matters to your child’s future (so they say; I turned out alright).
A reputable hosting company can affect how well your site works, how large it can expand, and even how well it ranks in search engines. The top hosts provide a wide range of helpful features, outstanding customer service, and a platform-specific service.
Your web host, as you may have anticipated, can have a considerable impact on the security of your site. Choosing a reliable hosting service has various security advantages, including:
- A good host will keep its service, software, and tools up to date in order to respond to the latest threats and prevent security breaches.
- Various targeted security features, such as SSL/TLS certificates and DDoS protection, are frequently offered by web servers. You should also have access to a Web Application Firewall (WAF), which will assist you in monitoring and blocking major threats to your website.
- If you’re hacked, your web provider will almost certainly provide a mechanism to back up your site (and in some circumstances, will even do it for you), allowing you to quickly restore a stable, earlier version.
- If your host provides trustworthy, round-the-clock support, you’ll always have someone to turn to if you have a security-related problem.
This list should serve as a decent starting point for finding a host for your new website, or if you’re considering switching providers. You’ll want to pick one that has all of the features and functionality you require, as well as a track record of dependability and high performance.
DreamPress is WordPress-specific hosting that is quick, dependable, scalable, and secure. DreamPress comes with a pre-installed SSL/TLS certificate and a dedicated WAF with rules specifically designed to safeguard WordPress sites and prevent hacking attempts. At no extra charge, you’ll also get automated backups, 24/7 support from WordPress professionals, and Jetpack Premium, a plugin that can add a slew of extra security protections to your site.
You’ll be able to relax knowing that your site is safe with DreamPress. Even while our hosting service takes care of many of the following security-enhancing procedures for you, we nonetheless recommend that you read on to find out what further precautions you may take.
After all, kids, safety comes first!
2. Switch Your Site to HTTPS
Let’s discuss SSL/TLS certificates in greater detail. This allows you to upgrade your site to HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure), a more secure version of HTTP. Even if you’ve never heard of these terms before, they’re vital security concepts to comprehend.
HTTP is the data transport protocol between your website and any browser that attempts to access it. When a visitor clicks on your home page, this protocol sends all of your content, media, and website code to the visitor’s location.
While this is undoubtedly necessary, it does raise some security concerns. Bad actors may attempt to intercept data in transit and utilise it for their own nefarious reasons.
This is a problem that HTTPS solves! It accomplishes the same thing as HTTP, but it also encrypts your site’s data as it travels from point A to point B, making it difficult to access.
Initially, HTTPS was primarily utilised for sites that handled sensitive client data, such as credit card numbers. However, it’s becoming more prevalent for all sites, and large names like WordPress and Google have been pushing for it to be widely adopted.
You’ll need an SSL/TLS certificate to convert your site to HTTPS. This tells browsers that your site is legitimate and that the data it contains is properly secured. Certain websites, such as Let’s Encrypt, will also provide you with one for free.
As part of your hosting package, a good host will usually include an SSL/TLS certificate. In fact, all of our hosting plans at DreamHost include a free Let’s Encrypt certificate!
You’ll only need to implement HTTPS once you’ve placed an SSL/TLS certificate on your site. Your host may take care of this for you, but it’s also something you may handle on your own. Your site will be built utilizing HTTPS from the start if you choose DreamPress, the stretch limo of hosting. Let the games begin!
3. Create Secure Login Credentials
This makes it more difficult for a creepy stranger to gain access to your website. You’ve undoubtedly chosen strong usernames and passwords for other accounts on the internet, so it’s no great issue to do the same for your WordPress website.
You’ll be given the option to establish a login username and password when you create your site. The username will be admin by default, but you can change it if you want (and probably should). However, as there are several ways for individuals to discover your WordPress login, you can choose the default choice if you like.
Your password, on the other hand, is critical, and you should choose a strong one. A recent U-turn on how to choose a strong password has occurred, with the advice of a simple four-word phrase eclipsing the traditional mix of random letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s a technique that’s been around for a while in some circles.
If all of this talk about passwords is making your head spin, we recommend using WordPress’ own password generator, which generates an (almost) impenetrable password straight within the WordPress back end. Just make a note of your credentials somewhere secure, such as an encrypted password manager, so you don’t forget them.
You can still update your login credentials if you’ve already built your site and used less-than-ideal credentials at first. You can change your username by creating a new account, giving it administrator status, and assigning all of your stuff to it before deleting your old one.
To change your password, go to Users > All Users in your WordPress admin panel, click on your username, then change it on the Edit User screen.
4. Enable a Web Application Firewall
You’re probably aware of the concept of a firewall, which is a program that helps to protect your computer from various types of malicious attacks. You almost certainly have a firewall installed on your PC. A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a type of firewall that is specifically designed to protect websites. Servers, particular websites, or large groups of websites can all be protected.
A web application firewall (WAF) on your WordPress site will act as a firewall between your site and the rest of the internet. A firewall watches for suspicious behavior, detect assaults, viruses, and other unwelcome occurrences, and blocks anything it deems dangerous. #winning
If you’ve chosen our DreamPress bundle, you won’t need to install an additional firewall. DreamPress comes with a built-in Web Application Firewall (WAF) that will scan your site for risks and prevent unauthorized individuals and programmes from gaining access. There is no need for you to take any action.
Our in-house malware detection service, DreamShield, is also available through DreamHost. We’ll scan your site weekly for dangerous code if you enable DreamShield on your hosting account. If we uncover anything questionable, we’ll send you an email right away.
5. Implement Two-Factor Authentication
There’s one more approach to cover before we move on: two-factor authentication (which also goes by two-step authentication and a variety of other, similar names). The word refers to the two-step process you’ll have to go through to log into your website. This takes a bit more time on your part, but it goes a long way toward preventing hackers from entering your system.
Two-factor authentication entails confirming your login using a smartphone or other device. To begin, go to your WordPress site and log in with your username and password. A unique code will be delivered to your mobile device, which you must enter to complete the login process. This allows you to authenticate your identity by demonstrating that you have exclusive access to something you own, such as a phone or tablet.
Two-factor authentication, like many other WordPress features, is simple to set up using a plugin. Two Factor Authentication is a good option because it was designed by reputable developers, is compatible with Google Authenticator, and allows you to easily integrate this functionality into your website.
Another option is the Two-Factor plugin, which is well-known for its dependability and was developed mostly by WordPress core developers. The learning curve is a little steep, but it will get the job done and is very secure, as with any plugin in its category. You may also check out Jetpack’s Clef-like premium solution if you’re prepared to spend a little money.
Whatever path you take, make sure to consult with your team ahead of time if necessary, as you’ll need their phone numbers and other details to get started. Your login page is now protected and ready to use.
6. Add New Plugins and Themes Carefully (And Update Them Often)
One of the best aspects of utilizing WordPress is the ready availability of themes and plugins. With these helpful tools, you can customize your site’s appearance and add almost any feature or functionality you can imagine.
However, not all plugins and themes are created equal.
Developers that aren’t careful or lack the necessary knowledge can produce plugins that are unreliable, unsecure, or just plain bad. They may employ shoddy coding techniques that expose security flaws that hackers might readily exploit, or they may unwittingly interfere with critical functions.
All of this means you should be extremely cautious about the themes and plugins you install on your website. Each one should be thoroughly examined to verify that it is a reliable alternative that will not harm your website or cause troubles. There are numerous considerations to make, however the following guidelines can assist you in selecting high-quality tools:
- Look at customer reviews and ratings to see if others have had a positive experience with the plugin or theme in question.
- Check to see if the plugin or theme has been updated recently. If it’s been more than six months, there’s a good possibility it’s not as safe as it could be.
- Install new plugins and themes one at a time, so you’ll know what went wrong if something goes wrong. Also, make a backup of your site before making any changes.
- Plugins and themes should be obtained from reputable sources such as the WordPress.org Theme and Plugin Directories, ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, and reputable developer websites.
Finally, once you’ve added the plugins and themes you want to your site, your work isn’t done.
You’ll also need to maintain them up to date in order to ensure that they perform effectively together and are protected from the most recent dangers. Fortunately, this is simple: simply go to your WordPress dashboard, look for red notifications indicating that there are themes and/or plugins with available updates, and click update now next to each one.
You may also update all of your plugins at once by choosing them all and clicking the update button, which can be found here or in the WordPress panel. This is a faster option, but keep in mind that updating all of them at once may make diagnosing any problems that develop as a result of the changes more complex. This shouldn’t be an issue if you only use trustworthy plugins and themes.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that you should also maintain WordPress up to date. Smaller patches and security updates will be applied automatically, but major changes may need to be implemented manually (again, this is very simple to do). This should go without saying, but DreamHost takes care of these upgrades for you, so you won’t have to.
Remember that keeping WordPress, or any of your themes or plugins, out of date is a danger you should avoid.
7. Configure Your File Permissions
A set of folders and files hold a lot of the information, data, and content on your WordPress site. Each one is given a permissions level and is structured into a hierarchical framework. The permissions on a WordPress file or folder control who can view and modify it, and they can be configured to allow anybody, only you, or nearly anything in between.
In WordPress, file permissions are represented by a three-digit number, with each digit having a different meaning. The first digit represents an individual user (the site’s owner), the second digit represents a group (for example, your site’s members), and the third numeral represents the entire planet. The number itself indicates that the user, group, or the entire world:
- 0: Does not have permission to view the file.
- 1: The file can only be executed.
- 2: The file can be edited.
- 3: The file can be edited and executed.
- 4: The file can be read.
- 5: The file can be read and executed.
- 6: The file can be read and edited.
- 7: The file can be read, edited, and executed.
So, if a file has a permissions level of 640, it implies that the principal user may read and edit it, the group can read but not alter it, and everyone else is unable to access it. This may appear to be too complicated, but it’s critical to guarantee that each individual only has access to the files and folders on your site that you want them to have.
WordPress suggests giving directories permissions of 755 and files permissions of 644. You’ll be fine if you keep to these rules, though you can create whatever combination you choose. Just keep in mind that no one should have greater access than they require, especially to critical files.
You should also bear in mind that the best permissions settings will vary depending on your hosting service, so you should ask your host what they recommend.
Note: Changing your permissions levels should be done with caution; the improper numbers (such as the dreaded 777) will render your site unavailable.
You don’t need to bother about this step if you’re running your WordPress site by yourself. Just make sure no one else has access to your site so you’re the only one who can make updates.
Many humans, on the other hand, enjoy interacting with others and will eventually add more than one user to their website. You may want to allow other authors to add content, or you may require assistance editing and managing your site. It’s also possible that you’ll have an entire team of users who will regularly enter your WordPress site and make modifications on their own.
This can be advantageous in a variety of ways, and it is sometimes even required. It is, nevertheless, a possible security issue.
The more individuals you invite into your site, the more likely it is that someone will make a fat-finger error or cause problems simply to be a jerk. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep your site’s user count as low as possible while yet allowing it to expand. Try to keep the number of administrators and other high-privileged user roles to a minimum.
Here are a couple more ideas:
- Limit each user’s permissions to only those that are required for them to execute their job. Obviously, users should be encouraged to choose strong passwords (remember No. 3?).
- If at all possible, keep one administrator and a small number of editors.
- Allow users who have left the site or who no longer require access to be kicked off.
- Consider installing Members, a plugin that gives you a user interface for WordPress’ role and capability system.
9. Track Your Admin Area Activity
It’s a good idea to keep track of what your users are doing on the site if you have a lot of them. Tracking activity in your WordPress admin area can help you identify when other users are doing things they shouldn’t, as well as whether illegal users have acquired access.
When a strange alteration is performed or anything suspicious is installed, you’ll want to be able to figure out who is responsible. Plugins will take care of everything.
You’ll need to locate a bespoke solution because most major security plugins don’t include this feature out of the box. Simple History, which creates a streamlined, easy-to-understand log of significant changes and events on your site if you want to adopt a hands-off approach, lives up to its name by generating a streamlined, easy-to-understand log of essential changes and events on your site.
WP Security Audit Log, which keeps track of almost everything that happens on your site and offers many handy premium add-ons, is another option for more involved tracking features.
It’s a good idea to check the log for anything out of the ordinary once you’ve installed an appropriate plugin. Look through the most recent activity if something unexpected happens on your site or if bugs appear unexpectedly.
10. Backup Your Site Regularly
If I stated there was a one-size-fits-all approach for securing your website from all threats, I’d be lying. Even if you follow every recommendation on this list, there’s still a danger that your website will be hacked.
Hackers are masters of their craft.
All you have to do now is beat them at their own game. A thorough security plan entails thinking about what you’ll do if the worst happens, even while you work to avoid it.
The easiest and best strategy to protect your site in the event of a disaster is to back it up on a regular basis. You can restore your site to the state it was in before it was hacked or otherwise damaged if you have a recent backup. This will assist you in resolving the problem and moving on as quickly as possible.
Naturally, you’ll want to be cautious about how you build and use backups. The following suggestions are an excellent place to start:
- Keep many backups on hand. Because your most recent backup could have faults you haven’t seen yet, it’s a smart rule of thumb to keep at least three recent backups on hand at all times.
- Backups should be kept in a variety of places, including cloud storage and conventional hard discs.
- Create and keep to a regular backup schedule. Although there are many reliable tips you can follow, the frequency and timing are entirely up to you.
It’s always a good idea to make an extra backup of your site before making any changes to it, in addition to your regular backup plan. So (nudge, nudge) make sure you have a recent backup before applying any of these security-enhancing approaches.
WordPress Security: Final Words
True fact: if your website is hacked, you’ll spend hours (if not days!) repairing the damage. You might permanently lose data or have your personal information — or, worse, your clients’ data — compromised.
That is why you must devote a great deal of time and effort to ensuring that such a circumstance never arises. Otherwise, while attempting to restore the damage, you’re likely to lose significant business and cash.
These ten WordPress security tips should be of assistance. Some of the changes are minor. Others, such as switching to HTTPS or adding an SSL certificate, have an impact on your entire site. You’ll also want to ensure your site is hosted on a secure WordPress server.