WordPress powers a large portion of the Internet. It is estimated that over 40% of all websites run on WordPress. That’s quite impressive. Hackers are able to access WordPress websites that aren’t being maintained. It is therefore important to be familiar with WordPress website security.
WordPress is a powerful platform that can be used to create websites for businesses. You need to do everything possible to protect your customers and staff. Cyber threats are more sophisticated than ever, but smart strategies that include regular maintenance, updates, backups and security will provide you with the protection you need.
Let’s look at six WordPress security tips and best practices that will help you secure your website right now and beyond.
Make someone responsible for website security
Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring your website’s security? This is a problem if you don’t know the answer. Many businesses don’t have the staff or have never felt it necessary to put someone in charge of managing the website’s security. However, it is essential that you have someone who can make security-related decisions and provide support for your website.
This could include doing it yourself, assigning a member of staff if time and knowledge are not an issue or working with outside specialists to provide advice and support.
WordPress website owners should make it a priority to keep their WordPress version up-to-date. WordPress updates its software regularly to fix known vulnerabilities and issues. Running the latest version of WordPress reduces the risk of those problems.
These numbers prove the importance of keeping the software up-to-date. Nearly 40% of WordPress hacks were caused by the core software being out-of-date. WordPress updates are quick and simple, so you should not put off updating WordPress, which is critical to your website’s security.
Update themes and plugins
WordPress updates are only part of website maintenance. WordPress websites use themes and plugins, which are often targeted by cybercriminals. It is important to ensure that your themes and plugins are up-to-date. You should also avoid older software that has been discontinued. Your website could be at risk if you fail to keep up with the latest software.
Before installing themes and plugins, it’s a good idea to do some research. If they are no longer supported by developers, they can become vulnerable. It is safer to choose themes and plugins with hundreds of high ratings and active communities of users who contribute to their development. Plugins pose the greatest security risk by making WordPress vulnerable, so use caution when choosing plugins.
Perform penetration testing
A third-party expert can also test your website and security defences on a regular basis. This is a great way for you to receive an independent and fair assessment of your current systems, and any potential issues that require attention.
A company that specialises in penetration testing can carry out a complete test of your website and provide follow-up information on how to fix any issues found. This will help you reduce your risk of a cyberattack. Website penetration tests will check for weaknesses such as insecure configurations (weak passwords and unsafe user privileges), encryption flaws and programming weaknesses.
You can take control of your login credentials
WordPress website owners may have multiple accounts. These accounts can be used for site administration, hosting, FTP access and many other things. Avoid falling for the trap of using the exact same usernames and passwords across all accounts. Cybercriminals can compromise one account and then attempt to access other systems with the same credentials.
It can be difficult to remember all of those usernames and passwords. LastPass is a password manager that allows you to create and store secure passwords.
Administrators should have separate accounts for administration and day-to-day management such as adding content.
Upgrade your web hosting plan
Even though your defences are strong, the wrong web hosting could make your site vulnerable. Hosting packages that are cheaper often share your site with other sites – which can put your site at risk if they get compromised.
Dedicated web hosting is best for you if you want maximum security. SiteGround offers cloud hosting that is specifically designed for WordPress websites. Although this is a more costly option, it ensures that your site will not be compromised by co-hosted sites. Poor backups and poorly maintained log records are just two of the problems that shared hosting presents. Although dedicated web hosting may not be right for every company, it can increase website security.
Additional website security steps you can implement
These are just a few steps to make your site safer, but there are many more things that can be done. The following are the most important:
- Make sure to back up your website regularly: This will allow you to restore your site in the event of a cyberattack. You can quickly get your site back online if something goes wrong. There are many backup plugins that you can use, both in free and paid versions. UpdraftPlus is very popular as it has many features, is highly recommended and has a free and paid version.
- Install a security plugin: A security plugin is another useful tool for improving WordPress website security. The plugin can perform a variety of tasks, depending on the type you choose. These include monitoring failed login attempts and malware scanning. WordFence has impressive features, is highly recommended and has a free and paid version.
- Enable a firewall: Firewalls are still an important part of web security. They can block suspicious traffic from reaching your site. Web application firewalls are included in some security plugins, and DNS firewalls are included in some cloud service providers, such as Cloudflare.
- Use HTTPS for your website: Make sure your site uses HTTPS instead of HTTP. Websites that use HTTPS will have a padlock next to their URL in your browser. This is both important for SEO and security. You will need the SSL protocol to move to HTTPS. It encrypts data between your website’s users and your website.
To sum up
Before launching a website, a web design agency must ensure it is secure and armed. A WordPress care plan for maintenance is a great idea. This will ensure that you are covered for all the points we have discussed, and you don’t have to worry about it. Your website’s security should always be a priority, regardless of whether you are working with a developer or doing it yourself.