The security of WordPress is a topic of enormous importance for any website owner. Every week, Google finds about 20,000 websites with malware and about 50,000 phishing sites. If you are seriously interested in your business, you should pay attention to WordPress’s best security practices. In this guide we will share all of WordPress’ key security tips to help you protect your website from hackers and malwares.
Improving WordPress Security
While the basic WordPress software is very secure, and is regularly checked by thousands of developers, there is much to do to strengthen your website because the weakness of certain themes or plugins.
We believe that security is not just about eliminating risk. It’s also about risk reduction. As a website owner, there are many things you can do to improve the security of WordPress (even if you are not an expert).
Here are a number of measures you can take to improve the security of WordPress.
Keep your WordPress updated
WordPress is an open source software that is regularly maintained and updated. By default, WordPress automatically installs minor updates. For major versions, you will need to start the update manually.
WordPress also has thousands of plugins and themes that you can install on your website. These plugins and themes are managed by third-party developers who regularly release updates.
These WordPress updates are critical to the security and stability of your WordPress website. You must ensure that the core, plugins and theme of WordPress are up to date.
Complex passwords and user permissions
The most common WordPress hacking attempts use stolen passwords. You can make life difficult for them by using stronger passwords that are unique to your website. Not only for the WordPress admin area, but also for FTP accounts, databases, WordPress hosting accounts and your professional email address.
The main reason why beginners don’t like using complex passwords is because they are hard to remember. The good thing is that you no longer need to remember passwords. You can use a password management system.
Another way to reduce the risk is not to grant any access to your WordPress admin account unless it is absolutely necessary. If you have a large team or guest authors, be sure to understand the user roles and features in WordPress before adding new users and authors to your WordPress site.
Importance of Solid Hosting
Your WordPress hosting service plays the most important role in the security of your WordPress site. A good shared hosting provider like Hostagator or Siteground takes extra measures to protect your servers against common threats.
However, on shared hosting you share server resources with many other customers. This opens up the risk of cross-site contamination. A hacker can use a neighboring site to attack your website.
Using a managed WordPress hosting service provides a safer platform for your website. Companies that provide managed WordPress hosting offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates and more advanced security configurations to protect your website.
Install a WordPress backup solution
There are many free and paid WordPress backup plug-ins that you can use. The most important thing you need to know when it comes to backups is that you need to regularly save backups of the entire site in a remote location (not within your hosting account).
We recommend that you store it on a standalone cloud service, such as Amazon AWS or Dropbox.
Depending on how often you update your website, the ideal setting could be once a day or real-time backups.
Luckily this can be done easily using plugins like VaultPress or BackupBuddy. They are both reliable and above all easy to use (no code knowledge is required).
The best WordPress security plugin
After the backups, the next thing we have to do is set up a monitoring and control system that keeps track of everything that happens on your website.
This includes file integrity monitoring, unsuccessful access attempts, malware scanning, etc.
Fortunately, all this can be taken over by the best free security plugin for WordPress, Sucuri Scanner.
You need to install and activate the free Sucuri Security plugin.
sucuri administrator menu
The first thing you will be asked to do is generate a free API key. This allows registration check, integrity check, email notification alerts and other important features.
The second thing you need to do is click on the “Harden” tab from the Sucuri menu. Leave each option out and click the “Harden” button.
These options help you to block out the key areas that hackers often use in their attacks to puncture a website. The only Hardening option that has a paid update is the Web Application Firewall that we will explain in the next step, so skip it for now.
After the hardening part, most of the default settings of this plugin are good and do not need to be changed. The only thing we recommend to customize is the Email Alert.
The default alert settings can clutter your inbox with emails. We recommend that you only receive alerts for key actions, such as plugin changes, new user registrations, etc. You can configure alerts by going to Sucuri Settings “Alert.
This WordPress security plugin is very powerful, so browse all the tabs and settings to see everything it does, such as scanning malware, control logs, failed access attempt, monitoring, etc..
Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)
The easiest way to protect your website and trust WordPress’ security is to use a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The firewall blocks all malicious traffic before it even reaches your website.
We use and recommend Sucuri as the best firewall for Web applications for WordPress.
The best part about Sucuri’s firewall is that it also includes malware cleaning and a guarantee of blacklisting. Basically, if you were to be hacked under their security system, they guarantee that they will fix your website (no matter how many pages you have).
This is a pretty strong guarantee because repairing compromised websites is expensive. Security experts normally charge about 150 $ per hour. While you can get the entire Sucuri security stack for about $199 a year.
Fixing a hacked WordPress website
Many WordPress users do not realize the importance of backups and website security until their site is hacked.
Cleaning up a WordPress site can be very difficult and time-consuming. Our first advice would be to let a professional take care of it.
Hackers install backdoors on the affected sites and if these backdoors are not repaired properly, your website risks being compromised again.
Allowing a professional security company to fix your website will ensure that your site is safe to reuse. It will also protect you from future attacks.
That’s all, we hope this article has helped you learn about WordPress security best practices and discover the best WordPress security plug-ins for your website.