Effective Ways to Secure WordPress Websites

WordPress websites are pretty common contemporarily more than ever. Whether you want to run an online store or wanna write about what your cat has been up to, WordPress got you all covered.

Here are a couple of things you do to prevent further cyber-attacks.
Let’s start from the very basic:

Be Up-to-Date

WordPress regularly pushes new changes to its platform, it patches older security vulnerabilities, hence enhancing the overall security.
As WordPress is PHP based, the programming language gets updated from time to time, so it would be a recommended step to update the PHP version of your WordPress website.

Along with the WordPress itself, the WordPress themes and plugins also have multiple vulnerabilities in them as well. Official channels of themes and plugins regularly publish about their recent flaws and their patches and their recommended (secured) versions to be used. Keep yourself up to date.

Strong Login Credentials

Instead of using those common usernames i.e., admin, administrator. Go for the usernames that are unique to you. The same thing goes for your passwords. A password must

  • be more than 12 characters long
  • be uppercase, lowercase alphabets
  • have numbers with special characters

Having a complex password can drastically increase the chances of your survival in a brute force attack (where some attacker tries to log in with the most common available passwords). You can check how strong your password is and how much time would it take an attacker to guess it. Securiy.org

Develop a habit of changing your password after the cycle of 1 month.

You can have a rough idea for a complex strong password:

h8y#S6L#0$4I
&4Pgq0cV#Hya

Furthermore, you can check for your password leak, and whether your credentials have been leaked in any past security breach. If yes, immediately change it. HaveIBeenPwned.com

2-FA (Two Factor Authentication)

The weakest link in the security of anything you do online is your password, WordPress now offers Two Factor Authentication, which you can utilize on your website to add an additional layer of protection. So in the worst-case scenario, even if your WordPress login credentials are stolen, you would still have an extra layer of security.

Using HTTPS SSL/TLS Connection

SSL adds encryption to the connection of your website, hence increasing the overall security of the website. SSL/TLS ensures the communication between client and server is secure and none of the data is sniffed on the way.

DDoS Attacks Mitigation

Distributed Denial of Services attack is a pretty common form of cyber attack, in such types of scenarios a large chunk of requesting traffic is forwarded towards the servers of the websites where the website is being hosted to prevent users from accessing connected online services and sites.

To mitigate such scenarios, there are a couple of premium services you can buy to divide the traffic to other servers. For start-ups, it is not a really ideal way to spend money on such services. Cloudflare is a free service you can use to secure your WordPress websites.

Despite DDoS attacks mitigation, Cloudflare also provides other free services including SSL, CDN, DNS Resolution, and other website performance boosting services. Whenever you sign up with Cloudflare, all the incoming traffic to your website will be monitored by the Cloudflare servers so that any abnormal behavior would be flagged out and hence making your website a safer place.

Uninstalling Unused Themes and Plugins

Keeping the whole junk of unused and untrusted themes and plugins is not a wise idea. Remove instantly any used plugin and themes from your WordPress website.

In WordPress Security

For further security, it is always recommended to add internal WordPress Website Security protocols. WordPress has multiple free security plugins that you can install and set up a few security parameters of your own.

Some of the best free WordPress security plugins are

  • Defender
  • JetPack
  • Sucuri
  • iThemes Security

Among these plugins, iThemes Security is the easiest to use and effectiveness of all. It offers free and premium services, but still free services offer most of the core security features.

Here are a couple of protocols you can set for the security of the WordPress Website:

Adding Lock-Outs

Turning these checks on can highly tighten the security of your website, you can ban certain bad users and their IPs that have been trying to access the unauthorized directories, or protect against the attackers who randomly brute force your login details.

File Change Warning

Turning this feature on, you can keep an eye on all the files that are being changed without your permission, in case, an attacker tries to insert some malicious code to your website source code, this feature will notify you and you can block the change in file.

Define User Groups

If your website has multiple user groups i.e., Admins, Editors, etc, and you want to restrict the users to a certain level of access, this feature can help you securely manage all that stuff.

Locking Out the Intruders

Most of the login attempts made are usually bots that are designed by attackers to find certain vulnerabilities in the websites, whenever an IP address tries (bad attempt)to login multiple times, this feature will automatically block that certain IP. You can set up all the protocols as per your needs.

Backing Up of your Data

Always make sure you have the backup of your WordPress Data including your posts, databases, themes, and plugins. In case of any incident, you can recover your services in minimum time if you have the backup of your data.

Be Aware of Phishing Attempts

Phishing attempts are now common more than ever, attackers curate the targeted attacks to the weakest link in your chain i.e., the human factor. And the majority of security incidents happen due to phishing attempts.

Read more about how attackers try to attack you via Google Docs here.

Conclusion

These are some of the basic steps you can take to make your WordPress website secure. The weakest link in security failures is human error. Always keep yourself updated with the latest updates in the security industry, and ensure your security protocols accordingly. Ensure proper cyber hygiene, back up your website data, change your passwords regularly, do not click on the links in your emails (that look suspicious)

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