WordPress is the leading blogging platform that supports any Web site. The growth and success of WordPress have made WordPress operated sites a target by many hackers, spammers and cyber-criminals in general. A good webmaster must be proactive when it comes to securing your WordPress site so as to guard against the attacks that might cost downtime — and expenses associated with their cleaning.
We will share with you some important measures that you can take to ensure the security of your WordPress site in 2017.
1. Use of Strong passwords
The most common attack on a WordPress site login panel is a brute force attack which involves attackers trying to guess your password pattern. It is advisable to create and maintain strong passwords. The passwords should be ten characters long, consisting of numbers and letters (upper case and lower case) along with symbols. You had better install programs such as Limit Login Attempts that limit the number of login attempts, thus protecting against brute force attacks. Using a simple password generator can go a long way to securing your WordPress site in the year 2017.
2. Use two-step verification
Another compelling way of securing your WordPress site is to introduce a Two-Factor Authentication. It is an access control whereby the user is granted control after successfully providing two pieces of evidence. Instead of the usual login by providing username and password, you are asked to give a code sent to your phone to verify your identity. Two-step verification is a sure way of securing your WordPress Web site in 2017
3. Renaming login URL
Renaming the URL of your login is another trick that you can use to restrict non-authorized entities from accessing your Login page. Hackers usually try to attack your WordPress Web site when they know your direct login page URL. Only someone with the real URL can log in to your WordPress site.
4. Update WordPress Themes and Plugins
The responsibility of updating a Web site falls on the administrator. WordPress consistently releases new updates aimed at fixing bugs, patching security vulnerabilities, as well as introducing new features. It is a fallacy to think that WordPress will update your site. You must work to ensuring your site is safe from hackers. Making use of the auto updater that comes with your WordPress Web site will ensure your site is updated automatically. The auto updater functionality is essential, especially for those running various WordPress sites. The chances of your site getting hacked are high if you are using an old version of WordPress.
5. Install themes /plugins of highest quality
Desist from installing poorly coded Themes and Plugins on your WordPress site. A good script to install should be one that is regularly updated. Don't be a victim of purchasing a theme that looks cool only to find out later after you have suffered hacking that the coding was poor. Hackers quickly train bots to be on the lookout for poorly coded themes during their hacking missions.
6. Use SSL to encrypt data
An SSL Certificate is a must for WordPress sites, especially those that store customer information. The SSL certificate ensures secure transfer of data between the user and the server making it impossible for hackers to spoof your data.
A Wildcard SSL Certificate will save you money and time by securing your domain and unlimited sub-domains on a single certificate. Most importantly, you can combine your Wild Card Certificate with Subject Alternative Names (SANs) thereby expanding the certificates functionality.
7. Backup your files regularly
It's always wise to guard against any eventuality by backing up your data regularly. The best way is to have an external backup. Should something happen to your Web site, you can quickly restore it to its original state. VaultPress by Automatic is among the available premium backup solutions available in the market. It automatically backs all your data every 30 minutes. You can restore your data at any time with just one click.
8. Secure your hosting setup
Going a step further where the security of your Web site is concerned is the right thing to do. Protecting the wp-config.php file that stores sensitive information concerning your WordPress installation is important. Inaccessibility of the wp-config.php file will make it impossible for hackers to breach the security of your WordPress site. The best way of hiding your wp-config.php file is to move it to a higher level than your root directory file. WordPress will still locate the file.
9. Disallow file editing
Disallowing file editing of your WordPress site is important. If a user gains access to your WordPress dashboard, they can edit any file including your WordPress Installation files. Disallowing file editing means that even were a hacker gets access to your WordPress admin panel, he or she would not be able to edit or modify any files.
To disallow editing, you just need to enter the following at the end of the wp-config.php file:
define ('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true);
10. Monitor for malware
Having a program that monitors your site for malware is paramount. A good program is one that checks deep into the structure of your files thereby reporting deep breaches. When you detect malware, take action immediately to neutralize the threat posed.
11. Clean your site
It is advisable to get rid of old themes and plugins that are not in use. A decent Web site will be easier to restore in case a security breach happens.
12. Control sensitive information
Some information can be injurious if it falls into the hands of hackers. Confidential files such as the readme.html file will tell hackers what version of WordPress you are using. If hackers get rid of the file and discover that you are using an old version that has holes, they will attack your site. Other sensitive items to be given maximum protection from hackers are the phpinfo.php or i.php files because they tell everything in regards to your WordPress site setup.
Finally, a hacker must not get hold of your .sql database backup files. With the files, a hacker can download your entire database that includes every username and encrypted password you have ever used.
Kunjal Panchal is a Digital Strategist and a social media geek. She is passionate about content marketing and strongly believes in the power of storytelling for marketing. A perfect day for her consists of reading her favorite author with a hot cuppa coffee. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.