Many businesses use WordPress in their daily routine but they have a common complaint i.e regarding the security. The thought of script becoming vulnerable shakes the team working on it. And if is it so, then what sort of things you need to embrace to secure your WordPress site?
Though WordPress is gaining popularity and growing steadily it has one drawback. As WordPress is an open source software and because of that, the chances of hacking is also more. As a result, more security concerns for the users but also a neglected topic of the era.
Luckily, we have the security measures when we really need it. So, let’s understand and take a look at the security steps that are needed to save your website.
1. Secure WordPress hosting
Security doesn’t mean only a strong password. In fact, it is way more than that according to WP White security 8% of the sites get hacked because of weak login credentials. Then, what about the remaining 92%, how they get hacked? Out of 92 around 22 to 29% gets hacked because of plugins and themes. And the other remaining happens due to the insufficient security is given on the server.
Hence, it is important to use a reliable hosting company which can update the infrastructure regularly and maintains security up to the mark. As a reliable host will update the software, tools and services continuously. Also, a good web host provides security features like SSL/TLS certificates.
2. Clever Username and Passwords
Though we know that only 8% of hacks are caused by the weak credentials still they are the first gateway to your sites. So don’t make excuses to ignore them. Take initiatives to secure your login credentials. Never ever use the word “Admin” as a username. It was years back when we used “admin” as the administrator account. The name was used in each installation of WordPress and many people are still stuck on it. Hackers know about this human tendency and they make sure to take every possible benefit from it.
So, in case you are installing the new website, make sure that you are using a different username. And if you are using the same name, change it right now or create another account with a new name and delete the previous one. And yes, don’t forget to change the content to align with a new account. In addition, you need a strong password as well. Now, WordPress has become advanced in telling the password strength like your password is strong or weak. You can use LastPass, Norton, etc to generate your password. And do remember to change the password time to time.
3. Get your site into HTTPS – SSL Certificate
SSL/TLS certificate makes you switch to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a more secure version. While HTTP is a protocol which transmits the data from the website to browse. During this transmission, the hackers try to use the data for their own purpose. But this issue is resolved in HTTPS, the function is similar to HTTP plus it does the data encryption such that the data becomes difficult to access.
In the early days, HTTPS was used only for the sites related to customer services such as debit and credit card details. But now, the communities are understanding the need for security and more people are indulging in it. The fan following list of HTTPS is not just up to some people it includes big names as well such as WordPress and Google.
Moreover, to become part of HTTPS, you will need the SSL/TLS certificate. Once you get certified start implementing HTTPS. Although, the WordPress host takes effort but is fairly easy to do by yourself. Also, you can launch your WordPress site through Amazon Web Services by availing the AWS Developer Training. Through training, you will learn how to launch and configure, how to obtain the username and password for a WordPress site and how to login to the portal.
4. Use Latest Versions
We all already know this part but still, I’m giving emphasis on it. Why? Because it is important to keep your website up-to-date. As we know with each version, a new latest feature and bug fixes are added on. So, never skip an update since it gets more and more capable to address the bugs and reduces the security concerns.
Especially, the condition is more applicable to small WordPress updates. Till now, WordPress automatically updates the minor one but the major one needs updating.
5. Two-factor Authentication
Before we go to the next step, we need to address one more technology 2-F authentication. 2-F means the two-step process that needs to be filled before logging the site. Maybe these steps take a bit more time but it will make you prepare for the long run. Usually, 2-F authentication covers a manual password and device authentication.
When you enter into WordPress site, the very first step is to fill the username and password to proceed further. In the next step, a unique code is sent to the device to complete the previous process. In this way, the site confirms the user’s identity for example, through a phone or a tablet. Many WordPress sites provide these authentications and are easy to use. Of course, this is a solid discovery created by the developers which are compatible with Google as well. The other available is a Two-Factor plugin.
6. Database Security
All the data of the sites are stored in one place that is known as a database. To take of the data and information is very crucial. The very first thing you can do is change the prefix of the database table. If you are familiar with WordPress then you be knowing about wp-, make sure you change it for security purpose. As wp- is set by default and in case you have forgotten about that then you are giving a chance to a hacker especially for SQL injection attack. So, choose the prefix wisely which is uncommon for others.
Also, you can use plugins to change your prefix, for example, WP-DBManager, iThemes. You are just one click away and your database prefix is changed. But, before doing anything with the database make sure you have a backup. In-fact backup should be taken on a regular basis whether you are touching your database or not.
7. Disable XML-RPC
With the increase in the use of mobile devices, the vulnerability caused by XML-RPC has become imminent. Although, according to some security folks the issue is not that big and need not be concerned. But still, if you want to be happy the best option will be to disable or turn-off the XML-RPC.
It just needs one command i.e
Paste it into the site-specific plugin. Another option to disable is to directly install the Disable XML-RPC plugin and activate it.
8. DDoS protection
Due to an increase in threat related to distributed denial of service, most of the web hosting companies are offering DDoS protection. But how does it happen? Basically, the enormous amount of traffic which floods the site and results in slow loading of the page. This type of attack can happen anytime and can affect the most secure website. Though it does not hack your files rather it will crash your website. It may take a penny of your pocket but it depends on you whether you want protection or makes it vulnerable to get attacked. Github and Target were the largest companies which got affected by the DDoS attacks. We have covered the whole aspects of DDoS in a whole blog on the site about DDoS protection.
9. HTTP Security headers
Thousands of WordPress sites get hacked just because of lack of attention towards the security. If you are related to the content and SEO then security becomes the major concern and you must be familiar with the terms code injection, Clickjacking, MIME types, etc. X-XSS-protection is one of the types of HTTP security header which can help you in preventing the XSS attacks. It is compatible with Android, Chrome, Opera, IE 8+, Safari. Google and Facebook are the major brands which implement this header, even most of the professionals would recommend this security header. Well, with WordPress you must consider plug-ins to secure your data and information.
10. Secure Connections
In case you are using a shared hosting plan then you need to consider this point as the most important out of all. The very first thing you need to do is call the web host’s support team for the necessary adjustments. It covers three steps: Upgrade your server’s host file, Enable PHP for cURL extension, Open the right ports for your firewall. If you use VPS, you might need to configure and set up the firewall to make sure there is no blockage in the ports. Also, you need cURL to download plugins from the main repository.
It may be monotonous to deal with security issues but it doesn’t mean to neglect the security concerns. Unfortunately, we take the things seriously when it had already worsened the things. So, before it gets too late start taking precautions as after a successful hack, recovery takes more effort and money. Just implement the above-given steps to set the benchmark. Maybe some are tweak but some can change the outlook of your entire site such as shifting to HTTPS.