Are you sure there are no vulnerabilities on your site? While using the Internet has its advantages, there are also disadvantages if you are not properly protected. Owning a website does not guarantee protection against malicious attacks, so you should be especially vigilant.
While WordPress provides a top-notch, secure, and flexible framework, some careful DIY can make your site 100% hack and hack-resistant. Yes!! This WordPress Security Guide 2023 is all about securing your WordPress website, as you probably guessed by now.
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Why is WordPress security important?
Your website informs visitors about who you are, your services and products, and what they can expect from your company. This is the place to make an amazing first impression and build the trust and loyalty of existing fans. Because of this, it is very important to keep your website available at all times. Your reputation will suffer if it suddenly finds links to malicious websites, becomes unstable after being hacked, or disappears completely.
You may incur financial losses as a result of fewer views, purchases, or ad impressions if your site is hacked. Getting it back in working order can be expensive. Search engine rankings can drop, sometimes permanently. Make sure your site is down and secure to save money.
Hackers can take control of your site in a number of ways
The most frustrating aspect of automatic WordPress hacks is that they are easy to avoid if you keep your WordPress site up to date. While a hacker can target a single website, most websites are victims of much larger attacks.
To take control of your website, follow these steps:
- Backdoors, hidden scripts, or files offer another way to gain access to your site. You can then use the backdoor to add a malicious redirect to another website where you don’t want to send visitors.
- Automated tools that find weak passwords use brute force login.
- Through the use of a script in the plugin used, cross-scripting allows hackers to deliver malicious code to the browser.
- A denial of service (DoS) is the addition of defects or bugs to a website’s code, causing it to stop functioning properly.
- Pharma hacks: pasting code into a legacy WordPress installation.
They sound a little scary. Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid these issues in the first place.
How to improve WordPress security and protect your site from hackers
Choose a quality host
Choosing a reputable hosting provider is extremely important because they act as your security partner. You get what you pay for, and many cheap hosts don’t have strong security procedures in place. But how do you decide what to choose? Here are some signs of a reliable hosting company:
- Regular backups as part of your subscription or at an additional cost.
- Free SSL certificates that protect the information of site visitors.
- If your site is ever hacked, 24/7 support.
- A built-in firewall that protects your server database and files.
- Security checks will notify you of any questionable code or behavior on your website.
- Favorable reputation The best way to evaluate the quality of a host is through reviews and recommendations.
- And keep in mind that a business with solid security and knowledge is worth the extra cost.
Use the Strongest Passwords Possible
Hackers can easily access your WordPress admin panel if you don’t create a secure enough website, and once they do, they can do whatever they want. Hackers use automated programs to recheck multiple possible passwords until they find one that works. They can take full control by gaining access to your WordPress admin account.
Keep software up to date
Keeping your WordPress themes and plugins up to date is the best way to keep your site secure. The sooner you update, the better, as new updates often fix security flaws. In addition, you can reduce the security issues associated with WordPress by choosing reliable plugins that can multi-task and are stable.
Use your email to login
By default, in order to log into WordPress, you must enter your username. It’s more secure to use an email ID rather than a username. The reasons are pretty clear. While email IDs are hard to predict, usernames are predictable. In addition, each WordPress user account is created with a dedicated email address, making it a recognized login method. You can set up login pages so that all users must enter their email addresses in order to log in using a number of WordPress security plugins.
Set a Logout Timer for Idle Users
If you have a large number of users accessing your website, you can use a dedicated plugin that will automatically log you out when they are not using it. Anyone accessing your WordPress account can make changes if the user logs out while still logged in. You can define a duration to define how long a user can be inactive before they are automatically logged out using a plugin such as the free Inactive Logout. If the user is still in front of their computer, you can also create a message to be displayed on the screen just before logging out, giving them the option to stay logged in.
Disallow file editing
Any files that are part of your WordPress installation can be edited by a user who has administrator access to your WordPress dashboard. All plugins and themes are included in this. No one will be able to change any of the files if you disable file editing, even if a hacker gains admin access to your WordPress dashboard.
To make this function, include the following code at the end of your wp-config.php file:
Disable directory listing with .htaccess
You may be shocked to learn that your visitors can browse the full catalog of everything in the catalog that you create as part of your website but don’t include the index.html page in it. To see everything in a directory named “data,” for example, type http://www.example.com/data/ into your browser.
Nothing, not even a password, is required. By including the following line of code in your .htaccess file, you can stop this:
Options All -Indexes
Use a Web Application Firewall
A web application firewall is one of the best ways to secure your website (WAF). Essentially, WAF will prevent malicious traffic from reaching your website. There are two possibilities:
Traffic will be routed through these firewalls’ own cloud proxy servers. Only quality and benign traffic will reach your site.
Application Layer Firewalls
Traffic will reach your server when you use the plugin to act as a WAF, but the plugin will check it before loading any scripts.
While having an application-level firewall is preferable to not having one, a DNS-level firewall provides more security. Popular add-ons like Wordfence, services like Cloudflare, and secure hosting like Convesio offer this.
Block all hotlinking
Consider the scenario where you find an image online and want to share it on your website. To begin with, it is probably illegal to use this photo without obtaining permission or paying for it. From a WordPress security standpoint, hotlinking is the act of someone else using your photo and your server bandwidth to display it on their own website. The end result will be a delay in loading and possibly more server costs.
The easiest way to stop hotlinking is to find a WordPress security plugin, although there are a few manual methods as well. For example, WP Security and Firewall plugin has built-in features to prevent any hotlinks.
Turn on two-factor authentication for administrators
Two-factor authentication is an extremely effective way to protect your login page because it requires a hacker to have both your password and a physical item — an unlikely combination. When an administrator logs into your site, they’ll have to input a one-time-use code that’s sent to their phone.
Add brute force attack protection
Hackers that use bots to guess tens of thousands of username/password combinations per second can brute-force attacks on your site. Not only do these attacks compromise the data on your website, but they can also slow things down by overloading your server. The best prevention is a tool that will stop them in their tracks, and secure credentials will surely help.
Limit Login Attempts
Your website can detect login attempts from bots. This problem can be solved by limiting the number of login attempts before the IP address is prevented from sending any requests.
Get Rid of Unused Installations
Remove any disabled plugins and themes that you won’t be using. The same advice applies to unnecessary databases, WordPress installations, and files: delete them. Your website becomes more insecure the more data it stores in WordPress, especially if it has outdated or older installations.
Perform Regular Backups
Just as important as website security is backups. In the worst-case scenario, backups can prevent you from completely rebuilding your website. While this process can take a long time, many backup plugins, including VaultPress and BlogVault, can make it easier.
Pro Tip: Use an auto-backup plugin to save time and prevent your system from being littered with outdated backups.
Regularly Clean Your Database
When you purge your database, you remove additional, meaningless data accumulated on your website over time, such as spam and junk comments, theme settings that you no longer use, etc. Your website will run faster than the less nonsensical stuff you have in your database. Also, this step is required if your security plugin or vendor has warned you that your database has been compromised. There are several plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory; WP-Optimize is the most popular specific option. Other options include WP-Sweep and Advanced Database Cleaner. You can also work with a host that regularly cleans up your database.
It is impossible to guarantee that a secure website will never have a security issue. Instead, a secure website is one that has taken every precaution to reduce security risks. Your website is less likely to be hacked, and the more reliable and secure it is.
Some security measures to prevent your WordPress site from being hacked are obvious and easy to do on your own, such as choosing only trustworthy plugins and themes. However, others are harder to handle, especially if you’re in charge of multiple client websites. We hope this WordPress Security Guide 2023 helps you get your desired results.