WordPress has made it easy for anyone with little to zero development and security knowledge to create a website. Unfortunately, because of this, there are many poorly made WordPress websites vulnerable to hacking. WordPress websites don't get hacked because of WordPress. Instead, they get hacked because many WordPress developers don't have the right skills. This WordPress Security 101 will list top ten things that will help you improve your website security.
No matter how often we say this, many developers and web admins will always use a simple password for their accounts. So, password breaches are still one of the top reasons why WordPress websites get hacked. So always use strong passwords. Here are few tips:
1. Keep all your password, including wp-admin, cPanel, FTP and email random, ten characters long, upper, lower, numeric and special character mix.
2. Don't save your passwords in a simple text file. Instead, use a password manager to store your password safely.
3. Avoid using the same password across all accounts.
4. Regularly change your passwords.
Brute force is a method that tries different passwords using a password database to guess your password. Hackers use automated software to launch a brute-force attack on your website. While a long, complex password makes it difficult for a brute-force attack to be successful, it is still possible to break your password using the brute-force method.
The solution is simple, use brute-force protection. It blocks the attacker's IP address after a few failed login attempts. There are few ways you can implement brute-force protection for WordPress website.
You can use freely available WordPress plugins to implement brute-force protection against your website. However, you need to use a reputable plugin to get proper protection.
Another easy way to stop brute force is to install Google re-Captcha on the WP-Admin page. It will reduce automated login attempts and make it difficult to launch brute force attacks, but it only partially prevents them.
Another way to achieve good brute-force protection is by installing a Web Application Firewall (WAF). Most WAFs provide brute force protection. One benefit of using this approach is that WAF protects the whole server, unlike WordPress plugins. In addition, WAF-level brute force protection is more reliable than WordPress plugins because WAF code is usually better and maintained than WordPress plugins.
Finally, if you enable MFA on your account, it can stop unauthorised login to your account even if your password is compromised. For someone to be able to log in to your account, they need your username, password and one-time code. A one-time code is random and generated by an MFA device, usually an app on your mobile, like Google Authenticator.
You should avoid making changes to file and folder permissions for your WordPress installation. Most of the website files and folders are read and executed only. Making folders or files writable can expose your WordPress to various security attacks, like code injection.
Software development is challenging. Experts regularly find security flaws in any software after its release, and WordPress is no exception. What's important in this context is how quickly software vendors release updates to fix these security flaws. Luckily WordPress release its software update almost every month.
Tip: How often do you apply WordPress updates to your website? Keeping your WordPress installation to the latest version will remove almost all known vulnerabilities and reduce your website exposure.
One of the best things about WordPress development is that you can find thousands of plugins from the marketplace. Using these plugins, you can expand your WordPress functionality and build sophisticated features without learning to code.
However, not all plugin developers follow the best practices and security guidelines when building their plugins. As a result, there are thousands of poorly coded WordPress plugins. Using bad plugins will impact your website's performance and security. Even for the well-developed popular plugins, it is important to update them just like the WordPress Code. Here is what you should consider when choosing a plugin for your website:
1. Only install good reputable plugins.
2. Regularly update all plugins on your website.
3. Keep plugins to a minimum, and hire a professional team to develop custom code instead of installing low-quality plugins.
Using a theme, anyone can quickly develop a decent-looking website without the need to code. However, because of security concerns, we strongly recommend avoiding ready-made themes, but if you want to use a theme from the marketplace:
1. Please make sure to use a clean well-coded theme.
2. Also, regularly update your website theme to fix its security flaws.
3. Remove all unused WordPress themes from your website.
Hosting your WordPress website on a poorly maintained server place your website at the mercy of bad guys. Like your website, the hosting server needs to be regularly updated. It needs to be well secure and monitored. It should be secured using a web application firewall to stop attacks.
One of the top reasons why websites get hacked is malware injection. Especially if your website allows visitors to upload files, you are at greater risk of getting a code injection attack. Malicious users can upload all sorts of scripts on a poorly configured website. That's why you need website malware protection. Website malware protection is like an antivirus on your server. It scans and removes all infected files in real time and keeps your website safe.
We mention WAF a few times throughout this guide. WAF help stops malicious traffic while allowing normal visitors. It prevents attackers from exploiting known security flaws and zero-day vulnerabilities. Without WAF, your website is vulnerable to all sorts of crazy attacks, including:
1. Code Injection
2. Cross-Site Scripting
3. Session hijacking
4. SQL injection
5. Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS)
6. Bruteforce attacks
We mentioned using custom code instead of poor-quality themes and plugins. Custom code is cleaner and more reliable. However, it depends on who did the coding. Hiring the right development team with experience and skill set is the key to stopping potential security flaws that would otherwise be injected by poorly written custom code.
Another way to avoid bugs and vulnerabilities when building a custom-coded site is to use Visual Builder for WordPress. Visual builder enables a developer to create new layouts and functionality without writing code. Instead, developers use visual interfaces and drag-and-drop features to create pages. The visual builder engine writes the code, ensuring consistent quality code.
iVersion is the leading web development, SEO and hosting company. Our experts have the skills and knowledge required to deliver an engaging website with speed and security. We use the best practices to develop high-converting scalable WordPress websites for all sizes. If you need help with your existing website or a new one, talk to an iVersion expert today!
Do it right by hiring the right WordPress development agency with the skills and experience to deliver uncompromising security for your business.
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