WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for hosting websites today. It’s not hard to see why — WordPress makes managing your website easy, from creating content to scheduling and promotions. However, many prospective site owners may have cybersecurity concerns.
Looking online for things you can do to protect your WordPress website will give you many suggestions and tools. Some will help enhance your protection, while others have a minimal impact. At worst, following some of these myths can negatively affect your site if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Here are five common WordPress cybersecurity myths debunked.
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1. WordPress Is an Unsafe Platform
One of the biggest myths about WordPress is that it lacks cybersecurity, or its security is lacking in some way. The truth is simply that cyberattacks are more prolific than ever and are only increasing, both in number and in complexity, as the years go by.
All digital companies must follow laws and regulations, such as the CCPA in California, that require them to enforce cybersecurity to protect their clients. WordPress is no exception — and it takes security very seriously.
WordPress has many cybersecurity measures to protect its users from attacks, the most crucial being its regular security updates. Similarly, there are plenty of plugins you can add that can grant further protection.
WordPress is not an inherently unsafe platform, but there is only so much companies can do to prevent cyber attacks; part of the responsibility falls on website owners. Practicing good cybersecurity habits — such as regularly changing passwords, avoiding suspicious messages and websites, staying on top of updates, and using security plugins — can also help users protect their websites.
2. Hide Your WordPress Login URL
If you search for WordPress security practices, you’ll probably find a lot of suggestions telling you to hide your login URL and your admin pages. This is one of the most common security tips for WordPress.
The reasoning is simple: Attackers cannot hack your website if they can’t find the login page. Many cybercriminals attempt brute force attacks on WordPress login pages — basically trying to guess your password based on information they’ve gathered about you. Therefore, hiding the login page should prevent hackers from attacking your website.
While it seems like it would work, the issue here is that you’re not really securing your login page; you’re merely obscuring it. Determined hackers can still find other ways to log into your WordPress, and they might be able to find where you’ve hidden your login page, as well. A common attack vector uses the REST API or XML-RPC to try to brute force their way into your site, which can bypass the login page entirely.
Furthermore, changing the WP-admin page can easily break your website if you’re unfamiliar with coding. This will make it inaccessible to everyone, including yourself.
Hiding your login URL is not necessarily bad practice, and may even prevent some attacks; but it can also give a false sense of security and should not be your primary cybersecurity measure.
3. Guard Your WordPress Version Number and Theme Name
Another one of the most common WordPress cybersecurity myths is that hiding your version number and theme name will protect you. Like hiding your WP login, this requires you to go into the code of your website. The theory is that hackers can use this information to access your site by manipulating this code.
However, hackers today use automated bots to find vulnerabilities instead of looking for the code themselves. Often, they don’t even look at version numbers and theme names — they search for other weaknesses. This is why keeping your WordPress version up to date is essential.
Each new version of WordPress patches known security openings. If you’re running on a past edition of WordPress, you are leaving those vulnerabilities open for hackers to exploit. Keeping WordPress up to date and investing in cybersecurity solutions such as multifactor authentication is more effective at preventing threats.
4. Rename Your WP-Content Directory
Data such as themes, media uploads and plugins are stored in the WordPress content directory. Much of what makes your website unique is stored here, so you want to protect it from malicious actors. One of the common myths is that changing the directory’s name will prevent hackers from finding it.
Unfortunately, this is also not true. Even if you change its name, there are ways to find your content directory in the website’s code. All hackers need to do is look into the code to find it. WordPress even has a guide on its website for how to retrieve the content directory using coding.
In addition, renaming it can cause problems with the website’s functionality. Since all your plugins and media downloads are stored in the folder, they will no longer be available if the website cannot find them. This makes changing the name of your content directory risky if you need to know how to fix them.
A better way to protect your content is to update your plugins continually. Keeping them up to date is important for patching security vulnerabilities.
5. Hackers Only Target Large Businesses
This is possibly the most dangerous myth regarding cybersecurity. Although many organizations rely heavily on their online platform, many small businesses and content creators believe their websites are of no interest to hackers. Therefore, they put little effort into their cybersecurity.
This is one of the biggest mistakes any website owner can make. Small businesses and content creators are just as likely to be targeted by a cyberattack as larger companies. Studies show that 43% of all cyberattacks worldwide target small businesses, and many are forced to shut down due to the consequences of these attacks.
Hackers can target you for any reason, no matter the size of your business or how popular your content is. This is why it is vital to invest in cybersecurity solutions if you have a presence on the internet.
Keep Your WordPress Website Safe
Debunking the five common WordPress cybersecurity myths can help you find better, lasting security solutions. Knowing what works is essential to protect your website from cyberattacks and stay operational.