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7 Steps to Take to Shore Up Your WordPress Security

One of the main reasons that so many people have decided to make WordPress their chosen website software is security. While the core software is entirely secure and the developers do an excellent job of trying to keep everything up to date when it comes to protection from malware, there are still problems that can creep through. Nothing is 100% safe and protected today.

The developers do make sure that they patch any potential exploits as soon as they are found, but there can still be some vulnerability. This is especially true for those who do not update their WordPress core software. However, it is not always the core software hacked. Instead, the attacks tend to come from other locations within your system. For example, they will look at unsafe and poorly coded plug-ins, sites that have not been updated, plug-ins that have not been updated, for simple passwords, and easy access due to careless file permissions.

With the potential problems with hacking, you need to know how to secure a WordPress site. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to provide yourself and your site with some improved security. Typically, hackers like to go after websites that are easier for them to breach. If you take a few precautions and the right steps in hardening WordPress, it can provide you with quite a bit more safety. Let’s look at a few of the most important things you can do.

Keep It All Updated

One of the biggest problems that allows for cracks in the WordPress armor, so to speak, is not keeping everything up to date. When you do not update WordPress to the latest version, it is putting your site at risk. Once the developers come out with a new update, it will typically contain fixes and patches for exploits found. By updating, you’re able to keep your website safer.

However, it is essential to remember that you need to update more than just WordPress core. You also need to think about the theme you’re using and any plug-ins that you might be using. These will need to be updated, too. Outdated plug-ins and themes can make it very easy for a hacker to find a way into your website. You do not want to give them this advantage.

Updates tend to be fast and straightforward. Best of all, it is one of the top ways to make sure that you can protect your WordPress site from malware, hackers, and other issues.

Have a Unique Username

If you are running a WordPress site and you are still using “admin” or “administrator” as your username, you are making the lives of hackers much easier. This is the default, and far too many people never come up with a unique username. It will cut the work of the hacker in half if you keep the default username because they will only have to look for the password. Your username should be just as unique as your password. However, keep in mind that it should never actually be similar to your password.

Have a Unique Password

Password blinking by Li-Anne Dias
Password blinking by Li-Anne Dias. Picture by liannedias on Giphy.

Hackers have tools that can help them find passwords today. If you have a password that is simple and easy to guess or remember for a person just imagine how much easier it will be for a machine to figure out the password.

You want to make sure that the password you are using is a random collection of numbers, letters, and special characters. They should not spell out anything, and they should not have anything to do with you, your hobbies, or anything about your business. They need to be impossible for a person to guess.

Do Not Allow PHP Execution

Certain themes and plug-ins allow a user to upload a file to the server. While this might seem like a helpful feature, it could be a massive security exploit. This type of technique has been used to hijack sites, and you might not even realize that these files have been uploaded to your site unless you have a scanner that runs regularly looking for these types of issues. You will want to restrict the ability of users from uploading in directories that do not require permission, and this can help to reduce the risk substantially.

Remove Old Themes and Plug-Ins

If you still have old themes and plug-ins on your site that you are no longer using, then you probably aren’t keeping them up to date. This means that they are going to serve as an exploit that the hackers will be able to use. Make sure that you do not allow for such an easy way into your site. Instead, go through and remove all of those unused items right now.

Do Not Trust Unknown Plugins

Many people like WordPress because there are so many different third-party plug-ins that they can use. While these can certainly be beneficial, they can also present a problem in some cases. If you are choosing a plug-in from an unknown party or one that is poorly coded, it could provide exploits that hackers could use even if it is up to date. Only choose those that are reputable.

Scan the Site for Problems and Fix Them

Also, you should make sure that you have a quality plug-in from a trusted developer that will be able to improve your WordPress security for you. Find a plug-in that can provide a WordPress firewall, malware scanner, fixes for common problems, and other security features. Having a scanner that runs regularly can provide you with a substantial amount of protection for your website.

These are seven of the things that you can start doing right now to help improve your WordPress security. Make it a point to ensure WordPress security best practices are a part of your focus going forward, and you will find that you will likely have fewer issues that you will have to worry about regarding hacks. Make the site as difficult as possible for the hackers to get into, and they are more likely to skip you and look for easier targets.

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