How to Protect Your Site from the Most Common WordPress Security Issues

How to Protect Your Site from the Most Common WordPress Security Issues

According to statistics, more than 50.000 websites get hacked on a daily basis. With WordPress powering over 30 percent of sites worldwide, it’s no wonder this platform gets attacked by hackers on the regular. Still, the fact that WordPress sites are a common hacking target doesn’t make it any less unpleasant when it actually happens to you.

To spare you the trouble of having to fix an already infected website, we will try our best to inform you how to prevent attacks from happening.

We will mention some of the most common WordPress security issues and provide you with suggestions on how you can protect your site from these issues.

Exactly how secure is WordPress?

Hacking usually happens not because a website is well-known, but simply because there’s an opportunity for hacking to occur in the first place. In fact, most of the everyday website attacks are automatic and performed by bots. These bots are programmed by hackers to work on finding an opening in your security and then conduct an attack. In short, no matter the size, popularity or visibility of your website, it can still be vulnerable to all sorts of security threats.

WordPress Security

As for WordPress in particular, it usually gets attacked thanks to poorly implemented security practices (or even a complete lack of security) by its users. Most common WordPress security issues take place because of a vulnerable hosting platform, as well as through insecure plugins and themes. To learn how to protect your site in an effective way, you first need to get familiar with some of the security issues that happen to many WordPress website owners.

Brute force attacks

Brute force attacks are multiple attempts to obtain a username and password and are usually done by bots. These bots generate various letter and number combinations and commonly-used passwords again and again until one of those attempts is successful. It’s particularly easy to break into a WordPress site because there are no limits to the number of login attempts. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only way the brute force attacks can give you troubles. They can also cause problems like a server system overload, which may even prompt your host to suspend your account.

The exploitation of sensitive files, SQL injections and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

All WordPress plugins and themes are built on PHP. Since not all PHP developers are equally skilled, coding mistakes occasionally happen. Hackers look for these mistakes in sensitive PHP files to gain access to a site.

Website Attack

Other ways to gain website access are by attacking MySQL databases (WordPress uses MySQL as a database management system), or by XSS attacks. The latter is one of the most widespread vulnerabilities present in WordPress plugins. It works by injecting insecure JavaScript code. Once the targeted individual opens the pages on their browser, unbeknownst to them, they will also load these insecure scripts. That’s how the attacker can gain data from the target’s browser.

Malware

This is another common problem that can happen to your WordPress site. Basically, malware is malicious software made to break into your website and contaminate your system.

If you don’t update your WordPress installation to the latest version, you can easily become a victim of malware attacks.

Pharma hacks, Backdoor attacks, Malicious redirects and Driven by downloads are among the most frequent malware types that can cause damage to WordPress sites.

What you can do to secure your WordPress website

Despite all previously mentioned problems, WordPress still has the potential to be a fairly strong and secure CMS. Here are some of the ways that you can make your WordPress site more resistant to all sorts of attacks and intrusions.

Make sure to have a secure hosting platform

Given that most attacks occur due to inadequate hosting, picking a solid and reliable hosting service is one of the most important things you need to do to ensure your website’s security. Our primary advice is to avoid shared hosting. The reason is simple – if one of the sites on the hosting platform is under attack, it automatically puts all the other sites on the platform at risk.

Instead, go for hosting services that can accommodate a single website and that offer specialized WordPress hosting packages for the best possible security.

Some hosts can even carry out automatic security updates for you. Personally, we recommend trying out hosting providers such as BlueHost or Kinsta.

Perform regular updates

Getting new features and code enhancements are only some of the reasons why keeping your WordPress up to date is important. Another reason is that with new updates, security bugs from previous versions often get fixed (sometimes they release entire updates aimed solely at security). Therefore, by performing regular updates, it’s far less likely there will be an opening for bots and other malicious software to exploit your website data.

Install a security plugin

It’s always good to take additional protective measures to ensure even better safety of your website. You can do so by installing one of the many existing WordPress security plugins like Security Ninja. Aside from being able to perform effective scans and provide protection against all common threats, many security plugins are capable of blocking brute force attacks.

Some even keep track of your site traffic and offer security key protection, as well as block bots from visiting your site. Just make sure that the plugin you want to install comes from a reliable source, and you’re good to go.

Conclusion

Keeping yourself informed about the potential threats and issues that can happen is the first step towards securing your website. After that, we strongly recommend you apply some of the strategies that we’ve mentioned above. In order to further strengthen your website’s security, you should perform regular backups of your website. Additionally, fortifying your passwords, and staying away from non-credible sources can go a long way in keeping your site as safe as it can get.

The reality is that no matter how tight you secure your website, it can still become a target of malicious attacks. The internet is inherently a dangerous place, and this is simply a risk that comes with having an online presence. However, the chances of a major damage happening can be reduced significantly if you take some of these precautionary steps.

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