With 35% of all the websites on the internet and 65% of market share, WordPress is the leading Content Management System.
But popularity comes with some consequences as well. Though, it is a very secure CMS. But, it has become the prime target for attackers and hackers.
Performing the WordPress security audit is a necessity now, that assures that your website is free from all types of breaches and hackers. Even knowing about WordPress security issues, many of the web owners have misunderstood it and overlook it easily.
Study reveals that approximately 70% of the WordPress websites are prone to attacks. Also, the current hacks on the WordPress plugins, such as WP Live chat and GDPR have made several websites on the risk. Besides, these attacks are of cross-website scripting.
The below graph shows that a large amount of the WordPress websites have come across XSS and code execution. In addition, one more research reveals that 40% of the attacks target small and medium-sized websites. Hence, those who think that only large websites get hacked have their answer now.
No one is unaware of the effects of hacking- it is very disastrous for every business type. There are extensive things that can get affected. Like; the attacker can interfere with the customer and the confidential data. They can misconfigure the website, get the credentials, and more. If you have secured the payment/financial information details, no one knows, you can soon become bankrupt as well. The next consequence of the hacks is that it includes, loss of authority, domain value, mistrust of the brand, etc. In addition, the hack can also destroy the website search ranking.
Nobody knows the WordPress website can also run into security issues. There are themes and plugins that can develop WordPress vulnerabilities to exploit hackers to break the website.
The WordPress security audit allows you to find out the issues quickly so that you can follow the necessary measures to eradicate the website security gap. While running the security audits, you can examine the conventional security measures on the WordPress website. Then, later, find out the next security measures to implement on the website to assure that it is more protected. The full security audit has several steps and can be converted into a mess if the checklist is not in the place and has not implemented properly. For that, you can hire the dedicated WordPress developer to make all the audit process convenient for you. The choice is all yours!
Here, in this article, we are unleashing the step by step WordPress security auditing guide. This write-up will ensure a comprehensive and complete audit of the WordPress website.
1. Find a Security Plugin
First and foremost, the WordPress website is the prime checkpoint. If your website does not have any security plugin, then add it now. The security plugin has the ability to save your website from bots and hackers. There are several options from where you can take advantage but, be wise while choosing, not all are efficient. So, go through their features, check the reviews.
Below we have mentioned the important features that your security plugin should have:
- Malware scan
- Activity log
- Malware cleanups
- Login protection
- Real-time alerts
- Offsite scan
WordPress updates are very significant for the stability and security of your website. All these updates include more new features, security vulnerabilities, and also, enhance the performance.
Ensure that your WordPress theme, core software, and plugins are updated. If it is not, then you can do it by moving to Dashboard->Updated page from the WordPress Admin area.
The best thing about WordPress is that if there are any available updates, then it will provide the list and you can install it easily. The aim behind backing up the website is that it allows the working of the website to its best even if it gets hacked. Here, our advice is to take the backups regularly-the the frequency could vary from days, weeks to months. Also, do not forget to take many backups by mentioning the time and date adequately.
Several can contribute and collaborate with WordPress maintenance and development. Besides, not all WordPress users need full website access. Like, the content writer only requires access to write and post the content. They do not need to have access to other changes like, changing the theme and installing the plugins.
To avoid giving access to every user, the WordPress CMS has varied roles that you can assign; Super Admin, Administrator, Author, Editor, Subscriber, and Contributor. All of these roles have different permission levels.
While carrying out the WordPress security audit, you should know that:
- All the users are added to the WordPress website.
- Find out how many of them have Admin access.
- Check out how many of them require Admin access.
- Know who needs actual Admin access.
- Limit the grant and access lower permissions by altering the user roles for those who do not have to be Admin.
- Assure that you know all the users on the Dashboard. You can delete those users that you find are not recognizable.
- Confirm that the one who is Admin is not using “Admin” as the username. It is one of the common usernames a WordPress Admin usually uses. Hackers are smarter and they can use this name to get access, so beware.
- For modifying the name from “Admin” to another, you require to build a new user account of that name. Then, you can assign the required content to the new user and can delete the old one.
It is recommended to deactivate the plugins that are not in use. This is because of the reason that it deletes all that type of code that can create issues for the server. And, after removing all the redundant items, you will notice an improvement in your WordPress website. And if you will overlook this, then, the WordPress website remains vulnerable.
While auditing, look after the installed plugins. Most of the website owners’ experiments have new themes and plugins. And, then forgets that they installed all that on the website. So, it is better to delete them if they are not in use. This process will eradicate all the non-required elements from the website and lessen the chances of hacking and data breach.
Make sure that the recognized plugins are installed. If you are unable to recognize the plugin, then, delete it. The reason is that when hackers get into the website, they install the plugins sometimes.
If you have installed the nulled and pirated version of the plugin, then immediately delete it. This type of software generally has malware that can affect the WordPress website while installing. The hacker usually gets the pirated software for spreading the malware.
5. Review users with FTP Access
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allows you to connect the local computer to the website server. You can access the folders and files of the WordPress website and accordingly, can make the changes.
As you can integrate, alter, and delete the files of the WordPress website, access to the FTP can be granted to those who need and trust the access. It is advised to check the FTP users list and reset the FTP passwords if required. To make it done, you require access to the WordPress hosting account. Then, navigate to Cpanel->FTP accounts to check the list of every FTP account created on the WordPress website.
And, that’s all from our side!!
The WordPress website can get easily hacked. So, there is a need to follow the necessary measures to make it hack-free and error-free at the same time. Keeping that in mind, we have mentioned the tried and tested tips that you should take into consideration.
We hope you find this article useful. If you have some doubts related, then let us know, we are here for you!!
Thanks for reading!!!