Make your WordPress website more secure with these 6 tips. You can implement all of these changes by yourself simply by installing plugins that will improve your website security.
It is no secret that WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) that over 30% of all the websites on Internet rely on. The power of this incredible platform comes from the open source nature of it wherein countless talented developers contribute to its development year after year. This strength, however, can also become a weakness if left unattended. In this post we will go over some simple steps you can take to make your WordPress website more secure.
First released in 2003, WordPress started out as a blogging platform that gave all content creators a voice on the Internet. Over the next decade it evolved into much more than a blogging system and into a full on website development platform, all thanks to the talented coders contributing to its development. This open source format has been one of the biggest strengths that pushed WordPress forward and gave it a massive edge over its competitors.
It also made it vulnerable at times to attacks and left it prone to security issues. Here are 6 simple tips that will help you make your WordPress website more secure.
1. Choose a Reliable Hosting Company
Good security starts at the very bottom. Think of your hosting as your first layer of security against potential attacks. There are hundreds of hosting options out there and although it may be tempting to go with the cheapest options possible, make sure that the hosting company you choose offers multiple layers of security. A good way to achieve this is to check whether the company offers WordPress specific hosting services. From a front-end perspective you may not notice any difference between a regular hosting space and WordPress hosting. However, the magic happens in the backend where the servers are optimized for WordPress, not just for security but also for speed. To learn more about hosting options, check out my post on WordPress hosting options.
2. Install a WordPress Security Plugin
It’s a time-consuming work to regularly check your website security for malware and unless you regularly update your knowledge of coding practices you may not even realize you’re looking at a piece of malware written into the code. This is where WordPress security plugins come to the rescue. A good security plugin will take care of many things for you including malware scanning and 24/7 site monitoring. There are a number of plugins out there (both paid and free) that will do this job for you and we would need to dedicate an entire post to go through the pros and cons of each plugin so let’s just mention a few that are worth installing.
Loginizer is a great plugin that protects your website against brute force attacks. It has a free and paid version and depending on your needs, you can use either one. Sucuri is another plugin that is great for malware scanning and security hardening.
3. Install SSL Certificate
Installing an SSL certificate will secure your server-side connection. SSL protects the data in transit by encrypting it. It ensures that the data will make it from your computer to the server without being intercepted or altered. SSL becomes especially important if you are handling personal information on your website such as someone’s credit card number or other personal information. This is why SSL is an absolute necessity for e-commerce sites but it is also an important security measure for any type of website to protect it from attacks and defacing attempts.
Depending on your hosting company, you might be able to get a free SSL certificate from your provider. These days a lot of hosts are starting to offer free SSL, as it is becoming more and more an integral part of any website. Otherwise you can purchase it through your host for an annual fee.
4. Customize your WP-login URL
Every WordPress installation comes with the default www.domain.com/wp-admin login URL to get backend access. While this is easy to remember, it is also a point of vulnerability, as everyone who has worked with WordPress (including hackers) knows that this is the default access page to your website. You can simply change this URL to a custom one of your choice through a plugin such as WPS Hide Login.
5. Limit Login Attempts
Once you change your WordPress login URL, another simple measure you can take is limiting the login attempts to your website backend. This will limit the number of times a user can try different username / password combinations to get into the backend of your website. There a numerous plugins out there that will help you achieve this including WP Limit Login Attempts and Limit Login Attempts Reloaded.
6. Keep your WordPress Version Up to Date
This is probably one of the simplest things you can do to make sure your WordPress website is better protected. WordPress is always coming up with new versions that improve security, usability and other features to make it better and more secure. Depending on your hosting company, you can turn on automatic updates on the server side so that when a new version is available your website will update WordPress automatically. Note that updating WordPress is different from updating your theme and should not be confused. If your website is using a custom theme created by a third party company or developer, it will have its own updates issued periodically. Theme updates can be security related as well but they are different from the core WordPress platform updates.
These are just some of the quick measures that you can implement on your own to make your WordPress site more secure. Remember that the field of website security is constantly evolving and adapting to new trends and technologies. The security plugins you install today also evolve over time and issue their own updates to make your website more secure. Make sure to keep the plugins up to date as well as your WordPress version.