How to Improve WordPress Security

How to Improve WordPress Security

Even though WordPress is open source, many people actually underestimate the amount of security that exists on their sites. Of course, the way that it’s set up means that the WordPress team can only offer so much. Website security also depends on who’s hosting the site, which plugins and themes you are using, and what you’ve done to beef up your security.

When it comes to improving WordPress security, it also helps to understand what you are trying to prevent. The following explores not only common security issues but also what can be done to address them.

Common WordPress Security Issues

Security issues often arise out of out-of-date software and plugins as well as compromised login credentials; however, when people talk about WordPress attacks, they are usually talking about five different things.

  • Brute Force Attacks: This is a method of trial and error where hackers try different combinations of usernames and passwords until they find the right one. They will go through common passwords and may even search through the dictionary to find words.
  • SQL Injections: WordPress websites use MySQL database and an SQL injection occurs when security vulnerabilities are exploited and attackers get access to your data.
  • Malware: Hackers also use malware to gain access to your data. They can insert codes into expired plugins, which would allow them to extra information.
  • Cross-Site Scripting: Hackers will insert JavaScript code into a plugin and it collects data from individuals who use the plugin. Sometimes it may even direct people to a malicious site.
  • DDoS Attacks: Often using several machines, hackers will attack a website by overflowing it with traffic so that it won’t be able to function for genuine users.

How Does WordPress Maintain Security?

The fact that web security is included with the service is one of the things that makes WordPress so attractive. The WordPress community consists of individuals all around the world working to resolve issues and uncover security vulnerabilities. As far as in-house professionals, you’ve got the WordPress Security Team and the Core Leadership Team working around the clock to make the platform as secure as possible.

The WordPress security team consists of roughly 50 highly-skilled individuals who work hard to expose vulnerabilities and update aspects of the system so that they are as secure as possible. Developers, researchers, and other outside contributors play a huge role in this process.

Of course, the security team can only do so much and a lot of WordPress web security comes from the many themes and plugins that are available for download. The plugins themselves are checked for malicious content but given the sheer number of entries, some things get through. As long as you keep your plugins updated, you’ll always get the latest security patch.

WordPress also has automatic background updates that will update your system as minor releases get pushed through.

What Can You Do to Make Your Site More Secure?

The first thing that you can do to improve WordPress security is to make sure that whoever is hosting the site offers reliable security. But given that WordPress sites are so customised, there are a lot of things that you’ll be able to do to reduce your risk of security threats and cyber-attacks.

How to improve security on your WordPress website with RenComp
How to improve security on your WordPress website with RenComp

Choose the Right Plug-ins and Keep Them Updated

There are thousands of themes and plugins available on WordPress and many of them have to do with security. Of course, some will be more valuable than others so do your research and choose the ones with the best reputations.

More importantly, make sure that you are always keeping these plugins updated. Hackers can insert malicious code into these plugins and if you forget to update, the malicious code will stay there stealing data and information. Even if you download a plugin with an existing threat, you’ll likely see a security patch become available in the near future.

Also, keep in mind that paid plugins and themes are generally safer since more people are watching them.

Use a Strong Password

Believe it or not, a lot of hackers gain access to an account by guessing the password. They will type over and over again until they get it right so it’s important to make your password difficult to guess. This means including both lower-case and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols in a random order.

Also, don’t set your username to “admin” and look for other ways to secure the login, such as CAPTCHAs and two-factor authentication systems.

Implement a Two-Factor Authentication System

A two-factor authentication system is a system that requires individuals to confirm their identities before getting access to the account. There are a few different two-factor authentication systems that you can install but the process is very simple.

You get to choose what the second form of authentication is, and your options are email, phone call, text, or a “push” that requires you to download an app. Once you type in the login information, the authentication system will send you a text with a code or call you with a code to make sure that you are who you say you are.

Use SSL and HTTPS

Not only will this encryption make your website more secure, but it will also make customers feel better about buying from you straight from the Internet so if you have an eCommerce store, they are valuable. Encryption, of course, only works if you are able to secure your login so make sure to secure your login first.

Other Security Measures

There are many ways to help secure your WordPress website and the WordPress community will be helpful in getting you to a more secure state. The methods you use might depend on what website you have set up, who’s hosting the website, and which plugins you have downloaded. In addition to those things listed above, all of the following are ways that you’ll be able to secure your WordPress and prevent future attacks.

  • Keep your actual computer safe.
  • User a reputable hosting company (we highly recommend SiteGround for secure web hosting and explain why here: Why we use SiteGround).
  • Change the WordPress table prefix during installation.
  • Only give access to people you trust.
  • Change your login error message.
  • Limit the possible login attempts.
  • Hide the login page altogether.
  • Add security keys.
  • Limit access to important files.
  • Disable script injections.
  • Lock out specific IP addresses.

If you are concerned about security issues on your website head over to our security page to see what we can do to help WordPress Security Services

RenComp Web Design

Kevin Gilmour is a freelance website designer and the business owner of RenComp Web Design. He has been creating, designing and providing support for WordPress based websites since 2011. He recently decided to turn that accumulation of knowledge into a web design business based in his home town of Johnstone in Scotland.

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