Most WordPress website owners realize security is a serious issue once it’s too late. Even though WordPress is secure, there are various malicious bots and hackers that like to target WordPress websites because they know website owners are lackluster when it comes to security.
However, with a little preparation and common sense, you can reduce your chances of getting hacked and keep your website secure.
Have a Strong Username & Password
Don’t choose “admin” as your WordPress username since it’s one of the most commonly attempted usernames in all automated hack attempts. If you’re still using admin as your username, the hackers are already one step ahead of you and will have no problem getting into your site sooner or later.
Changing the admin username is an easy process. Go to Users –> Add New User.
Fill out all the information, choosing a more complex username and a strong password that includes lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and characters. Change the new user’s role to Administrator.
Then logout of your website and log in with your new username and password. Go back to Users –> All Users, find your old user with the admin username, tick the checkbox next to it and select Delete from the drop-down menu. Click on Apply. On the next screen, make sure to attribute all the content to your new user and then click Confirm Deletion.
Opt for Managed Hosting
It’s true that managed hosting is more expensive than a regular shared hosting plan. However, managed hosting means that not only the hosting company takes care of the updates and backups for you, they also do everything they can to ensure your website is protected against the latest security vulnerabilities and malicious scripts.
The same hosting plan cannot be used throughout the life of your blog because your blog will grow in size as well as in audience numbers. With that comes the added risk of being targeted by hackers simply because your site is popular. Avoid sticking with the basic shared hosting plans for the sake of saving a few bucks. Make your site more secure and invest in a high quality hosting provider instead for an added peace of mind.
Use Akismet to Reduce Spam
Aside from hackers, your site will be the victim of spam commenters, but hackers can also use it to leave a link to suspicious sites around the web,unless you use a plugin like Akismet which reduces the amount of spam comments on your blog. It will flag any suspicious comment which will help keep your blog safe from linking to websites with less than stellar reputation. Not using it could lead to your website being associated with blacklisted websites which will hurt your blog rankings.
Secure Your Forms
Your forms shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you use a multi-part form on your website that allows for file uploads. Configure it wrong and you could be opening up your site to a world of hurt, allowing hackers to upload malicious files to your website.
A simple tip to avoid this is to use CAPTCHA verification to ensure no bot can successfully submit a form. You can also invest in an SSL certificate which will ensure the contents of the form get submitted over an encrypted connection and reduce the security risks.
Keep Everything Up to Date
WordPress releases regular updates which not only eliminate various bugs and introduce new features, they also patch security issues and vulnerabilities. Not keeping up with the updates poses a huge security risk as hackers can take advantage of outdated files to gain access to your site.
If you have multiple themes installed on your website, either ensure they are updated on a regular basis or delete the unused themes.
The same applies to plugins – ensure they are updated as soon as an update is released, otherwise hackers can exploit the plugin and use those files to inject malicious code, redirect your site to point to another site, or simply plaster your site with unwanted ads.
Back Up Everything Regularly
Backing up your WordPress website may seem obvious but not many people do it. Even if you have taken all the security precautions, you should still backup your site so you can have something to restore your site to in the event of the worst happening. Use a plugin like UpdraftPlus or VaultPress to ensure all your website files as well as the database are safely backed up. In most cases, using one of these plugins will also allow you to easily restore your site. The entire backup process is automated so you only have to install the plugin and set it up once, then let it do its job.
Secure Your Website Today
Securing your website may seem intimidating but it’s not so hard once you know what steps you need to take. To recap:
You should avoid using admin for your username and make sure your password consists of both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Let’s recap these quick and easy WordPress security tips. Upgrading your hosting plan to a managed hosting is another smart move as it will help keep your website secure from hackers and all other technical details of maintaining of website will be taken care of for you.
Reducing the spam on your site and protecting forms are another crucial piece of the puzzle as well as keeping your website updated and backed up on a regular basis.
The tips outlined above take minutes to implement but they will save you significant trouble down the road. This list is nowhere near exhaustive as there are other advanced security methods which will further secure your WordPress website like straight-up blocking persistent bots in your .htaccess file and hiding your login pages. However, they are a great way to get started with your WordPress security which will help keep your blog safe.
Author: Mizzy Moore