10 Proven Ways to Improve the Security of Your WordPress Website

WordPress has grown from its humble beginnings as a blogging platform to become a formidable Content Management System (CMS). It’s user-friendly and capable of building any form of website, and it now powers over 40% of all websites on the Internet! WordPress is also the most popular CMS, accounting for 64 percent of all CMS-powered websites.

As WordPress is the most used CMS and website builder in the world, it has become an excellent target for hackers and other security risks. Therefore, you will need to improve the security of your WordPress website! Hackers target WordPress websites on a daily basis, and in some cases, they succeed. In fact,

Hackers target WordPress sites at a rate of 90,000 every minute.

Is this to say that WordPress websites are unsafe?

No! Not in the least. The fact that WordPress websites have become a key target for hackers is mostly due to the behaviour of its users. According to studies, the majority of WordPress users do not update their plugins, and some even do not update WordPress as a whole. As a result, there are various security flaws that hackers might exploit.

So, even though hosting providers provide basic security protections, you must secure your WordPress website. And you may do it easily by following the security precautions and installing the required plugins on your website. But, before we get into the ways to increase online security, let’s have a look at why it’s so important to have a secure website.

The Importance of WordPress Website Security

There is an obvious motivation for hackers to steal data from your website. There are two further reasons why you should increase the security of your WordPress website right away.

  • Keep your data safe from hackers.

Your data is stored on your website, and you must ensure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. If you run a business with a website, not only your data, but also the data of your clients, is at risk. They entrust you with all of their personal information, and it’s critical that you keep it safe from hackers.

  • Avoid being blacklisted on the internet.

With hackers continually trying breaches, the security of your WordPress website may be jeopardised, resulting in your website being blacklisted. The term “blacklisted” refers to the fact that search engines have flagged your website as “not secure” for visitors. To avoid being blacklisted, make your WordPress website secure.

Every day, Google quarantines 10,000 suspected websites and adds them to a “Google blacklist.”

  • Obtain Credibility and Trustworthiness

When your website is hacked, or has any security issues, your visitors lose trust in your company. This betrayal of trust gives you a terrible name, and it will eventually cost you sales and money. To keep this from happening, make sure your WordPress site’s security is up to par.

So, let’s have a look at some simple (non-techy) techniques to boost the security of your WordPress website.

10 Ways to Improve the Security of Your WordPress Website

A Secure & Strong Password

Limit the number of times you can log in.

Choose the Most Appropriate Host

HTTPS – SSL Certificate

Keep Your Site Updated

Run Regular Scans & Tests

Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Idle users should be logged out

Move the wp-config.php file

Disable File Editing

A Secure & Strong Password

Passwords, specifically weak passwords, are one of the most common ways for hackers to get access to your website. Hackers employ a technique known as a brute force attack, in which they repeatedly try different combinations until they find the correct password.

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To prevent this from happening, make sure your WordPress website has a strong password. There are various methods for creating a strong password.

  • Anything containing personal information should be avoided. Make sure you don’t use your date of birth or your name as your password.
  • A pattern, such as a sequence of alphabets or numerals (1234, abcd), or even a recognisable keyboard pattern, should also be avoided.
  • Make sure you use more than 15 characters and to combine uppercase, lowercase, and digits.

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Limit the number of times you can log in.

When a hacker utilises brute force attacks, even the strongest passwords are vulnerable, thus it’s always a good idea to limit the amount of login tries to your website. The login functionality is blocked if the password is typed incorrectly for a predetermined number of times.

You can additionally block or permanently ban the perpetrators’ IP address in addition to the login restrictions. When you use a Web Application Firewall on your website, you automatically limit the number of login attempts.

If you don’t have one, you can utilise the WordPress plugin WP Limit Login Attempts, which was created expressly for this purpose (more on that later).

Choose the Most Appropriate Host

When it comes to the security of your WordPress website, your hosting provider is crucial. Choosing the correct hosting company can ensure optimal WordPress website security by incorporating features such as firewalls, security monitoring, and the newest versions of PHP and MySQL.

Choosing a plan with a lower cost may appear appealing at first, but it may not be beneficial in the long run. Obviously, the higher the plan’s cost, the more security features it has. Rather than settling for the cheapest plan, you can upgrade to a higher-end plan that already includes a number of protection features.

While pricing is one consideration in determining the quality of a premium and secure hosting company, it is not the only one.

HTTPS – SSL Certificate

Have you ever seen a URL with both HTTP and HTTPS in it? Secure is represented by the letter ‘S’. When you obtain an SSL certificate, HTTP becomes HTTPS, indicating that the connection is secure. A lock icon next to your website URL also indicates this.

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SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it implies that data sent from your visitors’ browsers to your website is encrypted. Typically, data is sent in plain text format. However, because SSL encrypts all data, hackers are unable to easily process sensitive information.

Furthermore, search engines such as Google are inclining to give SSL-certified websites greater rankings than those that do not. As a result, SSL has become critical not only for security, but also for SEO and search engine results.

As a result, now is the moment to activate SSL on your website and protect the entire connection. Check out our video instruction on how to get a free SSL certificate for your website.

Keep Your Site Updated

Keeping your WordPress website’s files up to date is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to improve the security of your WordPress website. In most cases, a software update includes fixes for the product’s security flaws. As a result, it’s always a good idea to keep your software up to date in order to keep it safe against security flaws.

It might be a WordPress plugin or even WordPress itself in the case of your WordPress website. WordPress, an open-source programme, releases updates on a regular basis with new features and security patches. If you don’t make these upgrades, your WordPress website may have security flaws.

73 percent of the 40,000+ WordPress websites in Alexa’s Top 1 Million still use the vulnerable version of WordPress 3.6.

So, it is advisable to always keep WordPress updated to its latest versions, along with the latest updates on the plugins on your website.

Run Regular Scans & Tests

By default, hosting providers offer free security scans for your WordPress website on a daily or weekly basis. Aside from that, you can utilise the directory’s WordPress security plugins to scan and monitor your website on a regular basis.

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Penetration tests can be performed on your website using plugins such as Wordfence security. A penetration test verifies that your website is secure by allowing you to view it from the perspective of an attacker.

These programmes may also analyse your website for harmful software and verify no security flaws exist. You can also utilise an external malware scanner, which requires you to provide your website URL and then has crawlers run through it looking for infections.

Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Using a Web Application Firewall is one of the simplest and least time-consuming solutions to secure your website (WAF). A web application firewall safeguards your website by monitoring traffic and filtering out harmful visitors before they reach it.

Website firewalls are divided into two categories.

  • DNS Level Firewall

Your website traffic is diverted to a separate network for monitoring in the DNS level firewall. Only the safe traffic reaches your server after the malicious traffic has been removed.

  • Application Level Firewall

The entire traffic passes via the application-level firewall and is monitored on your server. The harmful files are removed from the website before it is loaded. As its entire procedure takes place on your server, raising the load on it, this may not be as effective as a DNS level firewall.

A Web Application Firewall is required to monitor incoming traffic, whether at the DNS level or at the application level, and you can choose one from the WordPress security plugins.

Idle users should be logged out.

It is common for logged-in users to take a little break and leave their screens unattended. This method of leaving logged-in panels idle may pose a security risk to your WordPress website. Anyone with access to your website’s sensitive information has the potential to change it.

You can avoid this by setting the website to automatically log out when the screen is inactive. It’s a standard technique on financial websites, and it’ll help secure your WordPress site as well.

You can do this by using the Inactive Logout plugin, which was created expressly for this reason. You may set the idle timeout period and even have a countdown before the timeout expires with this plugin.

Move the wp-config.php file

One of the fundamental WordPress files, wp-config.php, contains sensitive information such as your database account and password. So you don’t want the hackers to have access to the file. You can avoid this by placing the wp-config.php file in a place other than the root directory.

You must connect using FTP to access the file, which allows you to access the website’s files on the server. You can view a list of folders that hold the files for your website. The wp-config.php file is located in the root folder.

All you have to do now is move the file to a directory higher in the hierarchy than the root directory. This way, no one will be able to quickly access the file.

Disable File Editing

WordPress features a fantastic code editor that can be accessed directly from the WordPress dashboard. This editor has the ability to edit any file, including WordPress themes and plugins. Though it is a beneficial function, it could be detrimental to you if it falls into the wrong hands.

As a result, it’s a good idea to turn off the file editing feature in your WordPress dashboard. By restricting edit access, no one will be able to change the code, even if your admin area is hacked. It’s also simple to disable editing access by adding the following line to the wp-config.php file:

define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true);

This prevents anyone from modifying files from the WordPress dashboard, as the command states.

These are ten easy, tried-and-true methods for keeping your WordPress site safe. Though this is wonderful at first, we’ll need security plugins to keep our website secure in the long run.

The Best Security Plugins for your WordPress Website

Plugins can be used to accomplish almost anything on WordPress. That covers safety as well! Both feature-specific plugins like Limit Login Attempts and general security plugins like Wordfence Security are available as WordPress security plugins.

Here are the four top WordPress security plugins we believe can improve the security of your WordPress website, out of the many accessible in the directory. These plugins will assist you in increasing the security of your WordPress website in every area we’ve discussed.

  1. Wordfence Security
  2. Sucuri Security
  3. WP Limit Login Attempts
  4. Google Authenticator – WordPress Two factor authentication

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security is one of the top WordPress security plugins on the market, and for good reason. Wordfence protection keeps an eye on your WordPress site for malware, brute force attacks, and other security threats.

Wordfence Security also has a built-in Web Application Firewall (WAF) that works at the application level, which means it monitors your website traffic once it reaches the server and filters out the harmful data.

Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security is yet another popular security plugin for WordPress. Sucuri security is appropriate for a wide range of security functions, from a basic malware scan to a Web application firewall.

With a DNS level firewall, all of your website traffic passes via their network before reaching your server, thereby filtering out dangerous data. Sucuri security reduces the load on your server by monitoring for harmful traffic on a separate server.

Though both WordPress security plugins, Wordfence Security and Sucuri Security, provide the same basic security capabilities, the sort of firewall used by each differs significantly. Sucuri utilises a DNS-level firewall, whereas Wordfence uses an application-level firewall.

WP Limit Login Attempts    

For hackers who use the brute force approach of trying various password combinations, WP Limit Login Attempts is the ideal plugin. This plugin restricts the number of times a user can enter the right password.

So, if an attacker uses the brute force method of hacking and exceeds the number of times allowed, he or she will be barred from logging in, and you can even permanently ban the hacker’s IP address.

Google Authenticator – WordPress Two factor authentication

Another key feature of logging in is two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress website, in addition to the email and password you supply.

The authentication techniques can be as easy as One Time Password (OTP), where you can’t access your WordPress website unless you have the password sent to your cell phone or email. During the login process, you can also authenticate by scanning a QR code or answering a security question.

Website Backup

Despite the fact that there are various techniques to protect your WordPress website, some tragic situations may occur. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and stay one step ahead of the hackers. As a result, you should keep a backup of your complete WordPress website at all times.

You won’t have to worry about your data being stolen by hackers this way. Even if your data is lost, you can quickly restore it using the backup you created.

It is recommended that you backup your data on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the needs of your WordPress website. And what better way to back up your website than with UpdraftPlus, the finest backup plugin?

UpdraftPlus

For WordPress websites, UpdraftPlus is the most popular and commonly used backup plugin. Updraft, which is used by over 3 million WordPress websites, is the best WordPress plugin for restoring your website’s content in the event of a disaster.

The UpdraftPlus plugin downloads all of your website’s files, creating a complete backup. It then saves the backup to one of the local storages or to a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox. The UpdraftPlus plugin is available in both a free and a paid edition, with additional capabilities like as database encryption.

Step-by-step instructions on how to backup your WordPress website canbe found in our video guide.

Conclusion:

Data has become more valuable than ever before as a result of technological advancements and everything going online. As a result, protecting data on your website online is just as vital as protecting data in the physical world.

The most popular website builder, WordPress, is the logical choice for hackers and cybercriminals. What we’ve covered here are a few simple strategies to secure your WordPress site. More security techniques, such as moving and safeguarding specific core WordPress files, can be implemented over time.

I hope that you have now been able to improve the security of your WordPress website. Though WordPress is secure by default and is regularly maintained by hundreds of its developers, you can help by following these security precautions.

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