How to secure WordPress

If you are using WordPress for your website or are considering using it as the CMS, WordPress security issues should be on your top priority. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, and it powers over 32% of all websites. That being the case, it is important to know about the common security vulnerabilities in WordPress to be prepared for any attack.

Most common WordPress vulnerabilities

Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attacks refer to a common method of hacking where the hacker tries every possible username and password combination until they get it right, which is usually after several attempts. You can increase the number of login attempts before blocking them, but it’s often a bad idea to leave it at the default. Bots often use brute force methods like using pre-made passwords lists to get into your blog.

Don't take chances with your website security. Brute force attacks are one of the simplest ways to get access to your WordPress login page.

SQL Injections

Your WordPress website uses a MySQL database to operate.  SQL injections are a type of cyber attack that can steal information from your database. SQL injections occur when an attacker gains access to your database and to all of your website data..

Cross-Site Scripting

The vast majority of all vulnerabilities on the internet are Cross-Site Scripting or XSS attacks. These vulnerabilities are the most commonly found in WordPress plugins and can allow an attacker to execute malicious scripts in your website. Using secure up to date plugins is the easiest way to prevent such attacks.

File Inclusion Exploits

One of the most common security issues in websites is vulnerabilities in the PHP code which can be exploited by attackers. You can avoid this by following good security procedures, like updating your plugins, themes and WordPress core regularly. It is important to check for holes in the code to plug any security issues as they arise.

Maleware

Malware is any sort of code that is used to gain unauthorized access to a website. Usually, malware is installed onto the website by hackers. A hacked WordPress site usually means that the website has been injected with malware. This can be easily identified and removed by manually removing the file, installing a fresh version of WordPress or by restoring your WordPress site from a previous, non-infected backup.

What can you do to protect your site?

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    Keep all plugins up-to-date

    You can avoid most of the above issues by following good security procedures, like updating your plugins, posts and themes regularly.

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    Take regulare site backups

    Either install a plugin which will backup all your WP files and database, or schedule a manual backup system at server level so that the latest version of the website can be restored in case it is hacked.

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    Change your login URL /IP whitelist

    Every WordPress site has the same login URL, which is your URL followed by /wp-admin. This leaves your login screen exposed to hackers. Always customise your login URL to something unique so that only you and your employees (who have been given login credentials) can access it. Alternatively you can create a whitelist that will only allow selected ip addresses access.

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    Install a WordPress security plugin

    A WordPress security plugin can handle the technical aspects of the site’s security. You don’t have to be a security expert to use such a plugin (but it helps if you are).

Ultimately, WordPress is an open source software which means that the source code is available for free for everyone to examine and use. This does make it easy for hackers to find security floors. That being said WordPress has a team of developers who not only work on the code but also find and fix security leaks. For this reason it is very important to follow the best practices mentioned in this post to keep your website as secure as possible. You can do it yourself, hire a developer or subscribe to a third party service but however you do it, it's important that you keep on top of it.

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