Articles

WordPress Security: How to Keep Your Site Safe and Secure

Christian Aquilo

⚪️

February 7, 2024

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering more than 43% of the top 10 million websites1. However, this also makes it a target for malicious attacks, which can compromise your site’s functionality, performance, and reputation. In this blog post, we, B2B Websites, will share some of the best practices and tips to improve your WordPress security and prevent common vulnerabilities.

Why WordPress Security Matters

A hacked WordPress site can cause serious damage to your business and your users as well. Hackers can steal sensitive data, inject malware, redirect visitors to spammy sites, or even take over your site completely. This can result in:

  • Loss of revenue and traffic
  • Damage to your brand and reputation
  • Legal liabilities and penalties
  • Lower search engine rankings
  • Loss of trust and credibility

According to a report by Sucuri, WordPress accounted for 94% of all hacked CMS sites in 20192.

The most common WordPress security issues are:

  • Outdated software and plugins
  • Weak passwords and user permissions
  • Malicious or vulnerable themes and plugins
  • Brute force and phishing attacks
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection (SQLi) attacks

There are many ways to protect your WordPress site from these threats and ensure its security and integrity. B2B Websites can help you secure your WordPress website so you can focus on what you do best. You can subscribe to one of the plans we offer and worry-not on the security of your website. However, if you would like to do-it-yourself, here are some of the essential steps you should take to secure your WordPress site and reduce the risk of hacking and malware.

Keep WordPress Updated

One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your WordPress security is to keep your core software, themes, and plugins updated to the latest versions. WordPress updates often include security patches and bug fixes that address known vulnerabilities and issues. You can check for updates from your WordPress dashboard and install them with a few clicks. You can also enable automatic updates for minor and security releases by adding this line to your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );


However, you should always backup your site before updating, as some updates may cause compatibility issues or break your site.

AI Generated Image of a Strong Password

Use Strong Passwords and User Permissions

Another common WordPress security mistake is using weak or default passwords for your admin account, FTP account, database, and hosting panel. Hackers can easily crack or guess these passwords and gain access to your site. You should always use strong and unique passwords that are hard to guess and include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can use a password manager or a password generator tool to create and store your passwords securely.

You should also limit the number of users who have access to your WordPress admin area and assign them the appropriate roles and permissions. WordPress has six default user roles: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber, and Super Admin (for multisite networks). Each role has a different level of capabilities and access to your site. You should only give the Administrator role to trusted users who need full control over your site, and use the other roles for users who only need to perform specific tasks, such as creating or editing content. You can also create custom user roles with plugins like User Role Editor or Members.

Choose Reliable Hosting and Themes/Plugins

Your WordPress security also depends on the quality and security of your hosting provider and the themes and plugins you use on your site. You should choose a reputable and reliable hosting company that offers WordPress-specific features and security measures, such as:

  • SSL certificates
  • Firewall and malware scanning
  • Backup and restore options
  • WordPress optimisation and caching
  • Support and customer service

Some of the best WordPress hosting providers are Kinsta, SiteGround, Bluehost, and WP Engine. Alternatively, you can have B2B Websites to manage your WordPress websites especially if you're based in Australia. Simply contact us and request for a quote.

You should also be careful when choosing and installing themes and plugins on your site. Themes and plugins can add functionality and design to your site, but they can also introduce security vulnerabilities and performance issues if they are not well-coded, maintained, or compatible with your WordPress version. You should only use themes and plugins from trusted sources, such as the official WordPress repository, premium marketplaces, or reputable developers. You should also avoid using nulled or pirated themes and plugins, as they may contain malicious code or malware. You should also delete any unused or inactive themes and plugins from your site, as they may pose a security risk if they are not updated.

Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall (WAF) is a security tool that monitors and filters the incoming and outgoing traffic to your site. It can block malicious requests, such as brute force attacks, XSS attacks, SQLi attacks, and other common WordPress security threats. A WAF can also protect your site from DDoS attacks, which can overload your server and make your site unavailable.

There are two types of WAFs: cloud-based and plugin-based. Cloud-based WAFs are more effective and easier to use, as they run on a third-party server and do not affect your site’s performance or resources. Plugin-based WAFs run on your own server and require more configuration and maintenance, but they may offer more flexibility and control. Some of the best WordPress WAFs are Sucuri, Cloudflare, Wordfence, and Jetpack. We highly recommend Cloudflare in case you're wondering.

Move or Force WordPress Site to SSL/HTTPS

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that encrypts the data that is transferred between your site and your visitors’ browsers. HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP, which is the protocol that governs the communication between your site and the web. By moving your WordPress site to SSL/HTTPS, you can ensure that your site’s data, such as login credentials, payment information, and personal details, are safe and secure from hackers and eavesdroppers. You can also improve your site’s SEO, as Google favors HTTPS sites over HTTP sites in its ranking algorithm.

To move your WordPress site to SSL/HTTPS, you need to obtain an SSL certificate from your hosting provider or a third-party service, such as Let’s Encrypt, which offers free SSL certificates. You also need to install and activate the SSL certificate on your site, and update your site’s URL and settings to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. You can use plugins like Really Simple SSL (preferred by us) or WP Force SSL to make this process easier and faster.

Conclusion

WordPress security is not something you can ignore or take lightly. By following the best practices and tips we shared in this blog post, you can improve your WordPress security and protect your site from hackers, malware, and other threats. Remember, security is not a one-time thing, but an ongoing process that requires your attention and care. Having someone maintain your WordPress website is the best thing to keep your website secured. Stay safe and secure!

(1) Security – WordPress.org. https://wordpress.org/about/security/.
(2) The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide - Step by Step (2024) - WPBeginner.
https://www.wpbeginner.com/wordpress-security/.

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