WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in use on the web, at more than 60 million websites. But due to its vast popularity, it’s always on hacker’s target. So the major thing you can do with your WordPress site to make it more harden and secure. That should be part of your entire process to manage everything in your website to protect your WordPress site from malware and cracking.
Here in this article, I will look at some of the major areas that should be on your must have list of weak areas of you WordPress website and how can you add greater levels of security and protection without having deep security knowledge.
1. Always Keep Your WordPress Updated
As the WordPress is updated regularly to address new security issues that may arise. So it’s strongly recommended that you should always keep up to date with latest version of WordPress. The older versions of WordPress are not maintained with security updates.
Since version 3.7, WordPress has featured automatic updates. You should use this feature to ease the process of keeping up to date and remain secure. You can also use the WordPress Dashboard to keep informed about updates. But never download or install WordPress from any website other than https://wordpress.org.
If you still discovered security issue after update with latest version, this can make old versions more open to attack, and is one of the primary reasons you should always keep WordPress up to date. So if you think, you have found a security flaw or a bug in WordPress, you can help by reporting the issue.
2. Check Your Web server vulnerabilities
There might be vulnerabilities in Web Server on which you’re running your WordPress site. You should always make sure that you’re running secure, stable versions of your web server and the software on it, or make sure you are using a trusted host that takes care of these things for you.
If you’re running your WordPress site on a shared server through a shared web hosting company and a website on the same server is compromised, your website can potentially be compromised too even if you follow each steps in this article. In this situation, you should check out the security precautions your web hosting company take to prevent cross-site contamination.
3. Check Network Vulnerabilities
Always make sure from your Web hosting that their network is not compromised by attackers and also from client side network. These should be trusted means updating firewall rules on your home router and being careful about what networks you work from. For example, in an Internet cafe where you are sending passwords over an unencrypted connection, wireless or otherwise, is not a trusted network. The network vulnerabilities can allow passwords and other sensitive information to be intercepted.
4. Always Use Strong Password
You can avoid many potential security risks with good security habits. A strong password is an important aspect of this. Always have a goal with your password is to make it hard for other people to guess. Your password should be at least eight characters long, it should include numbers, it should include special characters, and uppercase and lowercase letters. The WordPress also features a password strength meter which is shown when changing your password. You can use this when changing your password to ensure its strength is adequate.
If you want to use more secure and strong password, you can enable two-step authentication as an additional security measure.
5. Secure Core WordPress Files
It’s also necessary for you to secure core files of your WordPress site to protect from potential risks. The WordPress has feature to allow various files to be writable by the web server. However, allowing write access to your files is potentially dangerous, particularly in a shared hosting environment.
It’s best to lock down your file permissions as much as possible and to loosen those restrictions on the occasions that you need to allow write access, or to create specific folders with fewer restrictions for the purpose of doing things like uploading files.
Apply possible file permission scheme that all files should be owned by your user account, and should be writable by you. Any file that needs write access from WordPress should be writable by the web server, if your web hosting set up requires it that may mean those files need to be group-owned by the user account used by the web server process.
6. Plugin and theme security
The Plugins and themes are major target for malware. The hackers always looking for vulnerabilities in plugins and themes software and exploit those vulnerabilities to insert many types of malware. The best way to avoid such type of threat to use plugins and themes from Worspress.org and most importantly keep your plugins and themes patched and up to date. You can also use security plugins like Anti-malware or Theme Authenticity Checker to help prevent malware infections.
7. Database Security
If you’re running multiple WorPress site on the same server, it is wise to consider keeping them in separate databases each managed by a different user. This is best accomplished when performing the initial WordPress installation. This is a containment strategy: if an intruder successfully cracks one WordPress installation, this makes it that much harder to alter your other sites.
Also make sure that you’re fully aware with MySQL configuration and that unneeded features are disabled like accepting remote TCP connections. Also restrict database user privileges. For example, the normal WordPress operations, such as posting blog posts, uploading media files, posting comments, creating new WordPress users and installing WordPress plugins, the MySQL database user only needs data read and data write privileges to the MySQL database; SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE. So the major database structure and administration privileges, such as DROP, ALTER and GRANT can be revoked to avoid security risks.
8. Disable File Editing
As the WordPress Dashboard by default allows administrators to edit PHP files, such as plugin and theme files. This is often the first tool an attacker will use if able to login, since it allows code execution. WordPress has a constant “define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true)” to disable editing from Dashboard. Placing this line in wp-config.php is disable file editing from Dashboard. But it will not prevent an attacker from uploading malicious files to your site, but might stop some attacks.
9. Secure communications / HTTPS
You can also use HTTPS Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt traffic that is communicated over the Internet. It helps you to prevent attacks where someone intercepts communication traffic. To implement HTTPS across your WordPress site you need to install an SSL certificate through you web hosting.
10. Backup automatically
It’s highly recommended to take regular backups of your site content, images and database to bring back your site if any disaster occurs. Regular backups are a must, some people like to do every day, but really it is up to you and things like how regularly your site is updated and so on, will determine this. For this, there are many automatic WordPress backup plugins are available in WordPress plugin directory. You just need to research, which is the best for your site and database type. After selecting right one, make sure to test out the results before you start using it.