Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Best WordPress Security Tips

WordPress may be considered one of the most secure and popular platforms on the market. But that doesn’t mean your site is 100 percent safe against hackers. How can you improve your WordPress site’s security to keep cyberattacks at bay? By following these tips.

Put a Limit on Your Site’s Login Attempts

If a hacker has the opportunity to enter a never-ending list of username and password combinations when trying to breach your site, they’ll probably see success eventually. By limiting logins, you can add an extra barrier of security to your WordPress site.

There are WordPress plugins that can help you achieve this goal of limited logins. And while you’ll find many more out there, give Login LockDown and WP Limit Login Attempts a look.

Login Lockdown
Login LockDown Security Plugin for WordPress

Limit Login Attempts WordPress Plugin
Limit Login Attempts WordPress Security Plugin

Change Your Passwords Frequently

You can keep hackers on their toes and make it harder for them to get into your site by changing your passwords often. What constitutes “often”? At least once every three months. And while you’re at it, make sure your new password is strong and hard to guess.  

WordPress Strong Password Best Practices

When creating an admin or user password for your WordPress website, make sure that you follow the best practices for creating a strong password. Strong passwords have the following characteristics:

  • Longer than 8 characters
  • Include upper and lower case letters
  • Include a mix of letters and numbers
  • Include one or more special characters, such as @#$!%&
  • Never use personal information as part of your password, such as birthdates or social security numbers

Change Your Login URL

Logging in to your WordPress dashboard is usually done via these URLs:

  • YOURSITE.com/wp-login.php
  • YOURSITE.com/wp-admin

Hackers know this, which is why those two URLs are most commonly used to hack into databases. By changing the login URL, you can once again keep hackers guessing.

To create a custom login URL, use a plugin like iThemes Security. It will give you the power to tweak that URL to whatever you’d like, so it’s harder for an outsider to guess.
iThemes WordPress Plugin

Back-Up Your Site Frequently

You can lessen the damage from a cyberattack by having a backup of your site. When you create a backup, you have all of your site’s data stored safely somewhere else. When needed, you can use that backup to restore the site and get back to normal.

To perform regular backups, you’ll need a plugin such as Jetpack or some other alternative.

Make Sure Your WordPress Is Always up to Date

WordPress issues regular updates to improve features and plug any holes in security. 

By updating WordPress, you can ensure that your site is protected against any new and malicious bugs.

You can update WordPress via your dashboard. Whenever a new update is released, you should see an announcement at the top of the dashboard that will let you install the most recent version with ease.

Install Firewalls on Your Site and Computer

You can add an extra layer of protection to your WordPress site against cyberattacks, malware, viruses, and more by installing a firewall. Plugins such as Wordfence and iThemes Security work well in this regard.

Beyond your site, you should install a firewall on your computer too. Why? Because even though that firewall will directly protect your computer from threats, you will use your computer to connect to your WordPress site’s dashboard. If your computer is infected with malware due to a lack of a firewall, it could also cause issues with your site.

Use SSL Encryption

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate can protect data transferred between a user’s browser and the server. You can get this certificate through your hosting provider or by purchasing it through a third-party source like RapidSSL.

Not only will making this move increase your site’s security, but it can also boost your search engine rankings since Google tends to reward websites that use SSL.

Ensure Your Themes and Plugins Are up to Date

You should always have the most recent version of WordPress running, but it’s not the only thing that must be up to date. Your themes and plugins must be updated, too, as they can have security holes that can wreak havoc on your site as well. If you don’t think this is a big deal, WooCommerce and Ninja Forms are a pair of popular plugins that were hit in the past, so it can definitely happen again.

As for how to update your themes and plugins, you can do so separately in your dashboard. 

WordPress will let you know what’s outdated so you can install updates as needed.

Delete Themes and Plugins You No Longer Use

While updating themes and plugins can improve your WordPress site’s security, so can removing any that you do not use. By getting rid of that dead weight, you lessen the chances of hackers hitting something tied to your site.

Be Careful With User Access

Let’s say you have a WordPress blog where many writers contribute content on a regular basis. 

While those writers may need access to your site to upload new content, you want to be careful about the type of access they have.

You can tweak access under the Users section of your dashboard. Check each user to see that they have access to what’s necessary to complete their job, but nothing more. For example, if you have a writer listed as an Administrator, you can change their role to that of a Contributor to leave yourself less open to potential problems down the line.

Use Security Scans

Just like an antivirus can run scans on your computer, you can use security scans to ensure everything is up to snuff on your WordPress site. A plugin like Jetpack can offer such functionality, as can CodeGuard

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