Many businesses wonder if WordPress is secure enough for their business. They think that open-source script is vulnerable to different types of cyber-attacks. If you have a business website on WordPress, you must be wondering how you can safeguard your website from security breaches.
The lack of security in WordPress websites is a myth, and some tricks can help you secure your WordPress website even more. If you take the help of these WordPress security tricks, your website can be more secure compared to your competitors.
Part (a): Secure your WordPress website by ensuring its hosting is safe.
Most hosting companies claim to provide a secure environment to host a WordPress website, but do they live up to that promise?
1. Do business with good hosting companies only
You should only work with companies that can provide a safe and secure hosting environment. This advice seems obvious, but everyone thinks their hosting is excellent until a security breach happens for the first time. Before choosing a hosting provider, check out the reviews by past customers. Most customers will talk about how secure, reliable, and fast the host is. However, you cannot make your host more secure; only they can make those changes. So if your hosting partner does not meet your security standards, switching to another hosting company is the best option.
2. Protect the wp-config.php file
The wp-config.php file has crucial information about the WordPress installation, and it is the most critical file in your site’s root directory. If you can protect it, you will be able to preserve the core of your WordPress website. In addition, this makes it difficult for hackers to breach security since they cannot gain access to the wp-config.php file.
Protecting this file is easy; all you have to do is transfer this file to a higher level than the root directory. In WordPress architecture, the configuration file settings are set on the highest level of priority. So, even if you store the wp-config.php file in one folder above the root directory. It will still work, and WordPress can still view the folder.
3. Restrict file editing
If someone has admin access to the WordPress dashboard, they can edit any files that are part of the WordPress installation. However, if you do not allow file editing, no one will be able to modify the files. Therefore, your files will be safe even if a hacker gains access to your WordPress dashboard.
4. Set directory permissions with caution
Wrong directory permissions can affect your website negatively if you have brought a shared hosting plan. In this case, changing directory permissions is a good move to secure the website at the hosting level. You can set the directory permissions to “755” and files to “644”, protecting the entire system. You can do this with the help of the file manager in CPanel or through the terminal (connected with SSH) using the “chmod” command.
5. Disable directory listing with .htaccess
If you create a new directory on your website and do not add the index.html file, you may be surprised that users can gain access to the entire directory listing and everything in the directory. Let’s say you create a new directory called “directory1” others can see everything in the directory by simply typing http://www.example.com/directory1 in your browser. No one will need a password or account to access the valuable data in this directory. Even if you do not have any data in the directory for now. Providing free access to a website directory may create opportunities for future attacks. Of course, you can always do something to prevent this disaster. Just add this code to your .htaccess file:
Options All -Indexes
6. Block all hotlinking
If you want to add an image to your website and you take it from some other website, then you have to pay for the image otherwise, it is illegal. Even if you pay for the image and paste the image’s URL directly to add the photo to your blog. The problem is that the image is displayed on your website but hosted on another site’s server. Now you do not have any control over whether the photo remains on the server or not. Someone else may do this to you if your website has got popular.
Hotlinking is another person uploading your photo on their website and stealing your server’s bandwidth. This will lead to slower loading speeds.
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You can block hotlinking easily with a WordPress plugin. A popular plugin is the All in one WP security and firewall plugin. You do not need WordPress security tricks if you have the right plugins.
7. Protect your website from DDoS attacks
A DDoS attack is a strike on your server’s bandwidth, and the attacker will use many programs to overload the server even though your site’s data is not at risk when a DDoS attack hits you. As a result, your site will remain crashed if the issue is not resolved.
Your website has to be online for users to use it, other businesses will replace you. You can protect your site with the help of other online security companies like Cloudflare.
Part (b): Ensure the safety of your WordPress website by safeguarding the login page and preventing brute force attacks.
Everyone is aware of the standard WordPress login page URL. You can access the backend of the site from that URL. That is why most hackers try to access the backends of websites by brute force attacks. To ensure that your website is not easy to hack, you should customize the login URL of your site. It is usually the website’s admin’s fault when hackers succeed in brute force attacks. That means that they did not do enough to protect the website. Here are some other WordPress security tricks related to this.
8. Create a website lockdown feature
When someone is trying to enter your website’s backend through brute force, they may fail multiple times before they succeed. A lockdown feature can help you get rid of brute-force hackers. If someone tries to log into your site but gets the password wrong multiple times, then the site is put on lockdown. You are also notified of the unauthorized activity. To activate this feature, you can use any plugin on WordPress.
9. Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
In the 2FA module, you have to prove your identity twice. First, it can be a login id and password. The second can be a secret question, a secret code, a set of characters, or the google authentication app, which sends a secret code to your phone. Using 2FA is the easiest way to ensure that your website is secure. If you use the google authentication app, only the person with the phone will be able to authorize a login attempt.
10. Use your email to log in
Using an email id instead of a username is a popular choice to enhance the website’s security. Because usernames are easy to guess instead of email addresses. Also, any WordPress account is created with an email id, making it a unique identifier.
11. Rename your login URL to secure your website
The WordPress login page can be easily accessed by adding wp-login.php or wp-admin to the site’s main URL. When hackers know the URL of the login page, they can try to brute force their way into your website. By customizing the URL login, you can stop 99% of the brute force attacks.
12. Adjust your passwords
Do not keep the same WordPress password for a long time. Keep changing the WordPress password regularly and kindly ensure that it is a strong password. Kindly add uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters to the password. This will make it difficult to guess.
13. Use a password manager
It is easy for others to say that you should have a difficult-to-crack password for your website. On top of that, you also have to keep changing these passwords. It is only natural that, in time, you will forget your own password. That is where a password manager can help keep track of your password. Even if you forget your password, you can have a look and log in securely.
14. Automatically log out idle users out of the site
You can upgrade your site’s security if you log out of someone who has been inactive for a long time. If they have been inactive for a long time, it means they are not on their screen. This means someone else can take the login information.
You can avoid this by ensuring your site logs out people who are not active for a particular duration. You can use plugins like BulletProof Security for this task.
Part (c): Safeguard your WordPress website through the admin dashboard.
For a hacker, attacking the most protected part of the website is the most challenging. The most protected part of a website is the admin dashboard. Once the hacker has access to it, they can do real damage to your website. It is your job to secure your website with the admin dashboard. If you follow these last set of WordPress security tricks, your job will be done forever.
15. Protect the wp-admin directory
The wp-admin directory is the heart of any WordPress website. If it is breached, your entire site is at risk. That is why it is best to password-protect this critical directory.
16. Use SSL to encrypt data
Implementing an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate is a smart thing to do if you want to secure the admin dashboard. SSL ensures that data transfer between browsers and server is secure. This makes it incredibly hard for hackers to breach the connection. You can purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting provider. Running a website without an SSL certificate is just like a sitting duck waiting for an attack to happen. If your site does not have an SSL certificate, then during the moment of the attack, it will be totally defenseless.
17. Add other accounts with care
If you run a blog on WordPress, you will need many others to access the dashboard. You can use plugins like Force Strong Passwords, which will not allow another user to create a profile with a weak password. Without this plugin, someone may use a simple password that can be easily guessed. So the breach can happen from the account of this user.
18. Change admin’s username
During WordPress registration, you should never keep your username as simple as admin. If you do not change the username, then all the hackers have to do is guess the password, and then the entirety of your site is in their hands. So remember to change the admin’s username into a complicated version.
19. Keep an eye on your files
If you want extra protection, monitor the changes to your WordPress files using plugins like Wordfence. Sometimes attacks start with small changes in the files. This will help you monitor any risk of an attack.
Part (d): Secure your WordPress website through the database.
Your website’s data is stored in the database. The final thing you must do is ensure that the database is secure.
20. Change the WordPress database table prefix
The wp- table prefix is used in the database. When hackers know about this your database can be prone to SQL injection attacks. That’s why you should consider changing the prefix to something unique like mywp- or wpnew-.
21. Make backups regularly to be prepared for the worst-case scenario
No matter how much work you do to secure your website from attacks. There is always a chance, so you should keep creating backups of your website’s database. A backup can help you get back online if you are targeted by an attack.
22. Passwords must be strong
Just like the WordPress login panel, the password for your database should be strong too.
23. Monitor your audit logs
If your site has a lot of contributors, then an audit log can help you see which user is doing what type of activity. That’s why you must keep an eye on the audit log to see which user is creating problems for your site. If the site is breached because of a particular user, you can log them out for the moment.
Part (e): Protect your website by using themes and plugins.
24. Update your themes and plugins regularly
Hackers rely on the weakness of any themes or plugins related to your website to gain access. If you update all your plugins and themes accordingly, they also get a security update. However, if the same old themes or plugins are active, then this makes your site an easy target.
25. Hide the WordPress version number
The WordPress version number is usually displayed right at the bottom of the website and the user dashboard. If the hackers know the version number, they can tailor a perfect attack on your website. You can hide the WordPress version number with the help of a WordPress security plugin.