10 Tips to Make a Secure WordPress Website
Creating a website is a daunting task requiring concentration and focusing on making it stand out from the rest. At some point, you may realise that the site plays a fundamental role in the well-being of your livelihood. Remember that the goal is to generate those massive dollars from the site to pay bills back home. This means that you need to give it everything you have!
WordPress is one of the most secure platforms where you can build your website, and you are guaranteed total safety. The platform offers a comprehensive base of about 58.9% of websites across the internet. However, there are multiple things that you need to do to enhance the safety of your website.
The exciting aspect is that most tips to secure WordPress websites are easy to implement, and you will have your back covered. Besides, you can practice these security enhancement features in a matter of minutes, and you will have built a robust security base for your WordPress website.
Why Securing Your WordPress Website is Important?
If you want to create one of the most secure websites on the internet, WordPress is the best option that suits your needs. This is because the platform has been named as one of the safest places where you can count when building a website.
The WordPress developers are known to mainly focus on enhancing the security of the sites within the platform.
In addition, the WordPress management panel is focused on delivering security updates now and then. Website owners usually download and install the updates to construct a robust security wall that offers total protection. This ensures that your site is well equipped to deal with security-related threats.
The reality is that no platform is 100% secure; it’s only that WordPress is determined to offer out-of-the-box security services that provide adequate protection to websites built on the platform.
On the contrary, hackers always look for the most efficient methodologies to use and penetrate your site. Once they get in, they cause much harm.
In most cases, hackers tend to steal the most sensitive information or compromise everything within the website. Also, they install malware that suits their needs or brings down the entire website. This guide shares practical tips on how to make a secure WordPress website. Let’s check it out!
1 – Switch Your Site to HTTPS
Do you know anything to do with SSL/TLS certificate? You probably understand what this is all about if you are a website owner. This feature enables you to switch your website to the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, also known as HTTPS. This is considered a more secure version of HTTP that has been used for quite a while.
This is one of the essential security guidelines you need to grasp, even if they sound like new terms. HTTP refers to the protocol to transfer data between a website and a browser when readers try to access the information.
When a visitor clicks on the landing page, the content, media, and website code are transferred via this protocol to the visit.
Even though this plays a vital role on the website, it can also raise serious security concerns that are likely to impact the well-being of your site. Hackers can decide to intercept the data during the transfer process and use it to serve their purpose. The good news is that HTTPS can serve the same role and encrypt your data.
In the past, developers mainly used HTTPS within websites handling sensitive customer information such as credit card details. Recently, this feature has become the talk of the town, especially on developed platforms such as WordPress. To switch your site to HTTPS, you only need access to the SSL/TLS certificate of the website.
The certificate is mainly used to ensure that your website is legitimate and that the data is adequately encrypted. You can easily acquire the certificate from your hosting site and are good to go.
2 – Implement Two-Factor Authentication
The two-factor authentication is an additional security feature to ensure that you are the only person who can access the website. It’s the two-step process you must follow before getting access to the site. Even though it makes the login process longer, it offers an effective way of protecting your site from hackers.
The authentication process mainly involves using a smartphone or any other device to access your site. Logging into your site will remain the same; you will begin by entering your user name and the password. A code will be sent to your device depending on your choice, which you must provide before completing the login process.
This is mainly used to confirm your identity by getting access to something that is solely yours. If your website is built on WordPress, the two-factor authentication is pretty easy to add since you only need to get access to a dedicated plugin, and you will have the job done. Note that the authentication process is a robust feature that needs to be built by a reliable developer.
Also, the authenticator builder should be highly compatible with Google authenticator to make adding the feature to your site easier without fuss. You can also opt for the two-factor plugin, which the core WordPress developers mainly build.
3 – Use a Quality Host
When thinking of the best web hosting site, always perceive it as the internet street where your site lives. The web hosting site you choose will likely determine how well your website will perform, its reliability and how it can grow in the long run. If you select an excellent site, you will be supplied with multiple features that make your work easier.
Also, choosing a quality hosting site is one of the steps to making your website secure. When choosing a good hosting site, you enjoy the additional security features outlined below.
- A web host offers backup services ensuring that you cannot lose your data when hackers manage to access your website.
- An excellent hosting site updates all its features, such as software, to respond to security threats and eradicate security breaches.
- A hosting platform that offers 24/7 support gives you the freedom to report any security issue.
- Hosting sites offers multiple security features, such as the SSL/TLS certificate, which provides security protection in the long run.
Before choosing a web hosting platform for your site, the list above should guide you on the way forward and the best site to choose. Also, if you intend to change your hosting platform, the above features should guide you to get the best hosting site that suits your needs.
Krystal is one of the best secure WordPress hosting sites that you can opt for since it’s reliable, scalable, and relatively affordable. The site provides every tool and feature you need to enhance the security of your website.
4 – Keep the Number of Users on Your Website Low
If you are running your website solo, you don’t need to worry about this aspect. However, this s unusual since most people opt to add others to their websites. You may want other authors and editors to contribute to the content you post on your website and help you manage the website.
Sometimes, you may have a massive team of content nerds who access the site from time to time and make their preferred changes. This is said to be very beneficial in different ways, although it may have huge security issues that affect the well-being of your site. The more people you give access to your site, the more room you give to security issues.
Among the people you give access to your website, there will always be someone who will make a huge mistake and result in significant security issues, either knowingly or unknowingly. To eliminate such instances, you should make the number of people who access your website as low as possible.
In addition, limit the number of administrators on your site among the other user roles and high privileges within the website. Check out the list below and let it offer you guidance.
- Encourage every team member to have a strong password
- Limit every user by giving them permissions to the areas where they need to work within the site
- Try and have only one administrator with a small team of content editors
- Download a plugin for every team member, depending on their services.
5 – Enable the Web Application Firewall
A firewall is a popular feature mainly used to block any form of unwanted attacks on your website. You cannot miss a firewall on your device if you are a website owner. On the other hand, a web application firewall refers to a firewall that is mainly meant to prevent hackers from getting access to your website regardless of the strategies they make.
This type of firewall has the potential to protect websites, servers, and any site from being attacked. The web application firewall mainly works as a barrier between your website and the entire internet. It is designed to detect web attacks, malware, or any incoming activity and block anything that seems to be an attack.
If you are running a website, it is vital to ensure that you have a robust firewall that will offer total protection to your website. Some web hosting sites offer a web application firewall protecting your site from external attacks. Once you pay your subscription fees, you get an additional firewall to protect your site content.
Hosting platforms such as Dream Host comes with a malware scanning shield that detects the presence of any form of malware that is likely to affect your site. This enables you to take the respective action to curb the problem and enhance the well-being of your website.
6 – Incorporate New Plugins and Themes Carefully and Update Them Regularly
WordPress is the best platform to build a website because of its ready-made themes and plugins. With the availability of all these tools at hand, you have the power to make your website look nice by adding any theme you can think of. However, it would help if you remembered that not all the themes you see are created equally.
Many website developers are inexperienced and not keen enough to create reliable and secure plugins. They utilise poor coding requirements, leaving holes where hackers can penetrate and access the site details. To enhance your safety, you must be keen on the themes and plugins you choose.
Before applying any theme or plugin, you must ensure that it has been vetted to prove that it is a solid choice and won’t hinder your website’s standard functionality. If you want to choose a theme or plugin, consider the below factors.
- Confirm the last time the theme or plugin was updated. If the previous update was within the past six months, that’s not the best option.
- While installing themes and plugins, do it one at a time. This method allows you to identify the root of the problem if anything goes wrong.
- Ensure that you get the plugins and themes from credible sources for security purposes.
- Check the reviews and ratings on the internet to learn more about other people’s experiences.
Once you have installed the themes and plugins, ensure that they are updated regularly to make the site secure against the latest security threats.
7 – Track the Admin Area Activity
If you have multiple users on your website, you need to get the best way possible that will help you evaluate what every user is doing. The best way to do this is to track the activities within the WordPress Admin area.
This will help you spot if the other team members are doing things contrary to what is supposed to be done.
Note that you will automatically want to identify the person behind the activity when something weird has been changed or installed on the site.
In such circumstances, plugins have your back covered by keeping track of the activities within your website. However, not every plugin offers this functionality, so you must go the extra mile to get a good solution.
Sometimes, you may want to use the manual approach, whereby you will have to create an easy-to-read log of crucial information that will enable you to identify such changes. Also, you can opt for the WordPress security audit log, which keeps a constant track of all the activities on your website and alerts you on the most recent changes in real-time.
Once you have installed the plugin, you need to be keen on details to monitor any unnecessary security activities that are likely to occur without your consent.
8 – Develop Secure Login Credentials
Your website login credentials play a vital role in enhancing the proper security measures of your website. It would be best if you were careful by choosing credentials so no one can easily break into the website.
When selecting security credentials for your site, you should abide by the best password and username practices to make your website secure.
When creating a website, you will be given space where you need to create your username and password. In most cases, the username defaults to admin, although you can change it depending on your preference. Many people stick to the default option since there are many ways to find your WordPress user name.
The password is the most critical element, and you have to choose the most robust option to enhance the safety of your site. The best way to choose a strong password is to select a four-word phrase with a random mixture of letter symbols and numbers. This is the simplest method that you can use when choosing a reliable password for your website.
Suppose you find it challenging to choose a strong password you can trust and use. You can stick with the secure WordPress-generated passwords automatically generated by the site.
9 – Backup Your Site Data Regularly
It is a lie when you hear that there is a magic solution to protect your website entirely. Even if you implement every recommended strategy to make your website secure, there are chances that your website is likely to be attacked by hackers. Remember that hackers are extremely good at what they do, and you must be smart enough to counter them.
Note that a comprehensive security plan is to prepare for the worst in case anything happens. As you implement every feature to make your website safe, you should have a backup plan to ensure that you will never lose your website data. Ensure that you back up your website data on regular occasions.
Once your data is backed up, you are guaranteed to get all the information back and restore your website operations if it has been hacked. Besides, you must ensure that your data backing methods are smart enough to outshine hackers. To make your backup efforts successful, consider the following:
- Ensure all your data is saved in external locations, including cloud and physical storage.
- Create a consistent data backup schedule. Note that your backup frequency entirely depends on you depending on your preference.
- Ensure that you have more than one backup system. The good thing is to have at least three backup systems if the current system fails.
It is advisable to ensure that all your website data has been backed up before making any changes to counter anything that arises after making the changes.
10 – Configure Your File Permissions
The data and content available on your website are stored in files and folders. The files are organised in a particular order, and every folder has a particular permission level. Note that the permission given on the folder and files determines who is capable of viewing and editing the file. You can set the files and folders, providing access to everyone depending on your choice.
If your website is built on WordPress, the permissions are presented using a three-digit number with a unique meaning. The first digit always represents the site owner; the second digit refers to the group, while the third digit refers to the world. Check out the numbers outlined below to secure WordPress:
- 0: Cannot access the file
- 1: Has the power to execute the file
- 2: Can access and edit the file
- 3: The user can edit and execute a given file
- 4: Can only read the file
- 5: Can execute and read the file
- 6: Can read as well as edit the file
- 7: The user can read, edit, and execute the file.
For instance, the user can read and edit the file if you have created a permission level of 640. The first group can only read the file and not edit it, while everyone else cannot get access to the file. However, this permission level seems to be more complicated since everyone should get access to the files and folders within the website.
According to the WordPress rules and regulations, you should give a permission level of 755 to folders and 644 to files. If you stick to this permission compilation, you are pretty sure that your website is secured. However, you can choose any combination of your desire as much as you do not give more access than what they need for the safety of your website.
Once hackers access your website, you are likely to spend hours and even days before you recover the damage. Sometimes, you might lose your content permanently or have the content details compromised.
This is why it is essential to channel all your concentration and efforts into enhancing the security of your website. The security tips shared in this guide have your back fully covered for a secure WordPress website.
Author Bio: Lori Gillen is a Blogger/Content Creator who is specialised in the field of Digital Marketing & Data Analysis with five years of experience. She is currently working at ChartExpo as a Senior Content Creator.