5 Ways to Keep Your WordPress Site Safe
Did you know that more than 65 million active WordPress sites currently exist?
This makes WordPress one of the most popular website platforms in history.
It is interesting to see how far WordPress has come from its beginning as a blogging platform.
Now, WordPress is a content management system.
Many large enterprises and small businesses see WordPress as the best vehicle for getting their message and products online.
WordPress is flexible, it’s easy to use, and it makes it possible for you to create some fantastic websites.
One of the nice things about the team at WordPress is that they are always on the lookout for security issues.
When these security issues are identified, WordPress is quickly patched.
Of course, nefarious individuals are always trying to compromise WordPress sites.
Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to keep your WordPress site safe.
In this article, I will discuss five of them with you.
1 – Secure Your WordPress Administrator Account
When WordPress was first introduced, user administrative privileges were always called admin.
About three years ago, WordPress came out with an update that modified this.
Now, during the installation process, you have the option to select a username during installation.
Unfortunately, many people choose to stick with the default.
Couple that with the fact that millions of WordPress sites were created before the option of changing the admin account name was available and you have a recipe for disaster.
The only thing that prevents you from having your WordPress site breached is a strong password.
If you are creating a new WordPress site, change the default username.
Don’t use something that’s easy to figure out, like your name or the city you live in.
It’s better to use a combination of characters and letters in your username and password.
Once you’ve created your WordPress account, you can change your password to whatever you want.
However, the username you select at the outset is with you for the long haul.
2 – Turn off Your File Editor
WordPress lets administrators edit the theme or plug-in files via the dashboard.
If a nefarious individual can bypass the admin screen and gain access to your site, it is likely that this is what they will try to do.
However, you can take steps to prevent a would-be hacker from editing files using the WordPress dashboard.
All you have to do is go to your WP – config – PHP file and add the following line define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true).
This way, when someone tries to modify the theme or the plug-in editor, they will see a warning that tells them that they lack sufficient permission to access the page.
If you are new to WordPress, you can access the WP – config.php file via your hosting account interface.
WPBeginners has a pretty thorough guide on how to do this plus a few more options.
3 – Use a Website Lockdown Feature and Ban Users
Using a lockdown feature is a great way to protect yourself from brute force attacks.
When someone repeatedly tries to access your WordPress site using the wrong passwords, the website gets locked down, and you are informed of unauthorised activity.
Another option along the same vein is to log idle users out of your sight.
If you have a user who leaves their WordPress site open on their screen, you could be facing a security threat.
Anyone can pass by and change the information on the website or alter the user account.
These individuals could obliterate your site.
If you ensure that your site logs people out after a set period, you minimise this risk.
This can also be done via a plugin.
There are plug-ins that you can use to lock down your website as well as log idle users out of your site.
These are simple steps that can produce long-term benefits.
Kinsta’s guide to WP security also covers this step and a few others in depth.
One of the most important considerations with all of these settings is the hosting company itself.
Managed WP hosting solutions offer much security out the box which saves users from having to configure a lot of these files.
While shared hosting dominates the market, it’s important to understand the security gaps that cheaper hosting options cause.
Studies show that over 41% of hacked sites are on cheaper hosts.
Managed hosting offers a proactive solution as opposed waiting to get hacked.
4 – Regularly Backup Your Files
Backing up your files protects you if your files are corrupted by unauthorised intruders.
If you regularly backup your files and store them in a separate location, you can then use the backup to restore any data that was lost, or that was corrupted.
Even if your backup is not 100 per cent up to date, you know that you’re not going to lose the bulk of the information that you have stored for the operation of your website.
Of course, the higher the frequency with which you backup your files, the more up-to-date your site will be if you need to restore from said backup.
Backing up your site is one of those things that you might think isn’t important, but it’s extremely important.
Some large websites backup information every hour.
For most small organisations, that’s a little bit of overkill.
In addition to backing up every hour, you would also need to make sure that old backups were deleted so that you have enough space on your drive.
For most organisations, a monthly backup is sufficient.
Blogvault is an excellent option for site backups.
5 – Monitor Your Audit Logs
You need to know the type of activity that’s going on on your WordPress site.
You may have authors and contributors who are changing passwords.
However, there are other things that they should not have access to.
For example, an author should not be able to change the theme of your site nor should they be able to make changes to widgets.
This is something that is the domain of administration.
If you check your audit log regularly, you’re going to make sure that authors and contributors are not trying to change things on your site that they do not have the authorisation to change.
Additionally, an audit log can help you to see if your contributors or writers are having trouble logging in or if they engage in activity that might be considered malicious.
Audit logs do no good if you do not take the time to review them.
It can be a little bit time-consuming, but when compared to the potential loss that could take place as a result of nefarious activity, the time is more than worth it.
These are just a few of the options that you have at your disposal for protecting your WordPress site.
We hope these security tips that you can use to keep your WordPress site secure.
What steps are you taking to ensure your site security?
Let us know in the comments section below.