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10 Pro Tips for Securing Your WordPress Websites

Written by Pressable on

WordPress is one of the most popular site building tools on the market, and for good reason. It offers great flexibility and the power to build the customized site you need. But it’s also important to make sure your WordPress website is secure.

When you’re building a website, while there will always be security concerns, most of these are easy to address. Read on to learn more about the challenges a WordPress site may pose and what you can do to build secure WordPress websites.

Benefits of Using WordPress 

Before we dive into how you can make your WordPress site more secure, let’s talk some about the benefits of using WordPress. WordPress makes it easy for anyone to make a beautiful, functional website, no matter what level of expertise they have. They have thousands of customizable templates that make it simple for novice designers to get their ideas online.

If you have a little more experience with web coding, WordPress offers fantastic access to the code behind the templates. In fact, you can custom-code a theme from scratch if you like. There are also thousands of plugins and widgets that allow you to add the functionality you need to any WordPress site.

Why Web Security Matters

We all have a vague idea that web security is important, but do you know why? If you work in a sensitive field, such as the medical or legal industries, obviously protecting client information is crucial. But even if you work in a less strict field, it’s critical that you protect your customer information.

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You also want to be careful to protect your site from hackers who could insert viruses and scams on your websites. They might skim payment information, install dangerous malware, or hijack your site entirely. Your website needs to be secure enough to protect your customers’ private information, as well as the integrity of your site itself. 

WordPress Security Concerns

One of the downsides of WordPress is that, as website platforms go, it isn’t the most secure. For one thing, these sites tend to be easy to hack into, since the default login page for WordPress sites is the site URL with “/wp-admin” tacked onto the back of it. If users keep the default “admin” username and use a simple password, it’s easy for hackers to force their way in.

WordPress’s modular approach can actually work against it in terms of security risks, too. Older plugins and themes that haven’t been updated in a while can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. And some web hosting servers can leave your site vulnerable to DDOS attacks, which can be hard to recover from.

Common Security Threats

There are several sorts of threats hackers may pose to your site and your customers. One of the most sinister is malware, an umbrella term that can cover a variety of different viruses. This may include ransomware (programs which lock down users’ information until the hackers get paid a certain amount of money), drive-by attacks (programs that only need a user to visit a website in order to infect their computer), and Trojan horses (programs which look like beneficial software and trick users into downloading them). 

Hackers may also aim to shut your site down using a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. They may try to access and manipulate your back-end databases through SQL injection attacks in order to steal sensitive customer data. And some more subtle programs may try to eavesdrop on your company to gain access to confidential information. 

1. Choose a Reputable Hosting Provider

One of the first and best things you can do to keep your WordPress site secure is to choose a reputable hosting provider. Although you can build your site through WordPress, they don’t perform actual site hosting. Your website will be hosted through a separate company, and if you don’t choose a reputable one, they could leave your site vulnerable to hackers, or offer no recovery assistance if you are hacked.

Make sure you do your homework before signing up with a hosting provider. Read customer reviews, read listicles of high-quality hosting companies, ensure they have enhanced security features, such as a web application firewall, and talk to your tech-savvy friends who have sites about what providers they use. Also, google the company you’re considering; if a bunch of stories about website breaches come up, go with a different company.

2. Use an SSL Certificate

Using a single sockets layer, or SSL, is a great way to keep your WordPress website safer for you and your clients. An SSL is effectively a way of encrypting the data that runs between a user’s web browser and your web server. Without this, anyone can see all your site data in plain text, including private customer information, credit card numbers, and more.

Best of all, using an SSL certificate can do even more than just improve your site security. Google and other high-profile search engines have begun to recognize the security benefits SSLs provide and have factored that into their search engine algorithms. Running an SSL can actually improve your search engine rankings, which can be crucial for bringing in new visitors to your site.

3. Make Strong Passwords Mandatory

Strong passwords are one of the best and simplest ways to protect against hackers, both on and off your site. Many hackers start by trying to find the easiest way into your site – through the front door. They’ll try common passwords such as “password123,” “[sitename]123,” and so on.

Require everyone creating an account on your site – customers and employees alike – to create a strong password. Ideally, passwords should include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters and should be at least eight characters long. There should also be at least one capital letter, and for an extra layer of security, you can ask people to change their passwords on a regular basis.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication 

Even if you use strong password requirements, many people will still find ways to make their password easy to remember – and so easy to guess. One way to beef up your site security is to use two-factor authentication. This is much harder for hackers to break into, as they have to guess or know two pieces of information correctly, rather than one password.

Your two-factor authentication could include asking users a security question when they get ready to log in. You could also send them a separate confirmation code through a secondary contact source. The access code will expire within fifteen minutes, making it all but impossible for hackers to get correct.

5. Limit Failed Login Attempts

If you don’t use two-factor authentication, you will absolutely want to limit the number of failed login attempts a user can have. Many hackers will use a brute-force method that simply guesses different password combinations until they find the right one. Computer programs can run dozens of password guesses a minute, making it a simple matter to hit on the right combination.

Limiting failed login attempts stymies this brute-force method. Give customers three to five chances to get the right login information. If they fail, they will have to reset their password using a secondary contact method that will be hard for hackers to break into as well.

6. Rename Your Login URL

As we mentioned, most WordPress sites come with a standard admin login URL that’s your website URL with “/wp-admin/” tacked onto the back. This makes it tremendously simple for hackers to gain access to your login site, especially if your theme has the standard “Powered by WordPress” tag at the bottom. From there, they can exploit version loopholes and other methods to access your site.

Changing your login URL makes it almost impossible for hackers to get access to your login page. There are nearly two billion websites online right now, so hackers are unlikely to guess your login URL offhand. Combined with strong password requirements and two-factor authentication, it will be nearly impossible for hackers to log in to your site.

7. Change the WordPress Database Table Prefix

When you install WordPress, the WordPress database defaults to a “wp-“ table prefix. Having this default prefix can leave your site vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. Changing this to any other term can make it harder for hackers to use this particular method of attack.

The downside is the easiest time to make this change is when you first download WordPress. If you’ve already installed it, you can add some plugins that allow you to change the database table prefix. But always make sure you backup your site before you make any changes to the database.

8. Keep Your Site Updated

Keeping your WordPress site updated is one of the most important ways to make it safer. With each new version that comes out, hackers find new loopholes and mistakes in the coding that allow them access to your site. Luckily, WordPress keeps tabs on these loopholes and fixes them as they arise.

In order to get access to the latest security measures WordPress has to offer, you have to update your site. We know it can be a hassle to run those updates, especially if you have plugins and other customizations. But the longer you put it off, the more time you give hackers to get access to your site.

9. Backup Your Website

Another great way to keep your site more secure is to perform regular backups. We know site backups can be a lot of work and take a lot of time, but they’re more than worth it. If your site is ever hacked or crashed, you’ll be able to recover a recent version, rather than having to start over entirely.

Backing up your website can also be easier these days than it used to be. You can automate backups to run in the middle of the night, when no one is likely to be using your site on the front or back end. You can also schedule them in advance so you can set and forget your site backup protocols.

10. Remove Your WordPress Version Number

One of the best ways to make your WordPress site easier is to remove your version number from the visible parts of your site. Many themes automatically include this information, and it can leave you vulnerable to hackers. They can find security loopholes in that specific version number and exploit them to get into your site.

In order to remove the version number from your site, you’ll need to edit the functions.php file for the theme you’re using. Once you pull this file up, add the following code:

function remove_wp_version() {

return ”;

add_filter( ‘the_generator’, ‘remove_wp_version’ );

This will remove the version number from the front-facing pages on your site and make you a little more secure.

One quick word of warning: It’s best that this file only be edited via SFTP, and done so with caution. – If you edit your site’s functions.php file from within wp-admin and do something wrong, it could trigger an error and you could find yourself locked out of their site. 

Build Secure WordPress Websites

WordPress is one of the best web design tools on the market. But you do need to take some special precautions to make sure your site stays secure. Keep things up to date, change default labels. and do everything you can to make passwords as hard to guess or hack as possible.

If you’d like to build more secure WordPress websites, check out the rest of our site at Pressable. We can help you build and launch WordPress projects on a scalable and customizable managed hosting platform created by the people behind WordPress, WooCommerce, and Jetpack.

Schedule a demo with us today and discover what fast, reliable, secure, and scalable WordPress hosting can do for your business today.

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