WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, but that popularity also means WordPress sites can face more security risks. Adopting WordPress security best practices can keep your site safe.
WordPress powers more than 40% of websites across the globe. Hackers capitalize on the platform’s widespread usage and create programs to exploit flaws in WordPress sites. The good news is that, with the right security measures, you can avoid these flaws and keep your site safe. In this post, we’ll review the common types of security threats for WordPress websites and the WordPress security best practices for protecting your website.
Common Security Issues for WordPress
To secure your site, you need to understand what security threats you could face. After all, how can you even begin to protect your site if you don’t know the risks?
The most common types of attacks on WordPress sites include:
- SQL Injections. Your WordPress site data is stored in a MySQL database. In this type of attack, a hacker gets into your database and inserts new data such as spam links or new admin login credentials.
- Brute Force Attacks. This attack is when a bot tries to guess the correct login for your site. The bot repeatedly enters different usernames and passwords until it gains access. If successful, someone could do a lot of damage to your site with full access to your WordPress admin. But even if they’re not successful in logging in, the sheer number of login attempts could slow down or crash your server.
- Denial of Service Attack. This attack works similarly by overloading your server. Attackers program computers to repeatedly load your website to crash it under the weight of so much traffic.
- File Inclusion Exploits. WordPress is a PHP-based system. In file inclusion exploits, attackers manage to load and execute PHP files that allow them to modify system files such as your wp-config.php file.
- Cross-Site Scripting. Attackers insert client-side scripts into your website to change how your site acts for visitors and even steal user data.
- Malware. Like robocalls and spam email, malware is the most prevalent and annoying type of security threat. WordPress sites can face malware infections such as pharma hacks, drive-by downloads, backdoors, and malicious redirects.
WordPress Security Best Practices
Implement these best practices to keep your site safe from these common security risks.
Keep WordPress, Themes, and Plugins Updated
The WordPress community constantly monitors and reports new security risks. Security patches are a regular part of the updates to the WordPress system. If you don’t install the latest version of WordPress, you could miss out on updates that keep your site safe. The same principle applies to your themes and plugins. Keeping all your system, plugin, and theme files updated is the best way to prevent an attack. It’s helpful to enable automatic plugin and theme updates on your WordPress site to keep it secure.
Carefully Choose and Monitor Plugins
Plugins are the most common way an attacker will try to gain access to your site. Plugins account for almost 90% of all known WordPress vulnerabilities, according to WPScan’s database of WordPress vulnerabilities. Pick your plugins wisely and only install a plugin from a trusted developer. In addition to keeping plugins updated, remove and delete inactive plugins.
Use Strong Password and Strict Permissions
Using a weak password is the equivalent of leaving your doors unlocked. You don’t want to make it easy for someone to break into your house or website. In addition to picking strong passwords, consider activating two-factor authentication for additional security. Even if someone guesses your password, they still need to enter the confirmation code from your email or phone to log in.
Also, review your access levels. The more admin accounts you have, the more ways an attacker can access your site. Set strict user permissions to limit the number of people with full access to your site.
Finally, consider activating a plugin like WP Brute Force Protection that will limit the number of login attempts to detect and block a brute force attack in progress.
Enabling SSL or Secure Sockets Layer creates an encrypted connection between your server and the visitor’s browser. SSL protects your customer data and is vital for any eCommerce transactions.
Maintain Consistent Backups
Site backups play a critical role in your security efforts. Like home or auto insurance, backups provide peace of mind and you hope you never need them. In the rare event of a successful security breach, you can easily restore your site with a backup.
Invest in Secure Hosting
Keeping your site safe from attackers includes partnering with a secure hosting provider. When searching for a host, review the available security features. Many hosts will offer free SSL certificates, provide specialized firewalls to guard your site, perform regular malware scans, and more. For the best security features, look for a managed WordPress hosting plan.
For more security best practices, download our ebook, 10 Pro Tips for Securing Your WordPress Websites.
Why is Managed Hosting Better for Security?
Managed WordPress hosting, like Pressable’s secure cloud-based services, offers the most protection from attacks. Managed hosting includes automatic updates, so your WordPress core files and plugins stay updated with the latest security patches. Managed hosting also can include monitoring of suspicious activity and automatic blocking of denial of service attacks. And managed hosting has better access to technical support, so you have experts to help recover your site if it’s breached.
Switch to a Secure Host for Your Website
Pressable offers reliable and secure hosting services specifically designed for WordPress.
Pressable security features include:
- Free SSL certificates
- Managed WordPress updates
- Web Application Firewall (WAF)
- Malware scanning and threat monitoring
- Jetpack Security (a $299/year value)
Additionally, if your site is ever compromised, our team of experts will provide hack recovery assistance to ensure your site is rid of intrusive code. We also help clean up the mess left behind and work with you to prevent future attacks.
Sign up today to access Pressable’s state-of-the-art security features for your WordPress site.
Zach has 12+ years of experience with WordPress, from creating and maintaining client sites, to providing support and developing documentation. A knack for problem-solving and providing solutions led Zach to pursue a job with Automattic providing customer support in 2015 working with WooCommerce support, and now Zach has recently joined our team here at Pressable. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, and working on projects around the house.