Best Practices for Protecting Your WordPress Site’s Security: Tips and Guidelines
WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs around, and its large user base makes it a prime target for hackers. Malware, backdoor and SEO spam are among the top types of attacks against WordPress websites.
Thankfully, there are many simple steps you can take to secure your WordPress website. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of these measures.
1. Install an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate is one of the most important parts of your WordPress site’s security. Without it, hackers can easily snoop on your website’s traffic and steal information from visitors.
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts the connection between your web browser and the server that hosts your website. It enables you to secure sensitive data like credit card information and passwords, preventing hackers from intercepting data as it is sent over the Internet.
There are two types of SSL certificates – domain validation (DV) and organization validation (OV). Both are free and easy to install on your website, but you can also purchase an enterprise-level certificate for more advanced protection.
To protect your visitors and their credit card data, you need to ensure that all your WordPress website pages use HTTPS. This is the only way to guarantee that any information that’s sent over the Internet will be encrypted.
You can use a plugin to do this, such as Really Simple SSL. This plugin will automatically set your website’s URL schema to use HTTPS, which will prevent any information from being intercepted. It also checks for URLs in your content still loading from insecure sources and attempts to fix them.
Using an SSL certificate will not only ensure that your visitors’ sensitive information is safe, but it will also boost the search ranking of your site in Google and other search engines. Even if you don’t sell anything online, Google values HTTPS sites higher in its algorithm because they’re more trustworthy.
A few hosting providers have Let’s Encrypt add-ons on their cPanel that make it easier to install an SSL certificate on your WordPress website. These include SiteGround, a managed WordPress hosting service that delivers lightning-fast speeds and security features for your website.
Installing an SSL certificate is a fairly simple process that can be done in minutes. You can start by logging in to your Site Area, which is SiteGround’s equivalent of cPanel.
2. Limit login attempts
Limiting login attempts on a WordPress site can be an effective way to secure your website. It can help prevent bots and hackers from gaining access to your account.
Brute force attacks are a common security threat to WordPress sites, and limiting their number of login attempts can make them much harder for hackers to penetrate. Fortunately, preventing brute force attacks is easy to do, and you can do it with a simple plugin.
Typically, a website will be targeted by bots that are designed to crawl the Internet in an attempt to guess as many passwords as possible. These bots are often a nuisance for site owners and can take up a lot of bandwidth, which can significantly impact the performance of the site.
These types of attacks aren’t common for personal or small business websites, but if yours is targeted, it’s important to limit login attempts on the site. If you do not, you could end up letting hackers into your site, which can result in lost revenue and a bad reputation for the site.
The first step is to install a plugin. You can find a good one by looking for it in your WordPress dashboard. Some of these are 1-step or automatic installs that will automatically add this feature to your site, and others require a few more steps.
This plugin will allow you to set the number of failed login attempts before locking a user out, and you can also decide how long that lockout period lasts. It will also block an IP address if a certain threshold is reached.
Once you’ve set up the plugin, it will keep a track of login attempts and send alerts to administrators when someone exceeds their allowed number of attempts. This is an easy and affordable way to protect your website from hackers and bots.
The Limit Login Attempts plugin is easy to use, and will take just a few minutes to set up. It’s also GDPR compliant, so you can rest assured that your site is safe. You can also choose to add trusted users to a whitelist, so they don’t get locked out.
3. Disable unused plugins and themes
When it comes to securing your WordPress site, one of the most important things you can do is disable any plugins and themes that are not active. This will help to ensure that your website is protected from hackers and will also improve the speed of your site.
Unused plugins and themes can create files and folders on your hosting server which could potentially increase the size of your backup. If you want to remove these, then it is best to log into your hosting account and launch phpMyAdmin.
The next step is to check the database of your WordPress site and locate any tables that may have been created by these unused plugins. Once you have located these, simply delete them from the database. This will remove the data from these plugins and ensure that your backups are as clean as possible.
Often, you will be surprised at how many plugins and themes you have on your WordPress site that are not active. These can include old theme versions that have not been updated to include security fixes and other important patches. These are the weakest points of your website, and leaving them unpatched can lead to a lot of trouble.
In some cases, you may be able to deactivate a plugin using the WordPress admin panel. This is a useful option if you are only going to use it temporarily or if you don’t want to delete it completely.
To disable a plugin, go to the Plugins page of your WordPress dashboard and locate the one you wish to remove. Then click on the “Deactivate” button under its name.
Once you have clicked on the deactivate button, you will be taken to a new page where you can confirm that you wish to remove the plugin from your site. This will ensure that all of its data is deleted from your WordPress site and it will no longer be loaded into your pages or posts.
4. Install a monitoring system
Your WordPress site is a complicated mix of plugins, files, posts and pages. These can change frequently, and it’s important to know what’s happening.
A good way to keep an eye on changes is with a monitoring system that keeps track of all site and file changes. This will help you to spot any security problems, and to ensure that you are keeping your WordPress site safe.
This can be done by installing a monitoring plugin on your WordPress site. It will keep track of any changes to your site and report back to you. This can help you to track down any changes that may be caused by hackers or bots.
One of the most popular and widely used plugins for this purpose is WP Activity Log, which is a comprehensive WordPress tool that keeps track of all activities on your site. It also lets you set alerts for specific changes, so you can receive email notifications whenever a new activity occurs.
Another good monitoring plugin is Website File Changes Monitor, which can identify any changes to your site’s files that could be caused by hackers or bots. These changes could be a deleted post, a modified theme or plugin, a broken link and more.
These changes can affect your site’s performance, and a quick fix can save your business money and reputation. This is why it’s so important to monitor your site for changes, and to make sure they aren’t made by hackers or bots.
If you want to be extra vigilant, you can use a free site checker like SiteCheck. It will scan the external source code of your website to detect malicious codes that may be hidden in your code.
This is a great way to find problems before they have the opportunity to affect your site and your customers. It’s not guaranteed to catch every issue, but it can help.
The best monitoring plugins are those that combine multiple functions into a single solution. Some of these include user activity logs, plugin and theme updates and monitoring, and malware detection.