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Secure and Keep Your WordPress Website Safe

The Sheepdog

Secure Your WordPress Site and Keep Your Website Safe

If you are reading this post, you already understand the importance of a site for a company’s digital strategy, starting with choosing a platform that is suitable to manage it. WordPress is one of the most used content managers, but how do we ensure that the site is well protected? How to have good security in WordPress?

Hacker attacks are increasingly common and, when they damage a website, they can be lethal, since it is the main online channel for generating new business in many companies. Optimizing defenses in WordPress should be a priority to ensure the security of websites in a digital environment.

Internet security has always been an issue that worries both visitors and website owners. If you have already decided to create your website, surely one of your priorities is to support its security, which is why today we have this guide for you to protect your page against attacks and possible hackers.

When we hear news about websites that have been hacked we think that it only happens with pages of large companies, but that is not necessarily the case, the security of your website should be one of your main concerns, but if you don’t know where to start or how protect it, keep reading because we give you the best tips to achieve this goal.

What dangers can you face?
There are several types of attacks that your website can suffer, such as: phishing, which refers to identity theft; theft of personal data, as sensitive as your email, bank card details or payment methods; and the injection of malicious software, which can infect the machine of whoever browses your website.
It is important that you keep your website protected from all these attacks. Although it seems that they do not affect the operation of your website, it is important that you avoid them as they affect the security of your visitors, and this gives you a bad reputation.

Is WordPress Secure?
Mostly yes, however, WordPress gets a bad reputation for being prone to security vulnerabilities and of course not being a secure platform to use in a business. Most of the time, this is because users follow the worst proven security practices in the industry.

The use of outdated WordPress software, nulled plugins, poor system administration, credential management, and lack of necessary web and security knowledge among non-tech-savvy WordPress users keep hackers ahead of their game of cybercrimes. Even industry leaders don’t always use best practices. Reuters was hacked because they were using an outdated version of WordPress1.

WordPress powers over 43.3%2 of all websites on the Internet, and with hundreds of thousands of theme and plugin combinations out there, it is no surprise that vulnerabilities exist and are constantly being discovered. However, there is also a large community around the WordPress platform, to ensure that these things are fixed as soon as possible. As of 2023, the WordPress security team consists of approximately 50 experts3, including leading developers and security researchers. About half are employees of Automatic and a few of them work in the field of web security.

WordPress is an excellent and secure platform, out of the ordinary, but there are several things you can do to keep your site secure. Many of these security improvements are easy to implement and can be done manually in a few minutes. Others simply require installing a specific plugin.

Given these risks, it is worth investing in security measures for WordPress; This way, both your site and the data of your visitors will be protected. It’s best to spend time and effort on this task, like what you used when designing your site in the first place (or even more). Fortunately for you, dear reader, there are many simple and quick ways to improve the security of your site, as well as some (more complex) techniques that may come in handy, we will tell you about them.

If your website is hacked, you may spend hours (or even days) trying to repair the damage. You can permanently lose data, or see your personal information compromised or worse: that of your clients.
Therefore, it is best to spend a good amount of time and energy verifying that your site is well protected. If not, you risk losing business and time, both invaluable assets, and impossible to recover.

Some are just small tweaks, while others affect your entire site. But if you’re looking for an impactful change, today, that will allow you to keep your website secure, you better make sure you have it hosted on a secure WordPress provider.

In this article, we will guide you through strategies to improve the defenses of your WordPress fortress:

1. Update WordPress Core, Plugins, and Themes

  • Always keep your WordPress core, plugins, and themes updated to the latest versions as they often have security patches.
  • Enable automatic updates or set a regular schedule to check for updates manually.

2. Use Strong Passwords and User Permissions

  • Utilize strong, unique passwords for your WordPress admin, database, and FTP accounts.
  • Limit user permissions to only what is necessary for their role.
  • Plugins such as Wordfence, IThemes Security, or All in One WP Security & Firewall can provide additional protection by monitoring and blocking suspicious activity.

3. Install a WordPress Security Plugin and Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

  • Security plugins like Wordfence or IThemes Security can provide an additional layer of protection by monitoring and blocking suspicious activity.
  • A WAF can help block malicious traffic before it reaches your site.

4. Move WordPress Site to SSL/HTTPS

  • Implement SSL to encrypt data transfers between your site and your visitors, which is also beneficial for SEO.

5. Regular Backups

Establish a regular backup routine to ensure you have a fresh copy of your site’s content and database. Use plugins like Updraft Plus or Backup Buddy for automated backups.

6. Change the WordPress Database Table Prefix

  • Changing the default table prefix can help protect your database from SQL injection attacks.
  • Establish a backup routine using plugins like Updraft Plus, Backup Buddy, or Vault Press to ensure you have a fresh copy of your site’s content and database.

7. Disable Directory Indexing and Browsing

  • Disabling directory indexing and browsing prevents hackers from viewing the contents of your directories.

8. Disable XML-RPC

  • Disabling XML-RPC can help protect against DDoS and brute force attacks.

10. Change Login URL and Limit Login Attempts

Change Login URL:

  1. Install and activate the plugin “WPS Hide Login” from the WordPress repository.
  2. Navigate to Settings > WPS Hide Login and set your desired login URL.
  3. Save changes.

Limit Login Attempts:

  1. Install and activate the plugin “Limit Login Attempts Reloaded” from the WordPress repository.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Limit Login Attempts and configure your desired settings.
  3. Save changes.

11. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

12. Disable File Editing and Uploads

Disable File Editing:

  1. Access your website files via FTP or Panel.
  2. Open the wp-config.php file.
  3. Add the following line of code:

define (‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true); // Kill the WordPress file editor.

define (‘DISALLOW_FILE_MODS’, true); // Don’t allow users to update core, plugins, or themes.

  • Save and upload the file back to the server.

Disable File Uploads:

  1. Navigate to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Go to Settings > Miscellaneous.
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders.”
  4. Save changes.

13. Minimize Plugin Use

Why is security important in WordPress?
It is predicted that by 2025 the cost of damage caused by cybercrime may reach $10.5 trillion per year4.
As you can see, there are many ways to strengthen WordPress security. Using smart passwords, keeping your core and plugins up to date, and choosing a secure managed WordPress host are just a few things that will keep your WordPress site up and running safely. For many of you, your WordPress site is your business and your income, so it is important to take some time and implement some of the security best practices mentioned above, sooner rather than later.

Need help with implementing security features on your WordPress site? Contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you with your security needs.

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