WordPress Security: Best Practices to Safeguard Your Website
10th June 2023
In today’s digital age, websites serve as the digital storefronts for businesses and WordPress has emerged as the go-to platform for creating functional and visually appealing websites. However, with great popularity comes the risk of attracting malicious hackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities for their gain. Cyber threats have become more sophisticated, making website security an utmost priority for website owners. In this blog post, we will explore essential WordPress security best practices to safeguard your website from potential threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring that your online presence remains safe and secure.
Keep WordPress Core, Themes and Plugins Updated
Keeping your WordPress core, themes and plugins updated is a fundamental aspect of maintaining a secure and stable website. In today’s digital age, where cyber threats are ever-evolving, regular updates are crucial to protect your website from potential vulnerabilities and ensure it functions optimally with the latest features and enhancements.
WordPress, being an open-source platform, receives regular updates from its core development team. These updates address various aspects, including security vulnerabilities, bug fixes, performance enhancements and the addition of new features. By updating your WordPress installation, you not only strengthen security but also ensure that your website functions smoothly and efficiently.
Implement Strong Password Policies
Strong passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorised access to your WordPress admin area. Encourage users to create unique and robust passwords that combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security, requiring users to verify their identity through a secondary method.
Secure User Roles and Permissions
Limiting access to sensitive areas of your WordPress site is crucial to prevent unauthorised changes or data breaches. Assign roles and permissions carefully, ensuring that only trusted individuals have administrative access. Regularly review user roles and revoke access for users who no longer require it.
Install a Reliable WordPress Security Plugin
WordPress security plugins provide an extra layer of protection against common threats. Look for reputable security plugins that offer features such as malware scanning, brute force attack prevention and IP blocking. These plugins help identify and neutralise potential threats before they compromise your website.
Below are some recommended WordPress Security Plugins:
- Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan: Wordfence is a comprehensive security plugin that offers a powerful firewall, malware scanning, login security and real-time traffic monitoring. It helps protect your website from various threats and keeps you informed about potential security issues.
- Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening: Sucuri is a well-known security solution that provides website auditing, malware scanning and security hardening features. It also offers a website firewall to protect against DDoS attacks and other malicious activities.
- iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security): iThemes Security offers various security features like file change detection, brute force protection and database backups. It provides an easy-to-use dashboard to manage all aspects of website security effectively.
- All In One WP Security & Firewall: This plugin offers a user-friendly interface with security features such as login lockdown, firewall protection, database security, and monitoring of user accounts. It uses a security grading system to show the security status of your website.
- BulletProof Security: BulletProof Security helps secure your website with features like login protection, firewall and malware scanning. It also offers tools to optimise website performance.
Utilise Secure WordPress Hosting
Choosing a reputable and secure hosting provider is a fundamental aspect of website security. Opt for hosting companies that offer advanced security features, including firewalls, malware scanning and regular backups. Additionally, consider using a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated hosting plan for improved isolation and security.
Regular Backups are Essential
Backups are your safety net in case of a security breach or a website malfunction. Regularly back up your website’s files and database to a secure offsite location. In the event of an incident, you can quickly restore your site to a previous clean state, minimizing downtime and data loss.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore: UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular and user-friendly backup plugins for WordPress. It allows you to schedule automatic backups to cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and more. It also offers easy restoration options.
- VaultPress (Jetpack Backup): VaultPress is a backup and security service by Jetpack. It offers real-time backups, one-click restoration and automated security scanning. It integrates seamlessly with Jetpack and provides reliable backup solutions.
- BackupBuddy: BackupBuddy is a comprehensive backup plugin that offers scheduled backups, offsite storage options, and easy restoration features. It also allows you to migrate your website to a new server with ease.
- Duplicator – WordPress Migration Plugin: Duplicator is primarily known as a migration plugin, but it also offers backup functionality. It allows you to create complete site backups or specific files and databases for easy restoration or migration.
- BackWPup – WordPress Backup Plugin: BackWPup is a popular free backup plugin that supports various backup destinations, including Dropbox, Amazon S3, and Google Drive. It offers scheduled backups and allows you to store backups on your server or cloud storage.
Protect Your Login Page
The WordPress login page is a common target for brute force attacks. Mitigate this risk by renaming the default login URL or implementing a login lockdown feature that temporarily blocks users after multiple failed login attempts. These measures help prevent unauthorized access to your website.
Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates
Encrypting data exchanged between your website and visitors is vital for safeguarding sensitive information, such as login credentials and payment details. Install an SSL certificate on your website to enable HTTPS encryption, indicating a secure connection to users and search engines alike.
Disable Directory Listing
Prevent directory listing to keep sensitive information hidden from prying eyes. By default, some web servers display the contents of directories if no index file is present. Disable this feature to ensure that directories without an index file are not accessible to the public.
Monitor Website Activity
Stay vigilant by monitoring website activity and traffic. Regularly check your website logs for any suspicious behavior, such as multiple login attempts or unfamiliar IP addresses. Being proactive in identifying anomalies can help you respond swiftly to potential threats.
In conclusion, ensuring the security of your WordPress website is of paramount importance to protect your business, your customers, and your online reputation. By following the best practices outlined in this blog post, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber threats and maintain a secure online presence.
We’re Here to Help
At Devon Web Designers, we understand the significance of robust website security. As a leading web agency, we provide comprehensive WordPress security services to shield your website from potential vulnerabilities. Trust our expert team to implement the best security practices and safeguard your online business. Contact us today to fortify your WordPress website and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your digital assets are in safe hands.