Do you own a WordPress site? Congratulations, the advanced security features of the platform will protect you for life…or so you’d like to think. Unlike ready SaaS solutions, online website builders with centralized management, WordPress is a popular open-source CMS with open code with lots of security vulnerabilities. And believe me, these vulnerabilities can be easily used to bring harm to your website and business. You need to defend yourself, and the best way to do so is add reinforcements.
I know what you’re thinking – plugins! However, plugins aren’t a 100 percent foolproof. In fact, it’s now being said that the more plugins, themes, and custom codes you add to your WordPress blog, the higher the likelihood of getting hacked. No, what you need to do is secure your site’s administrator. Betcha didn’t know about that! To know how to find out below.
Limit Plugin Usage
Try not to be tempted by the various plugins available for WordPress. Install only the ones you think are indispensable. The more careful you are with your plugin choices, the more secure your site will be. Plugins not only hamper your security but affect the performance and speed of your site as well. Too many plugins can drastically slow down your WordPress site. Your best bet would be to consider plugins that combine multiple items on your must-have features list.
Premium Plugins for Free? No Thanks
We can understand the temptation to download and install free premium quality plugins when on a budget, but it’s best not to do so. Unless you purchase them from an official source, illegal versions of premium plugins generally contain malicious code. Not to mention the fact that piracy is illegal! So, the next time you spot premium plugins available for no cost, be very wary – what was once a good plugin with the excellent code has now become a hacker’s direct line into the backend of your website. Ask yourself – Are all these risks worth saving a few bucks?
Automatic Core Updates are a Must
You should update your WordPress installation as soon as a new version’s released. Older versions of WordPress have their security flaws listed all over the Internet. It won’t take long for a hacker to use that info and mount an attack against your website. Make site maintenance a regular habit. Or, if you’re too lazy, you could always turn on automatic updates. This fulfills both your criteria of a hands-off approach and a secure website.
Automatic Updates for Themes and Plugins
Themes and plugins generally need to be updated manually. However, if you don’t schedule site maintenance regularly, configuring automatic updates might be the best way to stay on top of things without any immediate intervention.
Get Rid of the Theme and Plugin Editor
There are plenty of developers who make tweaks and changes to WP platform themes and plugins on a regular basis. This step is not meant to them. In the case of users who don’t use the built-in theme and plugin editor on the WordPress dashboard occasionally, it is better if the option is disabled. What does the editor have to do with security? Well, for starters, this editor is used by authorized WordPress users and if their accounts get hacked, the editor might be responsible for the downfall of the entire website. All this can be achieved with a few code modifications.
Remove PHP Error Reporting
The backend of your WP website is rife with weak spots and holes. Actually, very few sites aren’t. However, this does not excuse the fact that if a theme or plugin doesn’t function properly, an error message would be flashed across the screen. The problem stems from the fact that such error messages sometimes include your server path, the whole of which is visible in the error report. Thus, disabling error reporting is the best possible solution.
Never Put Author Usernames on Display
Never leave the WordPress defaults intact. It makes it very easy for hackers to find out your username, and since, more often than not, you are the administrator too, they get access to your admin username as well. This is never a good sign. Hackers can use even the smallest bit of info to compromise your site. The best course of action would be to hide the username of the author. Then if hackers try to get admin information, they’ll be directed back to the homepage.
Always Monitor the Activity on Your Dashboard
If your site has lots of visitors, you should always keep a close eye on what’s going on using your dashboard. It isn’t that all of them are up to no good, but sometimes when there’s too much activity on your site, it pays to be alert. The tiniest misstep can have huge repercussions. This is perhaps the reason why a lot of admins choose to log their dashboard activity – it enables them to retrace the user’s steps up to the point when the site broke down. The dashboard even gives you the opportunity to retrace your own steps.
Your security receives a much-needed boost as you can now connect the dots between a particular action and a particular reaction. Now if your site breaks down due to a certain file upload, you can investigate deeper to see if any malicious code was present or not.
It is possible that you might find the automated information log for WordPress difficult to use and cluttered. In that case, you can always go for a plugin that organizes all of the data.
Keep the Login Page Hidden
It’s true that hiding some elements of your page won’t deter hackers from accessing them, but at least you’ll put up one heck of a resistance. And that is always a good sign! You can rename or relocate your login page to confuse hackers. Most brute force attacks are automated, so when your login page is a little different than the norm, the impact of the attacks will be weaker. There are loads of plugins that can help you make such a simple change.
Update Your Computer
It’s often seen that despite the best security measures, hackers are accessing the WordPress site. This occurs due to vulnerabilities in the computer itself. Your only solution is to keep the system updated. Install software patches as soon as they are released. Upgrade to a newly released operating system as soon as possible.
The task of safeguarding your WordPress site involves a lot more than security plugin installation. You need to devise a complete strategy, taking even subtle nuances into consideration. We sometimes tend to overlook the smaller things, but these can make all the difference between good security and great security.