WordPress security begins with planning the right web architecture and internal security protocols, which is easier said than done. It requires meticulous planning and a thorough understanding of potentially dangerous technologies.
Unfortunately, business owners are more concerned about how their website looks rather than its security and neglecting that can destroy a business in no time. One out of every six small businesses shuts down within six months of a breach, so all it takes is one mistake. So, we decided to provide you with a checklist of WordPress security best practices to help keep your website secure.
WordPress Security Best Practices | A Complete Checklist
WordPress security issues mainly include brute force attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, malware, and file inclusion exploits. With some caution, website owners can easily prevent these issues and keep their websites safe from hackers. Let us now discuss some of the most effective WordPress security measures that you can implement right away.
1. Pick a Secure Hosting for your WordPress Site
Web hosting service providers often market shared hosting plans as the most basic, entry-level plans perfect for small businesses. Unfortunately, this trap has taken down more businesses than one can count and is something that you must entirely avoid. The concept of shared hosting lets the service provider host any number of websites on a single server, and if any one of those is hacked, all others are at risk of being hacked. Therefore, it is always recommended that you get yourself a dedicated server or a cloud hosting plan to host your website.
2. Update WordPress
Most business owners hire remote website developers and then leave their website, which can be dangerous for any business. Websites need ongoing maintenance to prevent vulnerabilities from seeping in. For this very reason, Team WordPress rolls out security updates, and the most recent security release was the WordPress 5.7.1 version, which fixes 26 bugs and two security issues. So, make sure to keep the WordPress CMS updated at all times. If you lack the technical expertise to do that on your own, consider picking a managed WordPress web hosting plan for your website. Those plans require minimal effort and allow the user to update the CMS with just a click.
3. SSL Security
Before you provide user access to anyone (including your web designer), make it a point to install an SSL on your website. This is the first thing you must do after buying a domain and linking it to the web hosting because installing an SSL keeps client-server communication secure. With so many people using remote web developers, this step is inevitable.
To get the most out of your SSL, make it a point to choose the right SSL type for your website. For example, if you have a single primary domain and several subdomains, a wildcard SSL will suffice. However, we recommend installing the SAN SSL certificate for businesses that use multiple primary domains, IP addresses, mail domains, etc.
4. Implement Secure Authentication
As a website owner, it is essential that you set strong password rules and other security measures like multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security. Also, you need to pick a strong password for yourself, which comprises eight or more characters, including mixed cases, special characters, and numbers.
5. Limit Plugins and Themes
Studies indicate that 88% of WordPress security issues occur due to plugins and around 8% because of WordPress themes. This is because WordPress plugins and themes are created by third parties and are listed on the WordPress repositories. Since these repositories are unregulated, there are quite a few plugins and themes that are not adequately maintained. Therefore, WordPress users need to be careful about what they download and how safe that is.
One way of doing that is by building your website with reliable page builders instead of plugins and third-party themes. For example, you can use the Elementor Basic theme and the Elementor premium plugin, which offer a wide range of functionalities. You can use them to create headers, footers, slideshows, forms, countdowns, price tables, etc., for which most WordPress website developers use multiple plugins. Finally, once you have a website created, make it a point to keep the theme and the plugins updated.
6. Secure the WP Config File
The wp-config file stores all the configurations of your WordPress site, so protecting it is paramount for the overall security of your website. You can do this by making a few changes that do not require advanced technical skills.
By default, the wp-config file is located in the root folder of your website, and all you need to do is log into the cPanel or WHM and elevate this file to a higher level. You can be sure that doing this will not affect the performance of your website in any way but hide the configuration file from attackers.
Suppose you plan to use the WordPress platform for your website. In that case, there’s no reason for you to worry because it is one of the most actively maintained open source content management systems that power up over 75 million websites. In addition, it is convenient and easy to manage, which means there is no reason for you to hire a web developer to design or maintain your website.
Despite all the good stuff, certain factors can jeopardize your website’s security, like plugins and themes from unreliable sources. Therefore, you must ensure that they are procured from reliable developers who release prompt updates. Always remember that a minimalistic website design is far better than a flashy site with security flaws. With this in mind, you need to plan WordPress security protocols for everyone who has access to the backend of your website.