How to Keep Your WordPress Installation Secure

WEB DEVELOPMENT | August 11, 2017

If you have not yet taken the right steps to make your WordPress site as secure as possible, it is time to start now with these informative suggestions.

1. Update your website regularly

WP updates not only improve search results on Google News but they also fix bugs, patch the security loopholes, and introduce brand-new features. While, WordPress cannot outsmart the hackers always, it makes patches available whenever it encounters security breaches. You should implement them immediately with themes and plug-ins. Some people feel that WP updates, disrupt functionality of plug-in or break theme but remember theme disruption is bound to occur when hackers infect your website with encrypted codes. Also, it is most important to get plug-ins because an absence of regular updates might break with WP updates. Enable the automatic updates first introduced with WordPress 3.7. By default, minor releases for security and maintenance will be available and sometimes themes and plug-ins as well. With the right coding strategy, you can enable the core updates for WP.

2. Disable plugin & theme editor in WordPress admin

Secure WP by disabling the file editor related to admin panel. By default, the Dashboard facilitates edit of PHP files by administrators such as the theme and the plug-in files. Attackers use this tool first for login as this facilitates code execution. WP contains constants for disabling editing from dashboard. Addition of the appropriate code to wp-config.php removes edit files, themes and plugins capabilities for all users.

3. Protect files & directories using .htaccess

One of the proven methods of securing WP websites is the use of .htacess. Protect your folders and files using this. For securing wp-config.php move this file to directory above the WP install. For sites installed within webspace root, store the wp-config.php file outside web-root folder. You can store this file ONE level of directory above WP installation. Ensure that only you have the authorization to read the file possible through 440 or 400 permission. With .htaccess server put this within that file present at very top. This will deny anyone surfing access to this.

When needed you can add the second protection layer than the wind you do not want any user to access their scripts. You can block the scripts with mod_rewrite within .htaccess file. This however does not work with Multisites.

4. Use a firewall

Use any one of the available plug-ins to secure WordPress using firewalls. The most popular among these is Wordfence boasting of active 1 million+ installs. It provides website security via malware scan, firewall, login security, blocking, and live traffic among others. You can use any one of the security plug-ins available for WP such as BulletProof Security, iThemes Security, and Sucuri Security.

5. Use backup solutions

WP databases contain all the comments, links, and the posts associated with the blogs. In case of accidental erasing or corruption of data, one loses everything written. Most often one cannot control any such thing and only way to remain secure is frequent backup of files and databases that will restore normalcy quickly. Regular backup of databases must and especially prior to upgrades. The frequency of the backup will depend upon the frequency of blog writing. One should keep 3 backups minimum in 3 different forms or places as their DVDs/CDs, hard drives, web disk, e-mail account, thumb drives, and more. This way, you can prevent problems even when there is corruption or damage to single backup. Many backup plug-ins are available today, such as, BackWPup Free, Duplicator, Updraft Plus, XCloner, and WP-DB-Backup.

6. Use strong passwords

Using strong passwords effectively secure habits, you can avoid potential vulnerabilities. People should find it difficult to get the password and even the brute attacks should not gain easy access. These days, you can make the most of password automatic generators were secure password creation. WP contains strength meter for password so that you understand how strong a password is. It should have adequate strength. Try to avoid permutations of username, real name, website name, company name, short passwords, dictionary words alphabetic or numeric only password.

Hackers are going to install simile a script to compromise the entire server once they gain access. The only way to stop them is the use of strong passwords.

7. Reduce plugin usage

More number of plug-ins than needed compromises website security, performance, and speed too. It is better to delete plug-ins not needed for the functioning of the site. With a few plug-ins access for the hackers also becomes limited. They exploit loopholes within plug-in file to serve their purpose. Whenever a new update is available, use that and enable automatic update. Use of custom code is better than plug-ins. The installation of security plug-ins in WordPress will not do but you have to use only the latest WordPress version and theme/plug-in files.

8. Protect your WordPress admin access

It is never difficult for the hackers to find the admin username associated with your WordPress site from the blog posts and elsewhere; so just changing the admin user, default name during WP installation process is not enough. It is more important to disguise site usernames having admin access with strong password protection. The ultimate step to take for security is the use of Yubikey login. This way, even when the hackers get the password to username having admin access they cannot login without the Yubikey. This is in a form of USB insertion during login time.

9. Monitor for malware

Constant monitoring of the website is most important for the presence of malware. The monitor method is also quite important and it should involve diving into file structure for detection of deep breaches instead of simple identification of vulnerability points.

With these tips, you will have the essential WordPress security in place. If you still not sure how to secure your WordPress installation then contact us to talk to our expert WordPress developer.

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