The WordPress CMS empowers the web to a considerable extent. Whether it is a blog or eCommerce site, an agency or a small business owner, we depend on the WordPress CMS to create beautiful websites. In this article, we will consider 13 methods with which you can secure the wonderful website creations from hackers.
01. Usernames can be the catch
Most WordPress website owners have ‘Admin’ as the name for the user who has the entire creation, modification and deletion controls. It is a highly naïve action which underestimates the brilliance of the hackers whose full-time job is to find ways to hack sites.
The moment they decide to hack a site, the first thing they try to gain control of the Admin control. When you have Admin as the user name, you are giving them the permission to hack the account without any difficulty.
If you want to retain the word Admin for your Admin access, do so by combining capital letters with small ones and in many other ways possible. After all, you own a WordPress site and so know how to do this.
02. Complicate the passwords
The simple logic behind passwords is – it is enough if you know your password. The more complicated the password are, the tougher the life of the hackers. It is a fact that you are going to set your passwords with some logic like your children’s date of birth or the date of the first meeting with your loved one etc.
When you have options to complicate the passwords, why not use the same to make the hackers run from pillar to post?
Just create a password that is alphanumeric and tough to decipher by other non-related sources. Avoid having meaningful words as passwords to escape from dictionary hack. Ensure the password is easy for you to remember but tough for the hackers to decode.
Avoid keeping open secret passwords like ‘password’, ‘123456’ and such others. Many tools like ‘Random Password Generator’ or ‘Strong Password Generator’ will help you set a secure password for your WordPress website.
03. Dual authentication login
The login credentials offered for a service can be a two-factor authenticated one. It can be a string of numbers that are disposable. Dropbox, Apple iCloud and Google offer Dual Authentication Login to its users as extra security measures.
It is a highly recommended way to increase the security levels of your WordPress site. Many kinds of plugins are available for implementing Double Authentication Login security for your WordPress website. While Rublon provides a dual authentication login acting as an E-Mail based plugin, Clef provides the same through the camera on your phone.
04. Remove wrong login information
Whenever we make a mistake while logging in as Admin into our WordPress website, we get intimated by the security system that we have made a mistake either with our login name or password. We just ignore this message, type the correct details and proceed with our work.
However, such error information gives hackers information to use for hacking. Ensure such information is disabled through PHP script functions, which will disallow the hackers from accessing the information.
This is one of the important steps to be taken since WordPress does not lay any limitations on guessing the login or password. Many plugins are available for protecting this aspect. Some such plugins are Jetpack Protect, Limit Login Attempts and Login Lockdown. Install any of these plugins and safeguard your website in this aspect.
05. Downloading plugins for your website
With millions of WordPress sites ramming the World Wide Web, forty thousand plus plugins are available to add value to the same. Many plugins give special advantages to the WordPress websites. Owing to the same, WordPress website owners tend to download plugins that they feel would be useful for their sites.
Hackers exploit this tendency of site owners. They create plugins just to attract the website owners and hack the site when the same are downloaded. Downloaded plugins for WordPress sites only from reliable sources after understanding about the genuineness of the source in a complete manner.
06. Protecting WordPress website is a continuous activity
Working on the security measures for protecting the WordPress site from getting hacked is not a onetime activity. It is a continuous and ongoing commitment. One way of doing this is to have the file versions updated periodically.
One of the main advantages of having a WordPress website is that automatic installation of updates keeps happening in a periodical manner. The only update of specific plugins and extra requirements need to be done manually through FTP or Dashboard. Hackers find it difficult to hack a WordPress website whose file versions are regularly updated.
07. Trackbacks must be periodically disabled
Many of the contents in websites link or ping back to external links from other sources. This is a major boon for hackers who hack WordPress sites through what is technically termed as (DDoS) Denial of Service Attack.
Hackers make the best use of other WordPress sites which are maintained in a ‘so-called’ clean manner to hack your site doing dirty tricks. Disabling trackbacks or pingbacks can be done by un-checking the ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” option in the discussion tab in Settings.
08. Limit access to your files and folders
All WordPress websites have many files stored in folders. Each of these files and folders is given the basic protection from getting hacked through access controls. Access Controls for files and folders help assess the creation, modification and deletion rights of people involved in a precise manner.
Usually, a three-digit numeral code is assigned to refer to the kinds of rights assigned. Setting up these three digit codes plays a crucial role in the hacking of WordPress websites. Assigning number 755 for Folders and 644 for Files is one of the safety measures that will save your folders and files from getting hacked. Avoid assigning 777 for any of your folders or files since they may be hacked easily when this number is assigned.
09. Measures about Directory Browsing
The chances of the WordPress website getting hacked is more when the installed plugins and themes are accessible to anyone externally. Checking if this public access is enabled or disabled periodically will ensure higher levels of safety of the WordPress website. This is the goal of this whole exercise.
10. Regular updating of all related components
Updating all files, folders, themes, and plugins in a periodical manner are the best possible step taken towards protecting a WordPress website. Not updating the components acts as one of the major reason for the same to get hacked. Hackers find it easy to hack a WordPress website whose components are not updated on a regular basis.
11. Regularly remove themes and plugins that are no more in use
Maintenance is an important activity that will save your WordPress website from getting hacked by hackers. Unused plugins and themes act as an outdated add-on in the WordPress website increasing the vulnerability of the site. Perform plugin audits in fixed periodicities and remove the unwanted and unused ones immediately.
12. Backing up the WordPress website
While backing up the WordPress website is just an extra measure to safeguard the contents of the site, it also falls under a security measure. It will protect the owner from losing the website totally in the event of external invasion through hackers.
13. Awareness about attacks
Tracking the history to understand the activities happening from an installation point of view helps in identifying the attacks waged on the WordPress CMS by external forces. To enable clear understanding about the activities that increases the vulnerability of WordPress website, many web tools as well as plugins are available. A couple of tools available for monitoring malware installation in the WordPress site are WP Security Audit Log and Sucuri Security.
Perfect security systems are an impractical thing to think about since all that the word security on websites means risk reduction and not total risk elimination. When decent levels of controls are exercised across risky areas, the risk of your website getting hacked is reduced. Adapt all or a combination of activities given above and safeguard your WordPress website at all points of time.