Security, WordPress

WordPress Security Guide – Step by Step (2023)

wordpress ssecurity guide

Security is an essential topic for every WordPress website owner. Each day, Google blacklists more than 10,000 websites for malware and over 50,000 for phishing.

To maintain a secure website, it is crucial to follow WordPress security best practices. Here are some essential WordPress security tips to help you keep your website safe from hackers and malware.

The WordPress core software is highly secure and undergoes regular audits by hundreds of developers. However, there are additional measures you can take to ensure the security of your site.

At WordPressDevelopmentAgency, we believe that security involves not only eliminating risk but also reducing it. Even if you lack technical skills, you can still improve your WordPress security as a website owner.

To protect your website from security vulnerabilities, we provide several recommended actions you can take.

Why is website security important?

A hacked WordPress site can cause severe damage to your business revenue and reputation. In addition to stealing user information and passwords, hackers can install malicious software and distribute malware to your users.

In some cases, you may be forced to pay ransomware to hackers just to regain access to your website.

According to Google, more than 50 million website users have been warned about visiting websites that may contain malware.

Every week, Google blacklists approximately 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing.

Security is particularly crucial if your website represents a business.

As an online business owner, it is your responsibility to protect your website just as you would protect your physical store building.

Updating WordPress

WordPress is an open-source software that is regularly maintained and updated. Minor updates are automatically installed by WordPress by default, while major releases require manual updating.

WordPress offers thousands of plugins and themes that can be installed on your website. The developers of these plugins and themes regularly release updates to keep them up to date.

The security and stability of your WordPress site depend on these updates. Make sure your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are always up to date.

Strong Passwords and User Permissions

The most common method of hacking WordPress is through the use of stolen passwords. You can make this harder by using strong passwords that are unique to your website. This applies to the WordPress admin area, FTP accounts, database, WordPress hosting account, and custom email addresses associated with your site’s domain name.

Creating passwords that are difficult to remember can be a challenge for many beginners. Fortunately, passwords no longer need to be memorized as password managers can be quite useful. Learn how to manage WordPress passwords in our guide.

You can further reduce the risk by not granting anyone access to your WordPress admin account unless it is absolutely necessary. Before adding new user accounts and authors to your WordPress site, make sure you understand the roles and capabilities of users and authors.

WordPress Hosting: Its Importance

Your WordPress hosting service plays a crucial role in ensuring WordPress security. Shared hosting providers like Bluehost and Siteground implement additional measures to safeguard their servers.

A reliable web hosting company operates in the background to protect your website and data.

They continually monitor their network for any suspicious activity.

A reputable hosting company will have tools in place to prevent large-scale DDoS attacks.

To prevent hackers from exploiting known security vulnerabilities in outdated versions, they regularly update their server software, PHP versions, and hardware.

In case of a major disaster, they have prepared disaster recovery and contingency plans.

As shared hosting plans involve multiple customers sharing server resources, there is a risk of cross-site contamination, where a hacker can attack your website through a neighboring site.

Your website is more secure when hosted on a managed WordPress hosting service. Managed WordPress hosting companies offer automatic backups, automatic updates, and advanced security configurations to protect your website.

WordPress Security Made Easy (No Coding Required)

Improving WordPress security can be daunting for beginners, particularly those who are not tech-savvy. Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Thousands of WordPress users have benefitted from our security hardening services.

You can enhance the security of your WordPress site with just a few clicks.

It’s as simple as point-and-click!

WordPress Security Plugins

After backing up your website, we need to set up an auditing and monitoring system.

This process includes monitoring file integrity, detecting failed login attempts, and scanning for malware.

You can accomplish all these tasks using the Sucuri Scanner, the best free WordPress security plugin.

Make sure to install and activate the Sucuri Security plugin.

Once the plugin is activated, go to the Sucuri menu in your WordPress admin. Start by creating a free API key. This will enable important functions such as auditing, integrity checking, and email alerts.

Navigate to the ‘Hardening’ tab in the settings menu. Select all the available options and click “Apply Hardening.”

These options will help secure the key areas that hackers often target. For now, you can skip the Web Application Firewall, as it requires a paid upgrade.

In addition to the plugin method, we have also covered many of these “Hardening” options in this article for those who prefer to perform them manually or require additional steps like changing the Admin Username or database prefix.

After completing the hardening process, the default plugin settings are usually sufficient for most websites. We recommend customizing only the ‘Email Alerts’ settings.

Using the default alert settings may result in a high volume of emails. We suggest configuring alerts for critical actions such as plugin changes and new user registrations. You can adjust these alerts under Sucuri Settings » Alerts.

Feel free to explore the various tabs and settings to discover the plugin’s additional features, including malware scanning, audit logs, and tracking failed login attempts, among others.

Activate the Web Application Firewall (WAF).

By utilizing a web application firewall (WAF), you can ensure the security of your WordPress site.

Firewalls serve as a barrier, preventing malicious traffic from reaching your website.

DNS-Level Website Firewall: These firewalls direct website traffic through cloud proxy servers, ensuring that only genuine traffic reaches your web server.

Application-Level Firewalls: These plugins inspect traffic upon reaching your server, before most WordPress scripts are loaded. However, reducing server load with this method is less effective compared to DNS-level firewalls.

In addition to the firewall, Sucuri also offers malware cleanup and blacklist removal services. They provide a guarantee to restore your website (regardless of its size) if it is compromised under their protection.

This warranty is quite strong, considering that the cost of repairing hacked websites can reach $250 per hour when hiring security experts. For $199 per year, you can avail the complete Sucuri security stack.

With the Sucuri Firewall, you can enhance the security of your WordPress site.

DNS-level firewalls are not the only option available.

Move Your WordPress Site to SSL/HTTPS

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypts data transfers between your website and the user’s browser, ensuring that information cannot be intercepted and stolen.

Enabling SSL involves your website using HTTPS instead of HTTP, and a padlock icon will be displayed by your browser next to your website address.

SSL certificates are available at various price points, ranging from $80 to hundreds of dollars per year, and they are issued by certificate authorities. However, many website owners continue to use the insecure HTTP protocol due to additional costs.

To address this issue, a non-profit organization called Let’s Encrypt provides free SSL certificates. Their project is supported by major entities such as Google Chrome, Facebook, Mozilla, and others.

Implementing SSL on WordPress websites is now easier than ever. Numerous hosting companies offer free SSL certificates for WordPress websites.

Conclusion

Maybe now you understand the critical importance of maintaining the security of your WordPress site and how to achieve it. If you require further assistance, WordPressDevelopmentAgency is here to help. We are a reliable company with a team of experienced specialists who excel in WordPress web design, development, site management, issue resolution, and security.

Want to discuss a project?

Contact us and our specialists will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.