According to this study, 73.2% of the most popular WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attacks. Surprisingly, the reason is not that WordPress is inherently unsafe.
WordPress is backed by one of the hardest-working and most innovative security teams in the industry. These IT pros tirelessly ensure that the platform is well maintained and secure for users.
You may be surprised to learn that vulnerabilities are often caused by WordPress site owners themselves, through either negligence or ignorance.
You as a site owner cannot afford to neglect your website’s security, and it’s really not difficult to set up a security plan that will protect your site’s integrity. There simply is no excuse!
Here are seven simple tricks that you can implement right now to make your WordPress site more secure:
1. Set up your website’s lockdown feature
Hackers trying to force their way into your site? Set up a lockdown feature that will lock your site after a certain number of failed login attempts.
If your site is bombarded by failed login attempts, you can set up your site to go on automatic lockdown. This feature will prevent the culprits from entering a username and password from the login area. You’ll also be instantly notified of the suspicious activity.
There are two interesting plugins that provide this feature. You can’t go wrong with either, to be honest.
2. Implement two-factor authentication
Require users to provide two different login details to prove their identity.
As a website owner, you can choose how to implement your two-factor authentication scheme, often a password followed by a secret code or a secret question.
One of the more popular ways to implement two-factor authentication is to use an app that will send a secret code directly to the user’s phone. That way only authorized users can gain permission to log in to the website.
Again, there are plugins that will help you set up this authentication feature, each with their pros and cons. Test them out first to determine the plugin that best fits your needs.
3. Change your password regularly
Frequently changing your password is one of the simplest ways to secure your website, as it limits security breaches to all your accounts.
If you haven’t been doing this with all of your accounts, you’re more vulnerable to getting attacked!
It’s very common for people to use only one password for all of their accounts. That means once a hacker gets hold of your password, he can quickly access everything.
When you change your password, don’t forget to strengthen it by using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
Using LastPass to store and save all your passwords can make things easier. Install this add-on on your browser to automatically fill out the login details of the site. You can also regenerate a strong random password for your website straight from the tool.
4. Secure your website’s wp-admin directory
The wp-admin directory is responsible for breathing life in to your website. Once it’s breached, your whole site will be compromised.
To prevent disaster, you can secure the wp-admin directory with a password. Consider implementing a two-factor authentication scheme that will protect both the login page and the WordPress admin area.
5. Limit your use of plugins
As useful and crucial as plugins are to the success of your WordPress site or blog, most WordPress hacking incidents are caused by a plugin.
That’s why you need to be vigilant when choosing WordPress plugins and themes to install.
I’ve suggested plugins you can use for your site, so obviously I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use them. Unless you can limit login attempts using lines of code, for instance, it’s still in your best interest to use plugins for your site.
However, use the fewest plugins possible for your WordPress website. When you have no use for plugins, or even themes, delete them from your database immediately.
Look for plugin-free alternatives that you can use to supercharge your site instead. For example, if you want to redirect pages on your site, learn how to edit your .htaccess file instead of installing a plugin.
6. Get an SSL certificate
An SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, certificate is another effective way to protect your website’s admin panel. SSL encrypts data, which secures the data transfer process between the server and users’ browsers.
When your site is protected by an SSL certificate, it becomes very challenging for hackers to access your information. The best thing about getting an SSL certificate is that you won’t have to rely on plugin installations to secure your website.
Some domain and hosting providers offer free SSL certification for your site. However, if they don’t, you’ll need to buy a certification and manually set it up. The steps in this post will show you how.
7. Back up your WordPress website regularly
The best way to protect your website from attacks is to prepare for the worst. At the end of the day, having an off-site backup will help you restore your WordPress website with minimal downtime. With just one click, you can get your website back up as if nothing happened.
Again, you can use a plugin that will create automatic backups for your site on a regular basis. One of the best ones on the market is UpdraftPlus. With the free version, you can manually save a copy of your site to the cloud. The premium version lets you create backups on a schedule, so you’ll be ready if worst comes to worst.
Website security is serious business. However, many solutions are a piece of cake to implement. Follow these tips and you’ll be doing your part to keeping your website safe, even when hackers attack.