How to Secure WordPress?
At present, WordPress provides more themes, plug-ins, and customization option that other widely used content management systems. The developers can further build, maintain, and update WordPress-powered websites without putting extra time and effort. But the massive popularity of the content management system (CMS) makes it vulnerable to a variety of security attacks. Some of these security vulnerabilities are from WordPress Core, whereas others are from WordPress themes and plug-ins. Hence, it becomes essential for you to protect your website from various WordPress security issues and threats.
WordPress Security Best Practices to Keep Your Website and Data Secure
Stay up to date
WordPress is an open-source content management system, which is regularly patched and updated by its developers. These updates are crucial for your website security and stability. If you failed to update your WordPress site for an extended period, you would open yourself up to a lot of vulnerabilities, and most hackers target outdated WordPress sites. You can download latest WordPress from wordpress.org, and always make sure that your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are up to date.
Implement Two-Factor Authentication
In addition to using strong passwords, you also need to manage the passwords efficiently to keep your account login secure. At the same time, it is also important to implement two-factor authentication to ensure that the website is not accessed by any unauthorized person. Initially, the users may find two-factor authentication annoying. But you can protect the WordPress-powered website consistently by implementing two-factor authentication.
Change WordPress Security Keys Regularly
Once a user or commentator logs in, WordPress verify his identity through cookies. But WordPress enhances the website’s security through secret authentication security keys and salts. The security keys and salts are stored as a random string of data in the wp-config.php file. The hackers often find it difficult to break the security keys and salts. You still need to change the security keys and salts at regular intervals to add an extra layer of security to the WordPress-powered website.
Setup WordPress File and Directory Permissions
WordPress allows webmasters to set custom file permissions and directory permissions. You can set the appropriate file permissions to specify who can read, write, or execute a specific file. Likewise, you also have the option to set directory permission to prevent unauthorized users from reading, writing, or executing specific directories. It is always a good idea to set file permission between 400 and 444, and directory permission between 700 and 744.
Use SFTP instead of FTP
You must use SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) instead of (File Transfer Protocol) FTP to transfer data more securely. While configuring the website, you need to ensure that the files are edited only over SFTP. As FTP transfers data between two remote connections in text format, it becomes easier for the hacker to access and manipulate data during transmission. Unlike FTP, SFTP transfers data between two remote connections privately using the SHH2 protocol. Hence, it becomes difficult for hackers to access or manipulate sensitive information during transmission.
Install SSL Certificates
In addition to using SFTP for data transmission, you also need to ensure that the web server and web browser exchange information over HTTPS. When the web server and browser interact over HTTP, it becomes easier for hackers to access sensitive information. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS makes it difficult for hackers to decipher data in transit by implementing encryption. You can even install Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificates for each WordPress-powered website to ensure that make the web server and browser exchange data through a secure tunnel.
Evaluate WordPress Themes and Plug-ins consistently
The themes and plug-ins help you to build custom websites rapidly. But the themes and plug-ins also affect the security of WordPress-powered websites directly. It is always important to assess the security of individual WordPress themes and plug-ins at the time of selection. Also, you must update the themes and plug-ins frequently to repair vital bugs and leverage security patches. It even becomes difficult for hackers to access the website through WordPress themes and plug-ins when you update them proactively.
Keep the Database Secure
In addition to protecting the WordPress-powered website from security attacks, you also need to explore ways to secure the data and information stored in the database. It is always important to keep the database secure by using strong passwords and changing passwords regularly. Also, you can easily prevent SQL injection attacks by changing the default wp- prefix for database tables. However, you still need to backup the website resources and data on a daily basis to restore the website immediately after a cyber attack.
On the whole, hackers use innovative techniques to infiltrate WordPress-powered websites. But the security team behind WordPress releases security patches proactively to combat the security vulnerabilities. You must keep WordPress up-to-date and install the security patches immediately. At the same time, it is also important to evaluate the security of your WordPress-powered website at regular intervals by performing elaborate security and penetration testing.