As the world’s most popular website-building platform and content management system, WordPress needs little introduction. Sadly, that’s also true for the internet’s less wholesome occupants. Sheer popularity has established WordPress as a key target for cybercriminals, its open-source nature making it ripe for exploitation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve WordPress security. They’re free, simple and often require nothing more than common sense. Here are ten of our favorites:
#1. Use two-factor login authentication.
Once you’ve created a website, ensure 2FA is needed to modify or edit it. From codes texted to your phone through to personal questions or any other method of authentication, 2FA should prevent unauthorized personnel sneaking in.
#2. Change the username from Admin.
This is the default name given by WordPress to the person in day-to-day charge of a site. Hackers will automatically enter Admin to see whether it works. It’s actually possible to ban attempts at logging in as Admin by installing the iThemes WordPress Security plugin.
#3. Improve passwords.
The most common password in America is still…you guessed it – password. A lengthy alphanumeric string containing a couple of random symbols will provide far greater security. Periodic changes aren’t a bad idea, and never use the same password for multiple accounts. Apps like LastPass mean you don’t have to memorize them all.
#4. Limit login attempts.
While the previous points should improve security, it’s still recommended to block brute force attacks by locking people out if they behave suspiciously. Automated bots might endlessly knock on the door and either drag your site offline or gain access – but not if five unsuccessful attempts trigger a shutdown.
#5. Update plugins.
Logging into WordPress should reveal a list of any plugins installed onto your website. With 56,000 currently in existence, there’s bound to be one or two in use. Plugins generally require manual approval to update (and hackers are adept at finding vulnerabilities in older plugins), so always install recommended updates.
#6. Delete unnecessary plugins.
It’s easy to get carried away installing plugins when developing a website. However, every additional piece of code requires downloading every time someone accesses the site. This extends loading times, which damages SEO performance. It also introduces unnecessary weaknesses across a site.
#7. Install dedicated software plugins.
This is one area where a plugin’s presence more than justifies any increase in page loading times. Leading WordPress security plugins include Sucuri, Jetpack and WordFence. Research their various features and merits on WP forums to establish which package best suits your requirements.
#8. Consider removing contact forms.
Web designers often incorporate these as a matter of routine. However, web forms are prone to bombardment by spam, brute force attacks and other nefarious activities. Assuming an email and phone number are on display, the benefits of these data capture fields might be outweighed by their drawbacks.
#9. Make data backups.
This is good housekeeping anyway, since accidents and crashes do happen. Having a full copy of page elements and code enables a website to be quickly reconstructed – potentially keeping a business online. A single mouse-click is enough to activate tools like VaultPress, restoring a previous version of a saved site.
#10. Use a reliable hosting company.
Our final WordPress security tip is close to our hearts, since Midphase specializes in hosting WP sites for just $2 per month. We’re able to provide ultra-fast page loading times for up to 100,000 monthly visitors, with dozens of optimized themes and up to 50 accompanying email accounts.
Visit Midphase today to start building your new WordPress website with all the tools and expertise you need to be successful.
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