If you are a WordPress website owner, you must be aware of the growing threat of cybercrime. There has been a 600% surge in cyberattacks globally since COVID-19.
This worries global ventures looking to make a name for themselves online. However, WordPress users can be less worried because they have one of the best (if not the best) platforms hosting their websites.
Having said that, WordPress, too, needs some level of support from your side to safeguard your website. Wondering why?
Well, let’s talk about that:
Why do users need WordPress security?
- Data protection
If hackers manage to breach your website and get a piece of your data, they can harm you in ransomware attacks, server crashes, identity theft, public data leaks, and whatnot.
WordPress security uses scanners and protocols that can contain attacks and do not allow hackers to slip through your website’s root directory.
- Customer expectations
If customers are investing their time, money, and effort in your website, they need their data’s safety assurance. Every customer wants to surf a safe website that takes care of their bank details, ID proofs, phone numbers, addresses, survey answers, etc.
Without SSL security protocols like single-domain certificates, multi-domain SSL certificates, wildcard SSL certificates, and web application firewalls, you won’t be able to protect your customer’s information optimally.
- Search engine rankings
As a business, you want to grow your website and rank it at the top of Google’s SERP. But how would you do that without security protocols like SSL certificates and proper UX designs?
A safe website is an ideal website, according to Google. Therefore, if you want to showcase your brand to a larger set of audience, website security is the first thing you need.
On that note, let us now look at the ten latest tips to prevent WordPress website hacking.
10 Tips to Prevent WordPress Website Hacking
Image Credit: Pixabay
- Find a Reliable Hosting Provider
If you are experiencing frequent downtime, slow response, and malicious attacks regularly, you must immediately change your web host.
Reliable web hosts have systems and processes in place to protect your website. They also provide backup options so that you do not lose any data during a cyberattack.
The fact is that not all web hosts are created equal. Therefore, choose your web host wisely.
- Watch out for malicious redirects.
Malicious redirects result from hackers injecting malicious scripts in a compromised website where a visitor (upon visiting that infected website) gets redirected to another site that deliberately injects malware into their system.
These attacks happen without the owner’s knowledge. They can never know how many visitors have been redirected from their website to other unsolicited destinations.
So, how can you prevent such attacks? Never install plugins from unsolicited sources; install a WAF or Web Application Firewall that can protect your website by blocking unsolicited traffic. Also, work on limiting employee access to key website areas like directories.
- Use the latest PHP version.
PHP is a website’s base. Therefore, if it is not updated to the latest version, its website will be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Every PHP version comes with two years of support. In other words, if you have updated to the latest PHP version (7.4), you can get security patches and bug-fixing updates for the next two years.
Anything below PHP 7.1 is susceptible to cyberattack. However, the latest report by WordPress shows that more than 57% of users are still using PHP version 5.6 or lower.
- Choose usernames and passwords wisely.
Lousy usernames and passwords can give direct entry to hackers into your website. They can shop on a user’s behalf, change passwords and steal sensitive user data like addresses, phone numbers, bank details, etc.
Therefore, ask your user base to enter strong usernames and passwords. Educate them about the repercussions of a weak password and how hackers can use brute-force attacks to try multiple password combinations to figure out the exact digits and numbers.
You can also employ tools like limiters that can block an IP address if multiple wrong attempts are made from it.
- Use the latest versions of themes, WordPress, and Plugins.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Software updates are purposefully issued to fix bugs and remove vulnerabilities. They ensure that your website stays protected while you do business.
If you use an outdated version of your CMS platform, then you are playing with danger. Wondering why?
Updates are issued only when a particular version is compromised or found vulnerable to suspicion. To remedy that, theme, CMS, and plugin companies issue bug fixes that help patch those vulnerabilities and prevent hackers from exploiting them.
That is why users are advised to always keep their software updated.
- Encrypt your data with SSL
There are plenty of ways through which hackers can steal your data. One such way is by intercepting your network connection.
Hackers can sit between the web server and the user’s web browser to see what data is passed through. For example, suppose a user is placing an order for an item and is entering their credit card number and delivery address. In that case, the hacker sitting in between can steal that data and use it against the user.
To remedy that, an SSL certificate is used. A Secure Socket Layer certificate is a protocol that encrypts data passing between a web server and a web browser through PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and SSL handshake. It prevents hackers from seeing and stealing data by passing it over a secure network.
If you are buying an SSL for a single domain, then a regular SSL would be enough, but if you are buying it to protect multiple subdomains attached to it, you would need to buy a wildcard SSL. You can buy wildcards at the lowest price. A low-cost or cheapest wildcard SSL certificate can secure the data and prevents data theft
The best part about an SSL is that it keeps you in the good books of both your customers and search engines. So, do not hesitate to buy the most important security protocol.
- WordPress security plugins
As the name suggests, WordPress security plugins are meant to protect your WordPress site. The question is, why do we need them in the first place?
Though WP plugins are not mandatory for any website, we still endorse them because of their effectiveness.
For example, you may not be able to regulate user activity, ensure password strength & timely changes, scan for viruses, block unsolicited IP addresses, reCAPTCHA verification, etc. WordPress Plugins like SecuPass, WordFence Security, Sucuri, and iThemes security help you ensure that.
- DDoS attacks
DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks are the over-flooding of internet traffic on a particular site to prevent people from visiting or accessing a website.
In these attacks, hackers target those devices that connect a website to the internet. For example, switches and routers.
You need traffic tracking security protocols like firewalls to detect such intrusions and restrict them to prevent these attacks. Also, you can use anti-malware software to detect any unusual behavior in the system and quarantine it.
DDoS attacks can be fatal as they keep your website shut and inject malware to steal user data.
- Disable all unnecessary features
Image Credits: Pixabay
If you haven’t used a plugin until now, chances are you won’t use it in the future. Therefore, it is best to disable and remove such plugins, as they can provide an entry gateway to hackers.
Unused plugins and features are often outdated because of their lack of active use. Therefore, they can pose some serious threats to website security.
Also, if you have error reporting enabled, you can be at risk because while troubleshooting and displaying errors, they also show different server paths. Hackers can intercept those server paths and determine where your website is vulnerable.
Therefore, disable them with immediate effect by integrating the following code in your wp-config.php file:
// Disable error reporting
- Backup your site
Most reliable hosting services also come with a backup feature where all your data gets backed up with the host.
However, it is best not to rely on someone to keep track of your data. It would help if you did it yourself by creating both on and off-site backup systems.
We recommend backing your data on cloud-based servers where your data can be kept safe and accessible anywhere. Also, you do not have to carry your hard drive everywhere, reducing its risk of theft and damage.
Cybercriminals have spared no one. From social media platforms to official government accounts, cybercriminals have tasted it all.
Therefore, we cannot undermine their strength just because we have a robust system like WordPress.
Every update is meant to be compromised, and developers work on fixing it afterward. The least we can do for data protection is keep our software, plugins, CMS platforms, and themes updated.
Since cyber trends are ever-changing, as website owners, we must also be versatile enough to change with them.
You can upgrade your security systems to fight today’s challenges by following these ten tips. So, integrate them into your website today.