One of the main fears owners of websites built on WordPress have is that their website will be hacked. Sadly, it seems hardly a week goes by when we see another news story about a corporate website being hacked and thousands or even millions of people’s data at risk or, worse, stolen.
Many of you reading this may not have data relating to users or customers, so you may think you are immune to hacking attempts. Unfortunately, you are mistaken.
Whilst it is when corporate websites are hacked that we usually hear about, do not think that because your website is simply a blog, for example, it is immune from hacking. Every website is a target for hackers and scam artists, so you must take your WordPress website’s security very seriously.
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Not all hacking criminals are large-scale and attack larger websites. Many are content to attack small websites and cause misery and mayhem for website owners, often for criminal financial gain.
This issue becomes greater when you realise multiple ways your WordPress website can be hacked, as outlined below.
- SQL Injections
- Brute Force Attacks
- Hosting Server Vulnerabilities
- Outdated Scripts
- Remote Code Execution
All pretty scary, eh? Well, it can be, but the good news is there are multiple ways to protect your WordPress website against all of these and the other methods that hackers might use to attack your website. The even better news is that none of them is challenging to implement and can often be set up with a few clicks of your mouse.
Better still, they are used by web designers and website security experts who also give these professional security tips to all their clients.
#1 – Ensure Your Passwords Are Strong
Hacking is often self-inflicted damage due to website owners being less than careful about the passwords they create to log in to their WordPress control panel. It beggars belief when you see passwords like ‘abcd, ‘123456’, or the worst, ‘password’.
The best way to create a password is to use either the suggestion WordPress gives you when you install it or choose your own with multiple letters, numbers, and special characters, which means there are so many possible combinations it would take tens of thousands of years to crack.
#2 – Use Two-Factor Authentication
You are likely to have already experienced two-factor authentication as many companies are now using it to enhance the security of their websites, especially those such as banks and other financial institutions.
It works by requesting a password to log in to your WordPress website. Still, you also have to give additional information, such as your mother’s maiden name, the make of your first car, or a secondary word or number, making it even more difficult for hackers to overcome, even if they use hacking software.
#3 – Limit The Number Of Login Attempts That Can Be Made
One of the techniques hackers use is sending a bot to try to log in to a WordPress website multiple times and to keep trying, given that it is unlikely to crack the password in the first few attempts.
However, you can stop them by limiting the number of attempts at logging in before your website refuses any further attempts. Ideally, make this two or three attempts just in case you make an error entering your password, as you do not want to be locked out of your website.
#4 – Install Proven Security Plugins
For many of the security functions and protections you need for your WordPress website, the easiest way to have them available is via installing and activating a security plugin.
These can be used to set up multiple security functions, making it highly improbable that hackers can access your site. However, ensure your security plugin has good reviews and is proven to offer natural protection for WordPress websites.
#5 – Remove Unused Themes And Plugins
We have just highlighted how plugins can play a positive role in protecting your website. However, there is another aspect of plugins that you have to be careful of. Hackers can often find vulnerabilities in plugins and exploit these on websites they are installed on. This is especially so with older plugins no longer supported by security updates.
That same problem also applies to older themes that can be an open goal for hackers. The best way to avoid them becoming a security risk is to uninstall all plugins and themes you no longer use.
#6 – Back Up Your Website Regularly
Although this professional security tip will not stop your website from being hacked, it can rescue your website and your business if it relies on your website, should the worst ever happen. If your website is attacked or compromised, you can resurrect it if you have been backing it up regularly.
By backing it up, you effectively create clones of your website each time. You can install them to replace the website affected by the hacking, but you must first identify and close the security weakness that allowed the hack.
#7 – Set WordPress Updates To Automatic
Our final professional security tip is probably the easiest to implement because it can be done once and is ‘set and forget’. We are talking about setting your website to automatically accept and install WordPress updates, even when you are not logged in.
WordPress regularly scans and checks for security weaknesses that may appear within its platform, and if it finds any, it will create a software update to fix it. You want these updates to install immediately, so we recommend setting them up automatically.