For most business owners, packing up at the end of the night and leaving the door unlocked would be unthinkable. After all, giving strangers easy access to valuable files and data – not to mention the new Nespresso! – seems like a pretty universally terrible idea.
By the same logic, neglecting the security of a WordPress site can have equally disastrous consequences. And, unlike the systematic process of physically locking up at night, website security is more often overlooked – especially for businesses which may have limited resources. If you’re not working with a WordPress development company, you might not have thought about WordPress security at all.
Why Should You Care?
Leaving your site vulnerable to hackers can put sensitive user information and data at risk of being stolen, not to mention risk leaving you locked out of your own website. Another increasingly common problem is hackers installing malicious software or distributing malware to your users.
Not only is this hazardous to your employees, clients and site users, but Google regularly blacklists hundreds of thousands of sites on a weekly basis for malware and phishing. If your site gets blacklisted, it won’t show up in Google’s search results, which can be devastating.
This brings us back to the importance of WordPress security and how you can improve your own. Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Back up your website regularly
In the event of a major breach or server malfunction, this is one of the best – and quickest – ways to restore the information on your site. There are many WordPress backup plugins you can choose from, some of which are paid for and some of which are free. To make the most of your backups, make sure you regularly do a site-wide backup and save it externally (e.g. to a cloud-based service separate from your own hosting environment). This is a pretty simple function, but a qualified WordPress development company can easily set up backups that are frequent and automatic.
2. Choose strong passwords and limit login attempts
Many business owners find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of login IDs and passwords they have to remember, so they compensate by using passwords that are duplicates or simple. Unfortunately, WordPress intrusions are most commonly performed with stolen passwords. The good news? There are several ways you can remember your passwords, no matter how many you’re tasked with setting up. Try a password manager (like LastPass) or storing them in an encrypted file (with one supreme password). To boost your WordPress security even more, it’s best to use unique passwords for things like WordPress admin, your hosting account and your corporate email address.
You can also enable your WordPress site to limit login attempts, which will prevent hackers from systematically using different password combinations to gain access. After a certain number of login attempts, the user will be locked out. You can do this by installing plugins such as Wordfence or Login LockDown.
3. Install a firewall
Much like it sounds, a web application firewall prevents malicious or questionable web traffic from reaching your website in the first place. There are several WAF providers in the market, including Sucuri, although any reliable WordPress development company can discuss the pros, cons and bonus features of each firewall option.
4. Disable file editing
By default, WordPress is set to allow anyone with admin the ability to edit theme files and core files. If a hacker were to actually make it into your WordPress admin panel, changing or accessing your files could be easy yet disastrous. You can, however, prevent anyone from editing files by simply opening your configuration settings and adding a short line of code. Sound intimidating? Your WordPress development company can help you make this quick change.
5. Learn to love WordPress updates
Update notifications are a pain, but updates are crucial to your site’s security. Sites operating with outdated versions are more susceptible to hackers and data breaches, which are far more of a headache. Luckily, most of these updates are done automatically, but if in doubt, you can check the status of your WordPress version on the bottom of your dashboard. You can also check for plugin updates on the Plugins page.
Want to chat about how we can help boost your company’s WordPress security? Get in touch with our team today – after all, WordPress Security & Maintenance is one of our specialties.