WordPress is a free CMS.
Yes, we love it for that. But the hidden cost is the critical vulnerabilities. Most of the cases, this platform is safe and well-secured, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be hacked. WP is an open-source platform, making it vulnerable to being hacked.
At the end of the day- the site is the bread & butter for most of us (bloggers & marketers).
So, it does matter.
Let’s Learn How to Secure WordPress Site without a plugin and make it a priority.
Is WordPress Safe? Here’s What the Data Says
WordPress is one of the safest content management systems.
No doubt about it.
Yet, this is the platform hackers love most. Wordfence and WPScan took a joint initiative to analyze the cyberattacks in WordPress. They were stunned by the report. Here is a sneak peek of what they found……
Over 86 billion password attack attempts are blocked in the opening half of 2021.
At the same time, let’s not forget 43% of websites available are built with WP. Still, such attempts are high when considering the market share of WordPress.
We often overlook the security system. As a result, our WP site become susceptible to attacks like,
• Hijacking the site
• Malware injection
• And many more
And the result? 8 out of 10 WP sites have security risks, as per the WPScan report. Got the answer How safe is a website on WordPress?
Now, let’s make one thing clear.
With these numbers, don’t assume that these are WP’s fault. You are the responsible user who can strengthen the Security of your WP site by following different techniques.
The safety partially depends on you.
The website’s Security is all about minimizing the risk of potential attacks. You can’t eliminate the risk, as potential attacks will always exist. The WP site security management system is damn simple if the right steps are taken at the correct time.
So, Why Does WordPress Security Matter?
Hackers don’t consider whether your website belongs to small businesses.
In reality, a successful hack breaks the heart of every site owner. A hacked website will lose its traffic, visitors, and valuable earnings. For this reason, ensuring your WP website’s Security is important. Here are a few reasons why WP security matters.
1. Google loves Well-Secured Websites
Google doesn’t usually send visitors to a hacked or compromised website.
And The reason is pretty obvious…..
Google cares about users’ Security and safety. So, they keep Security as one of the ranking factors. So, if a website focuses on it, getting a higher rank becomes easier than other sites.
For example, Google prefers those websites that use SSL-certificate. Also, this search engine sends more traffic to HTTPS-enabled websites.
2. It’s also a Mirror of the Brand’s Reputation
Confidential customer data and information can be lost due to data breaches on WP sites.
So, it puts a big question mark on the overall trust of your brand. Potential customers and visitors won’t want to browse your website because of security risks.
So the silver lining?
If you want to maintain a good value of your brand reputation, ensure the Security of your website.
3. WP Security Prevents Revenue Loss
Compromising about securing your WP website?
Well, on the flip side of the coin, you’re actually losing loyal customers. They might switch your competitors as they ensure customer security. When it happens, you will surely lose traffic and revenue.
This is especially true for e-commerce websites.
If your e-commerce website is not protected, you will notice a loss in conversion and revenue as customers won’t order anything from your website.
4. Most importantly…….Your Customer Expects It
Let’s simplify things.
Your visitor expects your website to be well-secured. This is a fundamental requirement of a visitor.
You have to earn this trust.
By ensuring reliable and secure browsing on your website, your business opens the door to growth. Also. It returns a positive impact.
Understanding the Security Issues for WordPress….
WP security is one of the vital concerns of website owners. Understanding the security issues can help them keep the WP sites safe. Here I shared the common types of cyberattacks on WordPress sites.
1. Brute Force Attack
A brute Force Attack means several try-and-error approaches to determine the website’s username and password.
Hackers usually use innovative algorithms and modern dictionaries to guess the password. They use bots that try thousands of password combinations every second to get unauthorized access to a WordPress website.
It is one of the popular attacks, and executing such an attack is challenging. By default, WP doesn’t block a user who attempts to log into a website using the wrong username or password unless you give any instructions.
2. SQL Injection
The oldest hacking methods for hacking!
It wrecks the website database using any input field.
After successful unauthorized access, a hacker manipulates the MySQL database and probably gains access to the admin of your WP site. Then change the credentials of the site for further damage.
Mediocre or amateur hackers execute such attacks. They test their hacking capability with this old method.
Already Heard of this multiple times, right?
Yeah, it’s quite common now. Hackers inject malware into a WordPress site via an outdated theme, plugins, or script. This code extracts information from your website and injects malicious data.
This data can destroy your website and go overlooked for its discreet nature.
However, on-time action can help you save your website from malware attacks. Otherwise, it can damage your website severely. Often, you may need to reinstall your whole WP site since the core of your site is affected. It increases hosting expenses as you need to transfer large amounts of data.
4. Cross-site Scripting
Hotlinking happens when another website shows embedded content.
In this case, the website is hosted on your WP site without permission. As a result, the embedded content is a part of your website.
In such attacks, hackers try to find a hole in your website’s Security. Hackers usually monitor the below things to locate the security hole.
- Outdated Versions of the WP: Sometimes, WP releases updates of new versions to minimize the risk of vulnerabilities. After the release, WP’s old versions became the target of hackers. In this case, keeping your website updated is a must.
- Third-Party Plugin: WP security beaches mostly occur because of the 3rd party plugins. Add-ons are crucial to a website, as some plug-ins increase your site functionality. So, not keeping any plug-ins at all on your website is impractical. Just be remindful not to install unnecessary add-ons on your website. Third parties create the add-ons and generally have access to the website’s backend. Plug-ins are a common channel to damage the functionality of your site.
- Theme: Yes, you are reading right. WP themes can open up your website for cyberattacks. However, it occurs mostly when your website has an outdated theme. An old theme is incompatible with the latest version of the WP. As a result, hackers can get easy access to your website’s source files. It would always be best to research before installing a theme for your WP website.
6. DDoS Attack
Are you experiencing floods of traffic on your website?
Most probably, your website has a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Thus, your website may crash. Attackers carry out DDoS attacks by using an infected computer network. You can also call it a “botnet.”
WordPress Security Guide: How to Secure WordPress Site from Hackers
I divided the best practices into 2 categories: basic and advanced.
Basic methods are suitable for beginners and DIY users. Advanced practices are only for those who only get their hand dirty on the coding and SEO stuff.
1. Strong Login Procedures can go a Long Way
Hackers’ favorite method!!
They try to get unauthorized access to your WP site. So, to keep your site safe, the fundamental step is to ensure strong login procedures.
How do I make my WordPress site secure? Here are a few tips for you.
- Strong Password is the Key: Unfortunately, most site owners still use generic passcode like “123456” for their WP site. Such passwords are damn easy, and hackers can break them within a few seconds. Ensuring a strong password is mandatory.
So, what combination do you use for your site password? I recommend creating a passcode using upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters. This, your site password will be extremely strong. Write down the password in your diary to get them when you forget. You can get help from a password manager to generate a strong password.
- Avoid Giving the Username “admin”: Did you give your site username “admin”? Change it without being late. Use a different and uncommon username for your site administrator account.
- Limit Login Attempts: Secure your site by limiting login attempts. If an attacker fails to put the login information correctly several times, your site CMS will protect itself. And the good news is. There are WordPress security plugins for such a job.
- Captcha can be handy: Already seen Captcha on many websites, right? This simple security feature ensures whether the visitor is a person or a suspicious bot.
- Activate Auto-logout: The auto-login feature will be especially helpful if you log in from any public place or device. It will prevent strangers from snooping on your site CMS if you accidentally forget to log out. All you need to do is install the Inactive Logout Plugin.
2. A Safe WP Hosting can keep you Worry-free
Safe hosting is more important than you think.
That’s because it is related to everything- even Security.
Before signing in, check what the hosting provider’s steps are if your WP site is hacked. This is because a lot of files are stored on the hosting. Prompt recovery service is important if anything bad happens accidentally. Research the hosting provider’s services first, then choose a hosting accordingly.
3. Don’t be lazy to Update the WP Version On-time
Is WP software outdated?
It’s like a bomb.
Outdated WP software carries a high risk of security breaches. So, Don’t be late to update the latest version. This will not just eliminate potential vulnerabilities but also will make your site fast.
But first caution……
Before updating the latest version, ensure backing up your website.
4. Update the PHP Version
First, allow me to tell you to want PHP is (in case you have heard the term for the first time) ….
It is a programming and scripting language and like a key WP player. When another updated PHP came on the market, the older version carried a lot of bugs and made it vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Updating the PHP version is the easiest way to get rid of it.
Usually, you will receive a notification in your dashboard if there are any updates. Then, upgrade the PHP version by logging into your hosting account.
Though currently, PHP version 8.0 is the most updated one, ensuring it’s at least 7.4. Most of the hosting provides this update, but you must check whether the PHP version is updated or not.
5. Leverage the plugins to secure the site
The good news is that there are many free security plugins for WordPress.
But make sure that they are authentic.
How does the security plugin work? These plugins are much more efficient in guaranteeing the security-related manual tasks, including,
• Resetting or restoring the WP site
• Altering susceptible source files
• Securing your website content from theft
FURTHER READING: Secure Your Website with These Top WordPress Security Plugins
6. A Secured WP Theme is a must
You can’t install any WordPress theme for your website.
The reason is all WP themes are not built following the same quality and security system. Whatever WP theme you choose for your site, the theme must meet the WP standards.
So, how to know the WP requirements?
Copy the URL of your website and paste it into the W3C’s validator. Is your theme maintaining the standards of WP? If not, browse WordPress Theme Directory and look for a new theme.
7. Turn on HTTPS/SSL
Enabled SSL is vital for every WP site.
The responsibility of the Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is to encrypt connections between your website visitor’s browser and the website. So, How do I secure my WordPress site with HTTPS?
Just Adding SSL!
It will significantly increase SEO performance. At the same time, it gives a good impression to the visitor. If your website doesn’t turn on SSL/HTTPS, a Google Chrome user will get a notification that a specific website lacks SSL. Consequently, it can reduce website traffic greatly.
8. Shielding your site with Firewall
Not all the incoming traffic is good.
Yeah, very few people talk about this, but it’s true. Here a firewall comes in handy. It will efficiently prevent unauthorized access to your website.
So how does it work?
In plain words, Firewall controls the malicious activity detected between your networks and other networks. It’s equally handy for WP sites.
9. Keep a Backup of Your Website (bcoz who knows the future?)
Hacking is not a joke.
You can lose all the data of your website when your website is hacked. Let’s leave the risk of unexpected updates.
As keeping Backup is so effortless nowadays, why won’t you take advantage?
Generally, your website hosting provider works for you; if not, then do this immediately. By ensuring backup, you can easily regain access to your website.
10. Periodic WP Security Scans can make a world of difference
Don’t tell me you neglect Routine checkups.
Please, Plan to check your website’s condition once a month. If you’re a couch person and delay it for laziness, Fortunately, you can hand over this task to a few security plugins now. These plugins are designed to ensure security checkups for you.
11. Delete the Default WP Admin Account ASAP
Ok, I know I have mentioned this before.
Again, this is because it is really important. Changing the default WP admin account as soon as possible will be better.
12. Hide the Version of Your WP
You’ve no idea how much this task will affect the vulnerabilities of your site.
When Hackers are unable to know your site’s WP version, it will be super hard for them to access the barrier. You can remove the WordPress version number by code or with the help of a plugin. But whatever suits you, please do it as early as possible.
13. Change the Default Login URL of your WP
Yes, you can do it.
Leave hackers & scammers alone; everyone can predict the default login URL of a WP site. So, by changing the URL, you keep a twist for Hackers. The good news is the process of changing the default login URL is not rocket science. You can do it easily, and such an act can increase website security significantly.
14. Run Log usability test like a Pro
Though it is designed for UX developers to measure better performance, you can use the method for Security too.
Check every activity of your user by creating a log. Find out the suspicious activity of a user. Block the user straight from visiting your website.
15. Did you consider Two-Factor Authentication?
If not, then you’re missing great stuff.
This tactic is massively used now, even for Facebook login. As it’s now included in core WordPress features, implementing 2-step authentication is easier than ever. It is a great way to prevent unauthorized login attempts.
What are the Next Steps if Your Site is Hacked? (In case God forbid)
No matter how much action we take, website security is not granted.
Attackers are using different methods to hack a website. However, following the above methods minimize the risk of hacking(hopefully). In case your website is hacked, follow the below tips.
- Don’t panic if your site is hacked. Be calm as much as possible. Try to locate the breach to resolve it one by one.
- Enable maintenance mode. This way, users will not visit your site, helping them to remain safe from the attack. Don’t reopen your WP site until you know everything is resolved efficiently.
- Try to change your username and password as soon as possible once the issue is detected.
- Identify the root cause. In this case, hiring a professional might be required based on the severity of the attack.
- Let customers and stakeholders know that your site is hacked.
Et voilà…. Now you know how to get a secure WordPress site!
All you have to do is Just Rinse and repeat.
Securing a WordPress site is crucial to protect it from potential vulnerabilities and malicious attacks. So, make it a top priority.
Let’s make the internet a safe place.
FAQs about WordPress Security
Can WP be hacked easily?
The answer is Yes if you don’t maintain standard security measures.
Are security plugins a must for WP sites?
Well, obviously not must, but they do make things easy and save a lot of time.
How to check WordPress website security?
A couple of free WordPress vulnerability scanners online check security issues. You can try them.