Web Development

Improve WordPress Website Security With These Best Practices and Plugins

By Rob Ricci| 5 Min Read | September 20, 2023
Web Design and Creation | Website Security and Best Practices

With the rising number of security breaches and attacks, it has become increasingly critical to adopt proactive measures that prioritize the protection of your WordPress website. By implementing robust security practices and staying vigilant against potential risks, you can fortify your online presence and mitigate the potential damage caused by cyber threats.

Understanding WordPress Security Risks

WordPress websites are vulnerable to various security risks, including outdated software, weak passwords, and insecure themes or plugins. These vulnerabilities make WordPress sites attractive targets for hackers. Attack methods like repeated login attempts, unauthorized database queries, and malicious code injection can compromise WordPress sites, resulting in serious outcomes such as unauthorized access to sensitive data and eroding user confidence.

With that in mind, making updates a priority is a basic step in fortifying your website’s security and safeguarding your online presence. Keeping WordPress and plugins up to date is crucial for maintaining a secure website. Updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities and weaknesses. By regularly updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins, you ensure that any identified security flaws are patched, reducing the risk of exploitation by hackers. 

Outdated software is a common target for cybercriminals, as they actively search for easy ways to gain unauthorized access or inject malicious code into websites. By staying up to date with the latest versions, you benefit from the continuous efforts of developers who actively work to improve the security of their products.

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Best Practices for WordPress Website Security

1. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Implementation:

By enabling SSL, you ensure secure communication, protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access. SSL’s can sometimes be difficult to install yourself, it can be useful to have a developer take care of it for you. Luckily many hosting providers include these with their services. i.e.: WP-Engine, Bluehost, and HostGator.

2. Changing Login URL:

Changing the default WordPress login URL is a simple yet effective security measure. By modifying the login URL, you can deter brute force attacks and unauthorized access attempts. Consider using plugins or methods that allow you to customize the login URL and enhance the security of your WordPress site. While we would suggest using code, as you should try to limit plugin use when possible, there can be some significant issues if done wrong.

3. Strong Passwords:

Using strong and unique passwords is essential for protecting your WordPress user accounts. Weak passwords are easily compromised, providing unauthorized individuals access to your site. Create strong passwords using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, consider using password manager tools to securely manage your passwords. i.e: Keeper, Last Pass, Norton Password Manager.

4. Limiting User Account Access:

Limiting user account access privileges, especially for non-administrative accounts, helps minimize potential security risks. Implement user role management plugins that allow you to assign specific permissions to each user role. By granting only necessary access rights, you can reduce the likelihood of unauthorized actions on your WordPress site.

5. Cleaning Up Unused Users:

Unused or inactive user accounts pose a security risk to your WordPress site. These accounts can potentially be exploited by hackers. Regularly review and remove any unnecessary or unused user accounts to minimize potential vulnerabilities.

6. Security Plugin-Monitoring:

Security plugins can significantly enhance the security of your WordPress website. These plugins provide monitoring and detection features, allowing you to identify potential threats and suspicious activities. Popular security plugins such as Sucuri or Wordfence can actively protect your site by monitoring and mitigating security risks in real-time.

7. Limiting the Number of Plugins:

Minimizing the number of installed plugins is crucial for reducing the attack surface of your WordPress site. Each plugin introduces potential vulnerabilities, so it’s important to evaluate and select only essential plugins. Regularly review your installed plugins and remove any unnecessary ones to maintain a lean and secure WordPress environment.

8. Keeping Plugins and WordPress Up to Date:

Regularly updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins is vital for addressing security vulnerabilities. Outdated software can become a prime target for hackers. Stay informed about updates and promptly implement them to ensure your WordPress site is equipped with the latest security patches and improvements.

Essential WordPress Security Plugins:

1. Plugin Security:

Consider using plugins that help detect and mitigate vulnerabilities in other plugins. These security plugins can provide an added layer of protection to your WordPress site, ensuring that potential security loopholes are identified and addressed promptly.  

2. Malware Scanning and Removal:

Install plugins that offer malware scanning capabilities for your WordPress site. These plugins can scan your site for malicious code and malware, enabling you to detect and remove any infected files promptly.

3. Login Protection:

Enhance login security with plugins that offer additional login protection features such as CAPTCHA and login limiting. These plugins help prevent brute force attacks by adding an extra layer of authentication and limiting the number of login attempts.

4. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):

Implementing 2FA plugins adds an extra layer of security to the login process. With 2FA, users are required to provide an additional verification code or token, greatly reducing the risk of unauthorized access even if passwords are compromised.

Suggested Plugins

  1. Sucuri
  2. All-in-One Security
  3. Wordfence
  4. Defender
  5. Google Authenticator

By implementing best practices such as SSL implementation, changing the login URL, using strong passwords, limiting user account access, cleaning up unused users, and keeping plugins and WordPress up to date, you can significantly enhance the security of your WordPress site. Additionally, incorporating essential security plugins adds an extra layer of protection, monitoring, and detection. Take immediate action to implement these practices and plugins to safeguard your WordPress website, protect user data, and ensure a safe online presence.

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