Cybersecurity has to be taken seriously. Google is quite stringent on this and blacklists approximately 10,000 websites due to malware.
WordPress is easily the most popular CMS, as almost 60% of websites built on a CMS use WordPress, which also makes it an easy target for attackers.
However, if you already have built your website on WordPress, that is no cause for panic. Known for its regular updates, version 5.3.2 of WordPress was released in December, 2019 and the latest version 5.4 was released on 31st March, 2020. These updates aim at bug fixing, eliminating any vulnerabilities, and barricading your website against any malicious attacks.
Having said that, you should also have a comprehensive plan in order to ensure the safety of your website. One that can help you in not just risk mitigation but also risk elimination.
So, what are the ways that can help you assure the security of your WordPress website?
There are a few things you can make sure of, such as:
1. Changing the default configuration
Alter all the default settings as soon as you get the admin control. A lot of hackers use brute-force to hack into your system. This means that they try to get admin control by cracking your login combination. So if your username is still ‘admin’, it won’t be difficult for hackers to brute-force the password. Therefore, it is better to change the combination from the default one as soon as you receive your credentials.
2. Updating the CMS regularly
WordPress is a continuously evolving platform. The platform is very development-friendly, hence making it captivating for developers to work on. These experts contribute in various capacities, which includes bug-fixing and security updates with every new release. Throughout WordPress’s history, you can see how many issues have been resolved by the community related to core, themes, and plugins. However, website owners can only benefit from these developments if they keep the CMS up-to-date. Currently, only 41.6% of WordPress users are using the most recent version. There is definitely an aggravated risk for websites running on older versions.
3. Using only verified and updated plugins
Plugins are like apps for your website that can be used for search engine optimization, contact forms, galleries, and more.
Since these are quintessentially add ons or extensions, they can be developed externally by anyone and can be customized into WordPress. Now, this poses a major threat.
If you use a plugin that isn’t listed on the official website, you may be perhaps buying a backdoor to your website. So, always make sure you are using trusted and reputable plugins only. Also, ensure that they receive regular updates. Refrain from using one that hasn’t been updated in three months.
4. Securing with strong passwords and 2-factor authentication
Keep your passwords complex. This is a standard practice that every website owner should follow. Don’t select passwords that are not strong enough or can be easily guessed by hackers. These are generally the ones that are related to your personal information such as name, address, phone number, address, etc. that are available publicly. Such passwords can be easily decoded through brute-force. To be even more advanced with web security, apply 2-factor authentication, like Google. It’s a great way to strengthen the walls against attack.
5. Utilizing security and backup plugins
To build a more secure environment for your website, it is best to lock it down with a number of security, anti-spam, and backup plugins. Use top-rated security plugins like Sucuri Security, anti-spam plugins like Akismet, and anti-spam and backup ones like VaultPress (with Jetpack), UpdraftPlus, etc. You can also enable Firewall security plugins like WordFence as malware scanners. For upgraded protection, you can also use their premium versions to enable measures like 2-factor authentication.
6. Being supported by a trusted host
Choose a reliable web hosting company that has extensive experience in WordPress hosting, such as WP Engine. Such companies will be pre-equipped to prevent large-scale cyberattacks such as DDoS, SQL injection, XXS, Brute Force, etc. They are also always monitoring the networks for any suspicious activities. An experienced and secure host will regularly update their server software to keep any malware at bay. You can trust them to come up with ready to deploy troubleshooters and accident plans.
Apart from these, you can also follow some other steps like:
1. Using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for data encryption
2. Storing data in git repositories
3. Decoupling the front-end from payment gateways and internet banking portals
4. Limiting login attempts and blocking IPs after multiple failed attempts
There is nothing on the internet that cannot come under attack. The responsibility rests upon the website owner to make it as impregnable as possible. Therefore, make sure you follow the above-mentioned steps in order to ensure your website’s security.
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