Protecting your WordPress website is a crucial aspect of maintaining its integrity and ensuring the safety of both user data and site functionality. With WordPress being one of the most popular content management systems, it has become a prime target for hackers who exploit security vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access or distribute malware. In this blog post, we will delve into various strategies that you can implement to protect your WordPress website from potential threats.
We will discuss the various security threats, such as CSRF, DDoS attacks, SQL injections and more that could potentially put your WordPress website at risk. Additionally, we’ll explore best practices for managing user permissions and roles, as well as utilizing recommended WordPress security plugins to enhance your site’s protection.
To further safeguard your online presence, we’ll cover essential maintenance tasks like enforcing two-factor authentication (2FA), securing XML-RPC and mobile access points, and implementing SSL certificates for secure communication between users’ browsers and web servers. Lastly, we will emphasize the importance of regular backups and recovery plans in case of unforeseen events or breaches.
Understanding WordPress Security Threats
To effectively protect your WordPress website, it’s crucial to understand the various security threats that can compromise its integrity. Common security threats such as CSRF, DDoS attacks, SQL injection, XSS, LFI and comment spam can all lead to malicious infections or unauthorized access of confidential data. These threats can lead to malware infections or unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF)
CSRF is a type of attack where an attacker tricks a user into performing actions on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. Links or forms containing malicious code can be sent to unsuspecting users, deceiving them into executing actions without their knowledge or authorization. To prevent CSRF attacks on your WordPress site, consider using security plugins like Wordfence, which includes built-in protection against this threat.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack
A DDoS attack occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system with traffic, causing it to become overwhelmed and unable to function properly. This could result in your website becoming slow or unresponsive for legitimate users. Protecting against DDoS attacks involves implementing measures such as rate limiting requests and utilizing content delivery networks (CDN) like Cloudflare.
An SQL injection attack exploits vulnerabilities in web applications’ database layer by inserting malicious SQL code into user input fields, allowing attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or even take control of the entire website. To prevent SQL injection attacks on your WordPress site, ensure that you use prepared statements and parameterized queries when interacting with databases.
Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
XSS is a type of attack where an attacker injects malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users. Malicious code can be injected into webpages viewed by others, potentially compromising user data, altering the appearance of a website or redirecting visitors to hazardous sites. Prevent XSS attacks by validating and sanitizing all user inputs before processing them in your application and using Content Security Policy (CSP) headers.
Local File Inclusion (LFI)
In a LFI attack, an attacker exploits vulnerabilities in web applications’ file handling functions to include files from the local server within the output of a script. This could lead to information disclosure or remote code execution if not properly mitigated. Protect against LFI attacks by ensuring proper validation of file paths and restricting access permissions for critical system files.
Comment spam refers to unsolicited comments containing links or promotional content posted on your website’s comment sections. These spammy comments can negatively impact your site’s credibility and search engine rankings while also exposing visitors to potentially harmful content. Combat comment spam by implementing measures such as enabling moderation for new comments, utilizing anti-spam plugins like Akismet, and employing CAPTCHA verification systems.
Understanding WordPress Security Threats is essential for any website owner to ensure their site’s safety. Implementing strong user permissions and roles is the next step in taking proactive measures against potential threats.
Why WordPress Security Matters
The number of cyber security attacks is on the rise, with over 86 billion password attack attempts blocked in the first half of 2021 alone. Additionally, around 30,000 new websites are estimated to be hacked daily. Hackers and malware creators are constantly trying to gain access to sensitive data stored on websites. This issue poses a significant threat to businesses of all sizes, including yours. Shockingly, small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they lack resources and expertise in cybersecurity defense. In fact, statistics show that almost half (43%) of online attacks target small companies – yet only a mere 14% feel adequately prepared for such threats. While larger corporations may seem like more attractive targets due to their greater financial resources, smaller enterprises can be easier prey for hackers looking for an easy way in.
If you’re concerned about your website’s security, you can take some basic steps immediately to help safeguard it against potential attacks.
8 Steps to Protect WordPress Website from Security Threats
1. Implement SSL Certificates
Millions of websites use SSL certificates as a standard security measure to protect their online transactions with customers. It is highly recommended that you obtain an SSL certificate for your website as one of the first steps towards securing it. While you can purchase one, most hosting providers offer them for free. To activate the encrypted connection, use a plugin that forces HTTPS redirection. This technology establishes a secure and private connection between the web server and browser, ensuring that all data remains confidential and integral.
2. Require & Use Strong Passwords
One of the initial steps you can take to secure your website is to use strong passwords for all logins and require their usage. While choosing a familiar or easy-to-remember password may be tempting, doing so puts your site, yourself, and your users at risk. By improving the strength and security of your passwords, you decrease the likelihood of being hacked. Following general best practices when creating a password is essential. To check if your password is strong enough, you can utilize free tools such as the Password Strength Checker. The stronger your password is, the less susceptible you are to cyberattacks.
3. Install A Security Plugin
WordPress plugins can be a convenient solution to enhance the functionality of your website, and there are numerous security plugins that can prove to be extremely useful. By installing a security plugin, you can bolster the safety measures of your website without having to invest too much time or effort. To assist you in this endeavor, we have compiled a list of recommended WordPress security plugins.
4. Keep WordPress Core Files Updated
Maintaining the security and stability of your WordPress site requires you to keep it updated regularly. Whenever a security flaw is discovered, the core team immediately begins working on a fix and releases an update. Failing to update your website means that you’re using an outdated version of WordPress with known vulnerabilities, putting your site at risk. As of 2021, there are an estimated 1.3 billion total websites on the web with more than 455 million of those sites using WordPress.
WordPress is a highly sought-after platform, making it vulnerable to cyber threats such as hacking attempts, malware injections, and data breaches. To safeguard your website from potential attacks, it’s crucial to keep your WordPress version up-to-date and secure. Neglecting this could leave you exposed to malicious activities that may harm your site’s reputation and compromise its integrity.Turn on auto-updates and forget about it. For a simpler approach to managing updates, consider an alternative method. Consider a Managed WordPress Hosting solution with auto-updates.
5. Pay Attention To Themes & Plugins
To maintain the security of your WordPress website, it is important to not only keep the core files updated but also pay attention to other vulnerable areas such as themes and plugins. It is highly recommended that you only install plugins and themes from reputable developers. Using plugins or themes from unknown sources can put your website at risk. Additionally, make sure to regularly update all installed WordPress plugins and themes as outdated versions can create loopholes for attackers to exploit.
6. Run Frequent Backups
Ensuring that you have a current backup of your WordPress website and essential files is a crucial step in safeguarding your site. It’s important to never overlook the significance of having a backup readily available, as it can be devastating if something were to happen to your site without one. Backup your site, and do so often. Having a website backup is essential to ensure that you can recover it quickly in case of any mishap. With a backup, you can easily restore the previous version of your website and resume its functioning without wasting much time.
Intermediate Security Measures To Add More Protection
IAfter covering the fundamental steps to secure your website, you may still be interested in enhancing its protection. In that case, there are some advanced measures you can implement to strengthen your security further.
7. Never Use The “Admin” Username
Avoid using the username “admin” as it is a common and easily guessed choice. This makes it simpler for scammers to deceive individuals into giving away their login details. By selecting a unique username, you can decrease your vulnerability to brute force attacks and social engineering scams. Similar to having a strong password, choosing an uncommon username for your logins is recommended since it increases the difficulty of cracking your login information hackers. If you are currently using the “admin” username, change your WordPress admin username.
8. Hide Your WP-Admin Login Page
To enhance the security of your WordPress website, it is recommended to hide the login page. This is because hackers can easily locate and access your Admin Dashboard by adding “/wp-admin” or “/wp-login.php” at the end of your website’s URL. Once they find your login page, they can attempt to guess your username and password to gain unauthorized access. To prevent this, you can use a plugin like WPS Hide Login to obscure the default WordPress login page and make it harder for attackers to target you. By doing so, you will be able to protect your login credentials from potential threats.
Make Sure Your Website & Business Is Safe & Secure
It’s crucial to secure your website as leaving it vulnerable could lead to serious consequences. Fortunately, you don’t need advanced technical skills to protect a WordPress site if you have the right hosting plan and tools at your disposal. Instead of waiting for security threats to occur, it’s wise to take proactive measures in securing your website. This way, even if someone targets your site, you’ll be ready to handle the situation and continue with business as usual without worrying about finding a recent backup. Consider opting for Managed WordPress Hosting that offers complete isolation and security features such as free SSL, dedicated IP address, automatic updates, DDoS protection, WAF included along with free backups. This will help safeguard both your website and valuable data from potential hackers or scammers.
FAQs in Relation to Protect WordPress Website
Understanding common security threats such as CSRF, DDoS attacks, SQL injection, XSS, LFI, and comment spam can help you take preventive measures. Implementing strong user permissions and roles, utilizing security plugins for enhanced protection, maintaining a clean website environment by removing inactive themes & plugins while updating core files promptly are some of the best practices that you can follow.
Enforcing two-factor authentication on admin accounts and regular backups with recovery plans can provide an additional layer of security. Securing XML-RPC and mobile access through disabling unnecessary features or using secure plugins is also important. Finally, implementing SSL certificates by obtaining one from a reputable provider like Amadeus Consulting will protect sensitive information from being intercepted by hackers.
If you need professional assistance in securing your WordPress website, contact Amadeus Consulting. Our experts have years of experience in providing custom solutions to meet specific business needs.