I would like to thank areuconnected.com for allowing this guest post on WordPress security. I’ve found to be an excellent source for information on web development, such as this article, Reasons Why WordPress Sites Are Better Than Traditional Sites.
WordPress is quickly taking over the internet as one of the most used and trusted content management systems (CMS). With so much versatility and freedom for users, it’s no surprise that it has been described as the most popular blogging platform on the web and is used by 23.3 percent of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. But with so many of us relying on the software for commercial use, the online security threat to the platform is becoming an ever-growing, ever-changing risk.
As with any online security risk, it’s always best to start from square one. By ensuring full protection on the workstation you administrate from, you can substantially reduce the risk to your blog. There are plenty of simple steps you can take to create a first line of defense. Firstly, staying up to date with the latest versions of your operating systems, web browsers, and any other software, minimizes the risk of any security holes they contain being exploited. Similarly, regularly scanning your computer for malware and ensuring your firewall is set up correctly, which can be done by installing good anti-virus software, you can ensure your CMS isn’t at threat from an internal attack. Finally, protecting your personal internet connection from hackers can massively enhance your blogs security; using a VPN, which encrypts all of your online data from potential prying eyes, can do this.
Use a Secure Host
No matter how secure your personal computer and CMS is, your site can still be at significant risk if you aren’t careful about the host that you use. In fact, the majority of cases of WordPress sites being hacked are due to vulnerabilities in the server system that has caused the problems to arise. However, this can be easily resolved. By avoiding going for the cheapest option and asking the right questions, you can ensure your host does not pose a significant security threat to your site. When considering web host providers, always ask about their security policy; whilst some hosts offer regular malware scans, traffic monitoring, and other protection, some leave the security aspects completely up to you. Similarly, by finding a host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (HTTPS), you can further guarantee protection for your site.
Much like your personal computer, keeping your WordPress updated at all times can give you substantial protection from online threats. Once vulnerabilities in the system have been exposed, hackers can exploit them to gain access to your site. They tend to target older versions of the software where there are more known holes and, therefore, a higher chance of successfully breaking through. By frequently updating the system, you can minimise the risk and stay ahead of the hackers before they’ve had time to exploit weaknesses. Luckily, WordPress notifies you when a new system update is available, so you can always ensure you’re up to date and protected from newly discovered threats.
Improve Password Security
Having lots of complicated and varied passwords can seem like a massive hassle, especially when you have so much to remember in our lives anyway. However, the fact remains that complex passwords are a vital part of keeping your site safe and secure. Just as we apply intricate locking systems to our houses, a complicated passcode can be a significant protection from threat. There are lots of different tips for creating secure passwords. Using a variety of characters, making it longer than 8 digits, and avoiding using personal numbers such as birth dates make it very simple to give your site a higher level of security. There are also several apps that can safely stored and encrypt passwords, so you no longer have to worry about remembering them all. It’s a very easy security step to take, and one that can be incredibly worthwhile in the long run.
Be an Anonymous Admin
Threats from hackers come from everywhere and can target all parts of your site, but if a hacker can get into your admin panel, then they can very easily cause severe damage. The best way to protect yourself from this is to make you account as indistinguishable from other users as you can. Up until recently, WordPress automatically assigned the username “admin” to all administration accounts. Although there is now an option to update your username, many users choose not to. Unfortunately, this has prompted cyberattacks in which hackers have targeted accounts by using the “admin” username with combinations of regularly-used passwords. By creating an ambiguous name to log in with, you can fade into the background traffic of the site and avoid being specifically targeted. However, as WordPress automatically displays your username in the URL of the author archive pages, you also need to ensure you resolve this. This can be done by accessing your WordPress database and changing your username.
Finally, in addition to these steps, you can increase your online safety by using WordPress security plugins. There are many plugins available on the WordPress website that provide you with a wide variety of safety features, including scanning for malware, adding a firewall, and searching data for any potentially dubious code, as well as many which offer multiple security precautions. By using these alongside taking basic safety measures, you can protect your site from potential threats.
Administrating any website does not have to mean spending all your time worrying about security risks. WordPress is a highly regarded source that takes into account many elements of internet safety and allows users to focus on what really matters: producing and sharing great content. And by taking a few extra precautionary steps alongside this, you can rest assured that your site is protected and confidently create a website to be proud of.
This was contributed by Isa for Secure Thoughts, one of the best possible online sources for information regarding website security.