It’s a well-understood fact that getting your website hacked is no fun.
After all, a lot of your valuable time and effort have been invested in building a site – that is crucial for establishing yourself as a strong online identity in the long run.
Moreover, having your website hacked can cause a major damage to your site’s reputation. This is why it is important for you to take security of your site very seriously.
If you’re a WordPress user, then you will certainly be aware of the potential security risks that can make your site prone to hackers attack. As a WordPress website owner, it is imperative for you to keep a tab on those security risks, to safeguard your site’s security. If you haven’t anything to improve your website security yet, then below are a few handful tips that will help achieve such an objective effectively and with efficiency:
#1. Use A Good (and Secure) Hosting Plan
Remember that not all of the web hosting plans are same, in fact, a hosting plan can make your WordPress site prone to vulnerabilities. Especially, choosing a cheap web host increases the chances of your site being attacked by malicious users. So, make sure to conduct proper research when opting for a web host partner, and prefer selecting one with good track-record for following strong security measures.
#2. Keep an Eye on New WordPress Version Releases
Quite frequently, new version of WordPress is released that help address potential vulnerabilities and provide fixes to such vulnerabilities and security holes. So, in case you are not keeping your site up-to-date as per the latest WordPress version, you are leaving your website open to attacks. Besides, most of the hackers deliberately target older versions of WordPress installations using already-known security issues.
And so, you must keep a vigilant check on your website Dashboard notification area to look for messages that state: ‘Please update now’. As soon as, you see such a message appear on the dashboard of your install, update your site accordingly to steer clear of security risks.
#3. Use Hard to Crack Username and Password
The majority of hackers launch brute force attacks in an attempt to crack username and password of WordPress websites. Such an attack consists of repeated login attempts, made by the nefarious hackers, using ‘admin’ as the username, together with several passwords combinations. Simply put, in case the username required to login into your site is “admin”, and your password isn’t too strong, then a malicious user can easily break into your site.
Till the release of WP version 4.0, “admin” was automatically set as a WordPress install username. However, after 4.0, users now have the ability to choose a username as per their own need. Just make sure to change the username to something that can’t be guessed easily. Also, make sure to choose a better password combination consisting of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, special symbols, etc.
#4. Reduce the Limit of Login Attempts
Despite using difficult to crack username and password, you might still fail from getting your WordPress install hacked because of a brute-force attack. So, to avoid such a situation from happening it is strongly recommended that you must limit the number of failed login attempts – that is made by the same IP address. This can be achieved with the help of the Limit Login Attempts plugin.
The plugin gives users the capability to specify how many times a user can attempt to login (Try This WP Plugin) into a WP install using the username and password. Most importantly, it locks out the IP address that is used too often for getting logged into a WordPress site. Chances are that the attackers might be using many different IP addresses when attempting a brute-force attack on your website, but it’s worth taking an extra precaution of putting a limit to the login attempts.
#5. Do Not Allow Users to Edit Files From the Dashboard
When using a default WordPress installation, a user can edit any theme file from the dashboard, by browsing to Appearance → Editor. The problem is that if any, malicious user manage to get access to your site’s admin panel, they will be able to edit the files and inject malicious code into it, making it more vulnerable to attacks.
Therefore, it is advised that you must disable the file editing option, by using the following line of code that needs to be added in your theme’s wp-config.php file:
define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
So, above you can find some of the most commonly practiced and simple tips that help harden a WordPress installation security. Apart from these tips, you can make use of available security plugins for a WordPress site that best suit your needs in maintaining security of your website. For example, you can consider using the WP Security Audit Log to create a log of everything happening on the backend of your website, to view what your users or hackers are doing.
But, be sure about installing only the most important plugins to secure your website, as adding too many plugins often take a toll on the performance and the speed of a site, causing it to load slowly.