12 WordPress Security Tips to Keep your Website Safe – 2022
Businesses in 2022 are more dependent on their websites as a source of income than ever before. The more time and effort you put into establishing website security best practices, the less likely you will be scrambling to put your website back together.
WordPress is an incredibly powerful open source platform. Open source scripts are usually assumed to be more vulnerable to attack, however WordPress core software is really quite safe and is frequently reviewed by hundreds of engineers. A WordPress site that has a lot of third-party plugins installed and isn’t properly maintained, on the other hand, might become susceptible.
WordPress Security Issues that You Need to Protect Your Website From
The following list contains many of the most important security issues that WordPress users face these days.
- Outdated System
- Brute Force Attacks
- Weak Passwords
- Inactive users
How to Secure Your WordPress Website
1. Keeping WordPress Updated
WordPress is an open source software which is regularly maintained and updated. WordPress installs minor updates automatically by default. For major releases, you need to manually initiate the update.
WordPress also comes with a library of thousands of plugins and themes that you can use to customize your site. These plugins and themes are maintained by third-party developers which regularly release updates as well.
2. Don’t make your password “password”
A basic WordPress security tip is to become familiar with the most popular hacking techniques. One main strategy is to “guess” often used passwords that many people make up from the top of their heads in order to avoid quickly guessable ones. Don’t use the username “admin” either. While these can seem to be self-evident, you’d be surprised how many companies fail to do so.Since hackers use simple scripts or bots to brute-force their way through your site, staying away from typical usernames and passwords is a good idea. The bots will run thousands of passwords very quickly until it gets the right one.
If you’re just like me, you have way too many passwords to remember. So I use LastPass to keep track of them all (this is not an affiliate link; I’m just a big fan). Another excellent choice is 1Password. These services will securely archive all of your passwords across various computers, and best of all, it will suggest passwords for you and save them immediately. There’s no excuse that you shouldn’t have it! This password generator (https://passwordsgenerator.net/) is another fantastic free choice. It would also assist you with creating secure passwords on a consistent basis.
You can block brute-force attacks in WordPress by restricting login attempts. We have the Limit Login Attempts plugin in both of our website releases since it will block anyone if they try too many passwords. It’s free, and it’s only one more layer of security that can help a lot.
3. Change default WordPress admin Login URL
Brute force assaults are common in the WordPress admin sector. If hackers are successful in cracking your admin login records, you will likely never regain control of your website, and all of your hard work will be wasted. When a hacker discovers that your website is operated by WordPress, they instantly recognize www.yousite.com/wp-login.php as your login URL. One effective way to reduce the chance of someone hacking into your admin panel is to change the default admin login URL so the attackers won’t be able to find it. For that, you can install a plugin called WPS Hide Login
It’s very easy to set up and use. For example, after you’ve installed it, a new option called “WPS Hide Login” will appear under general settings. Click on it and you’ll open the tab of the plugin where you can change the admin login URL. Non-connected Internet users will be unable to access wp-login.php and the wp-admin directory after you save the updates, and will get a 404 error message. This is only possible for those who are signed in. Remember that you can add almost everything in the black space to create a new URL, so be creative.
4. Log Out idle users automatically
Inactive and idle users are one well-known source of brute force attacks. When a logged in user stays inactive for a long period of time, it becomes possible for a hacker to get unauthorized access by running cookie or session hijacking. As a result, they can obtain login information and more.
This is a major problem because many people don’t think about it, particularly if they are the only ones using a website. By ignoring the necessity of logging out or believing that their website is unimportant to hackers, they are giving hackers a chance to obtain login credentials.
Thankfully, there’s a plugin called Inactive Logout that does just as its name implies: it allows the administrator to adjust the idle timeout interval, effectively removing inactive users from the site.
5. Use a quality host
If the hosting service provider isn’t up to standard, the majority of your time and money would be for naught. Before you start using tricks and methods to improve the protection on your website, make sure you’re using a reputable hosting service provider. No surprise, according to some reports, more than 40% of WordPress websites are compromised solely as a result of security flaws in the hosting server.
The issue is especially acute among shared hosting service providers. The issue is especially acute among shared hosting service providers. Quality hosting providers offer a lot of security-driven features for WordPress websites. You can still go for a dedicated hosting service if you want a more solid and secure security environment. Dedicated hosting services are known for providing robust security protections, unlimited bandwidth, large disc space, and plenty of other security-related features.
6. Use an SSL Certificate
Adding an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate to your admin panel is a simple way to make it more secure. SSL encryption encrypts data requests from users to your server, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept the link and obtain access to your account. An SSL Certificate can be purchased and installed from a third-party vendor, but all of the hosts we endorse will provide one for free with your order. As an added bonus, SSL Certificates will help you improve your SEO because Google now considers getting one installed as a top ranking factor.
7. Use a security plugin with a firewall
Sucuri, Wordfence, Webarx, and ithemes Security are some of the most common and trusted WordPress security plugins, and one of the most critical features these plugins share is a firewall. Any harmful traffic would be blocked by a firewall until it hits your website. Firewalls keep a list of signatures of suspected malware attackers up to date, and when an HTTP request matches one of these signatures, the user is blocked. The majority of these plugins would also shield you from brute-force attacks and restrict your login attempts.
8. Disable directory indexing and browsing
Hackers can utilize directory browsing to see if you have any files with known vulnerabilities, so they can exploit these files to obtain access. Directory browsing can also be used by other people to look into your files, copy images, find out your directory structure, and other information. This is why it is highly recommended that you turn off directory indexing and browsing.
You need to connect to your website through FTP or the file manager in cPanel. Locate the .htaccess file in the root directory of your website. If you still can’t find it, check out our tutorial on why you can’t find the .htaccess file in WordPress. After that, at the very end of the .htaccess file, add the following line:
Don’t forget to save and upload .htaccess file back to your site.
9. Change WordPress database prefix
By default, WordPress uses wp_ as the prefix for all tables in your WordPress database. If your WordPress site uses the default database prefix, hackers will have an easier time guessing the name of your table.
To reduce the risk of your site being hacked further, be sure to rename all of the WordPress database tables you have whose names begin with default values.
10. Add security questions to WordPress login screen
Adding a security question to your WordPress login screen makes it even harder for someone to get unauthorized access.
You can add security questions by installing the WP Security Questions plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings > Security Questions page to configure the plugin settings.
11. Monitor the audit log
If you have several users on your WordPress site, it’s definitely worth monitor their activity to see what they’re up to and to discover security risks like unauthorized users. You’ll be able to spot it if an admin adds a user who performs anything suspect or conducts an unlawful activity themselves.
Since WordPress doesn’t have default plugins for that, you need to install a plugin like WP Security Audit Log.
It provides real-time user monitoring and enables to identify the following changes:
- Menu and widget changes
- Post and page changes
- Category and tag changes
- User activity, including login, logout, terminating other activity sessions and failed logins
- Registration of new users, deletion of existing users, and modifying their accounts
- Changes in user profiles, including display name, role, email, and password
- WordPress settings changes
- Changes in themes or plugins
- Site file changes.
In other words, you have the ability to track almost everything other users do on your website, which is exactly what you need to limit the danger of a security breach. If someone does something that they’re not supposed to, you’ll know about that action quickly.
12. Scanning WordPress for malware and vulnerabilies
If you have a WordPress security plugin installed, it will scan for malware and signs of security breaches on a regular basis.
If you see a significant drop in website traffic or search results, you should manually perform a scan. You can use your WordPress security plugin, or use one of these malware and security scanners.
It’s simple to use these online scans; simply enter your website URLs, and their crawlers will search your site for known malware and harmful code.
Remember that the majority of WordPress security scanners can only scan your website. They won’t be able to get rid of the infection or clean up a hacked WordPress site.
WordPress will continue to be the most popular CMS platform for websites of all types. However, the true benefit of WordPress is lost if security vulnerabilities are not effectively addressed. The steps and techniques listed above have been tried and proven to improve security for WordPress websites in a variety of areas.