Essential Tips to Secure your WordPress Site in 2020
According to Kinsta, WordPress powers 35.2% of the sites on the world wide web. With this widespread adoption, WordPress sites are a frequent target for attackers and cybercriminals. It’s more important than ever to secure your WordPress site from all angles.
According to Securi Web Professionals Survey 2019, 44% of web professionals have dealt with a hacked website. With these alarming statistics at your disposal, you can’t afford to take a light note on your site’s security. Because, hacked sites damage your brand reputation and take away the confidence of your customers to again interact with your website and purchase goods & services.
In this article, we explain some of the vital security aspects and give essential tips to secure your WordPress site in 2020.
Deploy an SSL Certificate
Configuring your site with an SSL certificate ensures that data from your web servers and site visitors’ browser is encrypted and safe from attackers. When you configure the SSL certificate appropriately, it will show a padlock on the browser when someone visits your site.
There are various types of SSL certificates available. If you want to secure your main domain and all of its subdomains, you can purchase a cheap Wildcard SSL certificate. In case, if you wish to establish formidable trust with your site visitors, you can consider an EV SSL; it is bit costlier, so evaluate your options.
Choose a Reputed Hosting Provider
Your site security will only be as good as the underlying hosting infrastructure. If the underlying infrastructure is not good enough, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in. Your site will be prone to security threats to a higher degree.
Also, it’s important to choose whether you want to go for managed WordPress hosting or DIY hosting (do it yourself). Although managed hosting can seem costly on the surface, the service provider takes care of an entire suite of things on your behalf, reducing the workload burden on you. But with this approach, sometimes you may find it challenging to perform customizations to the extent you want.
The DIY hosting approach gives you more flexibility, and with it comes the responsibility to take care of your site from top to bottom. So, choose your hosting provider after careful evaluation. And, if you feel the current hosting is not up to the mark, consider changing to a much secure WordPress Hosting service.
Update Your WordPress Version
WordPress.org releases various updates from time to time – these updates include improvements and vulnerability patches. You should schedule for updating your WordPress core with these releases.
However, make sure newer versions are compatible with your customizations and configuration. Only after testing updates in a beta environment, you should apply them. Otherwise, your site may break and can lead to sub-optimal user experience, leading to increased bounce rates.
On top of updating your WordPress version, you should keep an eye on various software components used in your setup, such as database system, PHP version, Apache HTTP server, and Nginx, among others. Whenever vulnerabilities found in these software components, patches and fixes will be released. You should be quick to apply them. Also, do not use any outdated software components.
Enable Rate Limiting on Login Pages
Attackers can target your WordPress admin login page with dictionary or brute force attacks. A brute force attack uses a computer program to attempt password logins continuously from a predefined list of strings. To secure your site from such attacks, you should enable rate limiting.
The rate limit is the number of attempts one can perform on your login page. It’s safe to put rate limiting in a single digit within a set time frame. Only after the time frame expires, one can attempt again to log in. This approach will keep your site secure from brute force attacks.
You can also set rate limiting for any particular page that you suspect an attacker might target.
Restrict Access to Configuration Files
Make sure specific user accounts can only access sensitive files such as wp-config.php and .htaccess on the servers. Disable write permission to important files and enable write permission only when you need to edit. Use separate folders for simple upload and download operations.
Perform Malware Scanning
Malware infects your site and steals confidential data such as passwords, credit card data, etc. Some types of malware stay stealthy on your website for a long time and keep harvesting data. According to Akamai, around 350,000 variants of malware are discovered every single day. If you run e-commerce operations on your WordPress site, malware can cause severe and irreversible damage.
Perform malware scanning on your site as often as possible. Remember, the longer the malware infects, the more damage it can do. A lot of malware scanning tools available in the market, both free and paid. Some hosting providers include malware scanning services in their plans.
Avoid Using Nulled Themes
Nulled themes are unlocked versions of premium themes available at zero cost to you. Often these themes contain compromised/malicious code that, if used, can pose security risks. Refrain from using such themes. Purchase premium themes if you need them; they also come with support packages and are updated regularly.
You have to do a lot of things right to get the security of your WordPress site right. On top of the tips mentioned above, you should follow good security hygiene: use strong passwords, use secure devices and machines, avoid using the date of birth and other personal data for setting passwords, and keep yourself up to date with security news and updates.
For managing security, many WordPress plugins are available. Before choosing a security solution, evaluate whether it is delivering the value you’re looking for.
WordPress is used for single-page websites to sites such as Forbes and TechCrunch, and managing the security of your site depends on the size, traffic, and complexity of your site. Above all, ensure your site traffic is secure with an SSL certificate, maybe you can consider a cheap Wildcard SSL certificate to go light on your budget.
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