Dealing with security issues and producing excellent content are just two of the responsibilities website owners can expect to regularly exercise.
Just recently, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax put millions of Americans’ data at risk after the agency’s database was targeted and penetrated by hackers.
The perpetrators gained access to the credit information of 143 million Americans. The compromised data included, birthdays, addresses, driver’s license and social security numbers.
Thankfully, people who are just on the brink of starting a blog are somehow safe from attacks of this magnitude.
Highlight on somehow, because regardless of how small or big a technology or system is, there’s always a chance that it could be targeted by hackers and their ilk.
The following are security tips you can apply on your WordPress account to keep it safe from attacks.
1. Limit plugins to only the essentials
This is important not just for security purposes but for speed and performance as well.
One misconception some new bloggers have is that the more plugins you have, the better. However, that’s one mistake that needs to be nipped in the bud.
Stacking up on an excessive number of unnecessary plugins will slow your site down significantly. If your site can work well without a specific plugin, skip it. You can also search for plugins that mark off a few things on your must-have list for your WordPress blog or website.
Choose only the plugins that fit what you need the most from the WP plugin directory. Leave the ones that you don’t need alone.
Remember: the fewer plugins you have, the fewer possibilities hackers can access your data.
2. Say no to bootleg plugins
Although pirated premiums can be tempting, resist! Any cracked software almost always has some kind of hidden, sinister caveat, and plugins are no exception to the rule.
You don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way and realize that scrimping on the few bucks you should have legally paid for your plugin wasn’t worth it only after spending hundreds of dollars fixing your website after it crashes or gets hacked.
One way to help your fellow bloggers is to keep them informed, so make sure to share this juicy and useful piece of info to other bloggers that you know.
3. Choose the best Hosting you can get your hands on
A WP White Security report says that 41% of WordPress site hackings were due to a security failure on the hosting end.
That’s why you don’t want to economize on this vital aspect of your website. Choose the best web host that you can afford. Do your research and go over forums and reviews before making your choice.
It’s a sad fact of life that the things we cheaply get will usually not be able to give us what we need. When it comes to picking the best hosting service, choosing a pricey one that is well-received by users is definitely a worthwhile investment.
4. Quit using “Admin” as your admin username
A lot of warnings and a lot of care has been implemented to prevent people from using easy-to-guess passwords. Surprisingly though, “Admin” is still the most commonly-used administrator username across many sites including WordPress.
This is one of the first things hackers usually try to exploit. Why not make their job a bit harder for them? Here’s what you can do:
First, create a new user with administrator privileges.
Use a username that will be harder for outsiders to guess, preferably with capital letters and numbers
Next, delete the “admin” user.
No need to worry about any posts or pages you may have made using the username “admin”. Upon trying to delete, WordPress will prompt you to choose between deleting all content owned by the user to be deleted or transferring them to a different user. Transfer content to you newly-created user and proceed with the username deletion.
5. Use a stronger password
Speaking of passwords, like I mentioned in the previous item, make yours not so easy to guess. As a rule of thumb, Yoast suggests CLU (Complex, long and unique). In other words, use a long, complicated password that other people are less likely to use.
As much as trust and honesty between nationalities build stronger cultural competence, so do stronger passwords strengthen the integrity of your website.
6. Limit the number of login attempts
There are plugins that you can use to impose a three-strike rule for logins to your WordPress account from a particular IP address.
WP Limit Login Attempts and iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) are two examples of high-rated security plugins that enforce sturdy login policies on your WordPress account and protect you against Brute Force attacks.
7. Keep everything 100% up-to-date
Keeping your WordPress core itself updated is essential, but that’s not all. A recent Sucuri.net study shows that a huge percentage of website hacks are caused not only by out-of-date WordPress cores but also by plugins rendered vulnerable because they have not been kept updated.
This problem can be solved by setting both your WordPress core as well as all plugins and themes to update automatically. That way, regardless of how busy you are, your website remains safe in these specific aspects.
8. Set your login URL to something other than the default
Most WordPress login links are set to either www.websitename.com/wp-admin or www.websitename.com/wp-login.php by default. Unfortunately, this exposes your site to risks of brute force attacks.
Brute force attacks being typically automated, customizing your website’s login URL makes it harder for such attacks to penetrate your site.
Plugins are available to make this job easier for you.
8. Make sure your computer is squeaky-clean and in tip-top shape, too
There are some instances where hackers can get access to your website due to security issues on the computer you are using. That’s why, first of all, I recommend using only your own computer when accessing WordPress, especially when making important changes.
For one thing, it’s easier to keep your own personal computer up-to-date. Plus, you can have your choice of antivirus to keep all manner of malware, spyware and other insidious programs from getting into it.
9. Backup your site fully and regularly
The one thing more important than keeping your WordPress updated is doing regular backups of your site data.
Problems and issues are part and parcel of owning a website. Sooner or later something will happen. Backing up your account constantly ensures that you save yourself from the humongous amount of combined headache and heartbreak involved in starting over from total scratch.
Regular backups also make handling blog problems an easier task. It helps you get to the root of the problem by being able to track your actions leading to a certain crash or trouble.
Most of these are already mentioned in WordPress’ list of security tips. However, I do hope I was able to give fresh insights that you can use to help keep your website safe.
The main function of these security tips is not to eliminate all threats to your WordPress account. Rather, it is to reduce them. Why, you ask? Because as long as any system stands, hackers will always try to tear them down.
That’s why you, as a WordPress user, must also be forever vigilant in protecting your website from such attacks.