WordPress is the leading content management system in the world. It powers around 30% of the websites online and enjoys a substantial market share of more than 50%. Its huge popularity also makes it a target for hackers. Security has never been a WordPress strong suite which is why we constantly hear about WordPress vulnerabilities exploited by hackers to compromise many websites. In fact, security has always been a pain in the neck for WordPress site owners.
A simple online search will reveal dozens of articles that shares how you can secure your WordPress website. If you pay attention, you might see some advice getting repeated over and over again. Fortunately, this is not one of those articles. If you own a WordPress website and want to keep it safe from hackers then, you are at the right place. In this article, you will learn about seven WordPress security tips you have never heard of.
1. Set Salt Keys
When you are making some changes to wp-config.php file, you will notice that there are some salt keys. These are default keys and you should change them. Most WordPress site administrators and developers tend to ignore this, which is why they end up paying a hefty price for it. If you have ever read some WordPress documentation you will find that even WordPress asks you to change those default salt keys. Go to WordPress Salt Key Generator and get custom keys and then include them into your PHP file.
2. Protect Your Login Page with a Password
Despite all the efforts from WordPress itself and site owners, hackers can still find and exploit vulnerabilities to fulfill their malicious designs. It could be anything from a weak password, brute force attacks, bypassing the login screens or SQL injections. Your job is to make it almost impossible for hackers to get access to your accounts. One way to do that is to password protect your login page.
This adds an extra layer of security and forces users to first enter the password for the login page before they can even see it. Once they successfully enter the password, they are greeted with a login screen where they can enter login credentials to access your accounts. Yes, this extra step will make it a little inconvenient but from the security standpoint, it is a step in the right direction.
3. Choose Your Database Password Smartly
Most cyber attacks have a purpose. Hackers might have financial motives or they want to steal your sensitive data from your database. In case of the latter, you will have to choose your password cleverly. Use the best password practices and set a password that is hard to guess for hackers and easy to memorize for you. Use a long paraphrase or mixture of special characters, alphabets and numbers to make it tough for hackers to guess your admin passwords especially when you buy dedicated server.
4. Keep a Close Eye on Host Security
Another area that most WordPress site owners tend to ignore is host security. Yes, you might have taken all the security measures to protect your website but your website host does the same to protect your WordPress website from cyber attacks. In most cases the answer is no. As soon as a WordPress website is hacked, website owners start thinking about security vulnerabilities and loopholes in their security strategy but never consider host security. Poor host security could be a main culprit behind your website getting hacked.
Choose a web hosting provider that prioritizes security over everything else. Even if you have to pay extra, consider doing so because the cost of a cyber attack is much more than the premium price you will pay to these hosting providers. The damage to the business reputation is irreversible and if you are a small business, recovering from a deadly cyber attack might take months. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
5. Restrict Access to A Single IP Address
If you are a business owner who wants to secure your WordPress website without restricting its functionality then this tip might not be for you. This tip is for business owners who are ready to do anything to keep their WordPress website safe. If you are already using a static IP address, this will minimize the number of users on your website.
For those who want more control, they can further restrict access to users by creating a blacklist of IP addresses. The IP addresses you include in your blacklist can not access your website. WordPress site administrators can also set a limit on the number of times an IP address can access your website and minimize the risk for brute force attacks. Use role based access controls to prevent any misuse. This only allows limited access to specific users who are allowed to perform particular tasks thus eliminating the risk of misuse of resources. All these steps goes a long way in beefing up your WordPress website security.
6. Constantly Monitor Your Website
Another mistake most WordPress website owners make is that they take a reactive approach to website security. They sit back and relax until a cyber security attack strikes their website and then reacts. In fact, it should be the other way around. They should act proactively, create a cybersecurity strategy and develop a response plan that highlights what steps to take if your WordPress website comes under a cyber attack. Use core scanners along with malware scanners to scan your website thoroughly. These tools can highlight gaps in your website security that you should plug quickly before cyber criminals can exploit them.
7. Implement Multi Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication is nothing new but still very few WordPress website owners use it. It is a shame especially when you consider the poor state of WordPress security. Yes, you might have to face some resistance from stakeholders because they have to go through the long cumbersome process but if website security is what you care about, there is nothing better than implementing multi factor authentication on your website. Even if the hackers succeed in stealing or guessing your password, they still have to go through the additional step before they can get their hands on your account.
How do you keep your WordPress website secure? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
Mohammad Ali is an experienced digital marketer and a search engine marketing specialist who is currently associated with Branex & Hostnoc, as senior digital marketer and brand strategist.