How to Secure Your WordPress Site
WordPress is an excellent, secure platform out of the box, but there’s certainly more you can do to keep your site safe from malicious intent. Many of these security enhancements are easy to implement and can be performed manually in mere minutes. Others simply require installing a particular plugin.
In this article, I’ll guide you through 25 different strategies for upping the defenses on your WordPress fortress. But first, let’s go a little more into the weeds on why website security should matter to you.
Why security matters for SEO
Website security is often overlooked. However, site security is essential for SEO and digital marketing.
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), powering millions of websites.
However, WordPress sites are also susceptible to attacks which can lead to:
- Site hijacking.
- Malware injection.
- Phishing scams.
All of these can damage your reputation, hurt your SEO, and cost you money. That’s why it’s important to take proactive steps to secure your WordPress site.
There are a number of reasons why WordPress is a target for hackers.
- Because the CMS is so popular, there are more potential targets.
- As it is open source, the code is available for anyone to view and study. This makes it easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities.
- Due to its ease of use, many people don’t take the time to properly secure their WordPress site.
As a result, hacked WordPress sites are a major source of malware and spam.
Why WordPress Security Matters
In the first half of 2021, there were more than 86 billion password attack attempts blocked, and it is estimated that there are an average of 30,000 new websites hacked every day.
Hackers and various types of malware are relentless in their attempts to gain access to websites and their sensitive data.
We are currently seeing an unprecedented amount of cyber security attacks.
This issue affects businesses of all sizes, including yours.
In fact, 43% of online attacks now are aimed at small businesses, and only 14% of those businesses are prepared to defend themselves.
Many hackers target large companies for a bigger payoff.
However, small and medium businesses provide an easier target for hackers, due to their lack of resources and security expertise.
How to secure your WordPress site
Throughout the rest of this article, I’ll introduce 25 handy strategies for making your site safer and reducing the chances of it being compromised. Plus, I’ll point you in the right direction to get started with each technique.
You don’t have to implement every suggestion on this list — although you certainly can — but the more steps you take to secure your site, the lower your chances of encountering a disaster down the road.
Require & Use Strong Passwords
Along with obtaining an SSL certificate, one of the very first things you can do to protect your site is to use and require strong passwords for all your logins.
It might be tempting to use or reuse a familiar or easy-to-remember password, but doing so puts you, your users, and your website at risk.
Improving your password strength and security decreases your chances of being hacked.
The stronger your password, the less likely you are to be a victim of a cyberattack.
Change your login page URL regularly
Regularly changing your login URL may seem like a small security measure, but it can actually deter hackers from finding easy access to your website.
By constantly changing your login URL, you make it more difficult for hackers to guess or brute force their way into your site.
There are ways to change the URL manually, but most hosting providers recommend using plugins to manage this.
Private Domain Registration
To register a domain, you’re asked to provide your name, address, and phone number. This information is used to track ownership of domain names and is available online with a quick search on the WHOIS directory.
While keeping track of this information is vital to the health of the internet, it’s reasonable not to want your personal information online. This is where Private Registration enters the story. When you register a domain with DreamHost (or another secure hosting platform, I guess), you have the option to substitute your personal information with the relevant data from the hosting platform– So, looking up your domain on WHOIS would show DreamHost’s address and contact information. You can even enable this security feature after your domain has already been registered!
Install A Security Plugin
WordPress plugins are a great way to quickly add useful features to your website, and there are several great security plugins available.
Installing a security plugin can add some extra layers of protection to your website without requiring much effort.
To get you started, check out this list of recommended WordPress security plugins.
Run Frequent Backups
One way to protect your WordPress website is to always have a current backup of your site and important files.
The last thing you want is for something to happen to your site and for you not to have a backup.
Back up your site, and do so often.
That way if something does happen to your website, you can quickly restore a previous version of it and get back up and running faster.
Add security headers
Security headers prevent malicious code injection and mitigate the risk of cross-site scripting attacks. Adding them also helps block payload-based attacks and reduce the chances of your site being compromised by malware.
some types of security headers I recommend adding to your website include:
- Referrer policies.
- HTTP Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS).
- A content security policy.
- X-Frame options.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) protection.
Secure your WordPress site for better search performance
By following these 15 steps, you can help to secure your WordPress website and protect your data. While no system is 100% secure, these steps will make it much harder for hackers to gain access to your site.
In addition, be sure to keep all software up-to-date, as security patches are released regularly.
Finally, run regular security tests on your site to ensure that new vulnerabilities have not been introduced. By taking these precautions, you can help keep your website safe from attack.
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