A significant portion of the web is powered by WordPress and it’s an open-source application written in an open-source programming language for the web, the PHP. The thing is any open-source software can be looked inside to see what’s going on within. An expert with wrong intentions or a hacker may take advantage of it.
Needless to say that WordPress developers take good care of most things but it is mandatory from our side too, to understand and follow the best practices for safety and security.
There are so many things that go into running a website. Here’s a list of few things on the hardware and software side.
- A physical webserver with an operating system
- A web server application that handles requests and serves web pages
- A programming language that generates web pages from code like PHP, Python, Ruby, Node, etc.
- A database like MySQL
- Finally a CMS like WordPress or Joomla etc.
A known vulnerability in any of these might compromise your system. As a webmaster, there are many things you need to care for. These few simple tips will help you make sure your site is safe and secure. Please note, these simple techniques do not cover each and every aspect of security and safety for a website or application. You are advised to kindly keep yourself up-to-date with the latest security tips and best practices.
1. Install Themes or Plugins From Trusted Sources
There are thousands of websites on the internet that share premium WordPress Themes and Plugins for free. These themes and plugins contain malicious codes that hackers use to gain control of your web application. Once installed and activated, these plugins send information to their defined sources, which might then execute code they want or maybe try to extract information from your database. Make sure you trust the source before installing the addons.
2. Limit Login Attempts
There are millions of robots and spiders crawling the web looking for security vulnerabilities or gathering information and other content, day in and out. These spiders are trained to fill forms, follow links, click buttons and even Brute Force login pages until they find the correct credentials combination. To make sure your WordPress is safe from these attacks, limit your login attempts, which will disable the login page after consecutive wrong tries thus, preventing a robot from accessing the page itself.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
A Two-Factor Authentication or Multi-factor authentication mechanism requires a user to go through an extra verification step to prove his or her identity. Even if someone gets your credentials or brute forces, they won’t be able to log in. The 2FAs are very common nowadays, and many websites use this as an additional layer of security.
There are many WordPress plugins available that extend WordPress with this feature. Look for in the plugins store to find one.
4. Use an SSL Certificate
An SSL Certificate on your website encrypts the communication between your users and your website’s server thus preventing eavesdropping from your ISPs or public hotspots. These certificates are a mark of trust and also good for the site SEO and security.
Most web hosting providers nowadays offer free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt which provides free SSL certificates for use on websites. Contact your hosting provider for more info.
5. Change WP Default Login URL
The default login URL on WordPress is one of the first pages most robots start crawling through. These robots or spiders keep trying for correct usernames and password combinations on pages, day in and out until you have a plugin that prevents multiple login attempts.
It is a good idea to actually change the login page URL itself and make sure you don’t link to it from other pages on your website.
6. Use a Security Audit Log Tool
A security audit log plugin helps you track any changes, errors or any other security issues on your website which can then be used to identify errors or misconfiguration of any sort. There are plenty of these plugins on WordPress, one such popular of them is the WP Security Audit Log.
7. Default Prefix for Database Tables
The WordPress is open for anyone to look into and you should know that the database tables for your WordPress remain the same and so you need to prefix it with any random string to make sure it is not easily guessable. This is not a big security issue but it can be if someone finds out any other vulnerability that leads them to your database.
8. Choose a trusted hosting provider
As I told you earlier there are various components that go into running a website. One such major component is hosting providers. They have access to all your website’s data, speed, and security information. Make sure you choose a trusted hosting provider that is reliable, innovative and offers good support and value.
Metabust.com is hosted on Vultr’s VPS Cloud in case you want to know.
9. Frequent Backups to Remote Storage
Even when you’re 100% sure nothing bad can happen, it would still be advisable and ultimately helpful to keep the latest copy of all your data on remote storage. This will be an insurance in case there’s a disaster.
There are already thousands of backup plugins on WordPress that lets you back up all your files and databases onto a remote storage of your choice. Install one such plugin and back it all up and be safe.
10. Keep your WordPress Up-to-date
As I said earlier, WordPress is an open-source application, security vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed regularly. Make sure you frequently update your WordPress installation as and when required. This will help you stay out of many problems resulting from an issue in code itself.