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Improve WordPress Security

20 Ways You Can Improve WordPress Security | Mitigating Risk

In today’s digital landscape, website security is of utmost importance. With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and data breaches, prioritising the security of your WordPress website is crucial. In this article, we will delve into the significance of website hosting packages to improve WordPress security and the potential consequences of neglecting website security.

The Role of Website Hosting to Improve WordPress Security

Website hosting packages play a pivotal role in maintaining the security of your WordPress website. Hosting providers offer various security features and measures to safeguard your website’s data and protect it from potential threats. Let’s explore how these hosting packages contribute to WordPress security:

1. SSL/TLS Certificates Enable SSL/HTTPS

Encrypt your website’s communication with an SSL certificate. This ensures that data transmitted between your website and visitors is secure and encrypted. Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates, but there are those that do not. When looking for a SSL certificate, consider the use case of your site as this can help determine the type of certificate you may need.

2. Firewall Protection

Hosting packages frequently include firewall protection, which acts as a robust barrier between your WordPress website and potential threats. Firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic, identifying and blocking suspicious activity. This helps prevent unauthorised access, malware attacks, and other security breaches.

Additional WordPress Security Measures You Can Put In Place

We have also listed some additional ways to improve WordPress security to enhance your website beyond just a good hosting provider.

Improve WordPress Security

3. Keep WordPress Updated

Ensure that you’re using the latest version of WordPress. Regularly update your core WordPress files, themes, and plugins to patch any security vulnerabilities.

4. Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Choose strong passwords for your WordPress admin account, database, and hosting account. Avoid using common or easily guessable passwords. Additionally, consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords.

5. Limit Login Attempts

Implement measures to limit the number of login attempts to prevent brute-force attacks. It can lock out or temporarily ban IP addresses that exceed the login threshold.

6. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enable two-factor authentication for your WordPress login. As an example, you can enable 2FA by adding a plugin that will connect your website to the Google authenticator app. This helps to add an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, usually a unique code sent to your mobile device on the app. If you have never used 2FA, here is an article on how to use Google Authenticator.

7. Disable File Editing

By default, WordPress allows administrators to edit theme and plugin files from the dashboard. Disable this feature to prevent unauthorised code modifications. You can do this by adding a line of code to your wp-config.php file and is best done by your developer.

8. Implement Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Consider using a WAF or a cloud-based WAF service to filter out malicious traffic, block suspicious IP addresses, and protect against common security threats. This can be a great start that many site owners can implement.

9. Use Only Trusted Themes and Plugins

Choosing trusted WordPress themes and plugins is crucial for a secure website. Nulled Themes, and unauthorised copies sold at lower prices, are risky. They often contain malware and lack developer support. To stay safe, use themes from the official repository or reputable developers. Invest in legitimate options for a secure and smooth website experience.

10. Secure wp-config.php

Protect your wp-config.php file, which contains sensitive information such as database credentials. Move it to a higher-level directory. Again, this is best done by your developer because if these types of modifications are done incorrectly, you could break your site.

11. Disable Directory Listing

You can also prevent unauthorised access to directories by disabling directory listing. Browsing your website directory can put your website majorly at risk by showing all the important information to hackers. This in turn can be used to exploit vulnerabilities in your site’s plugins, themes, or even your hosting server.

12. User Control Permissions

Controlling user permissions is a critical aspect of WordPress security. By limiting user access to specific areas of your site based on their roles, you can effectively reduce potential risks and enhance overall protection. Assigning appropriate roles to users ensures that they only have access to the functionalities necessary for their tasks. For example, granting an editor the ability to publish and edit posts, but not install or delete plugins, prevents accidental or intentional changes that could jeopardise the site’s security.

13. Monitor File Changes

Use a security option to scan your website for file changes and alert you to any suspicious modifications. This helps detect and respond to potential malware or unauthorised code changes. This is particularly useful to monitor what is going on if you have many staff logins or people doing work on your site.

14. Secure Database

Change the default database prefix from “wp_” to something unique during the WordPress installation process. This makes it harder for attackers to guess your database table names.

15. Limit Plugin and Theme Usage

Only install and activate plugins and themes from trusted sources. Regularly review and remove unused plugins and themes to reduce the potential attack surface. There are so many times we have come across client sites that have plugins installed that they do not know what it does, it is not connected to an account, or just installed and not activated or even worse, up to date.

16. Disable XML-RPC

XML-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol that can be exploited by attackers. Unless you require specific XML-RPC functionality, it’s recommended to disable it. You can do this by adding extra code snippets to your site .htaccess file:

17. Regular Backups

Website hosting packages often offer backups of your WordPress website’s data, however, in some cases and depending on your provider, these backups may be limited in nature. Meaning, you can’t do it yourself, your site may only have one backup a week, or worse once a month. Backups are crucial in case of data loss due to security breaches, system failures, or human error. To improve WordPress security, have regular backups of your website that you can restore to a previous state and minimise potential damage or downtime, so it is important to review your backup protection level.

The Consequences of Neglecting WordPress Website Security

Neglecting the security of your WordPress website can have severe consequences for both your business and your visitors. Here are a few potential risks:

18. Data Breaches

A compromised website can expose sensitive customer information, such as names, addresses, and payment details. Data breaches not only damage your reputation but may also result in legal consequences and financial loss.

19. Malware Infections

Inadequate security measures make your WordPress website vulnerable to malware infections. Malware can disrupt website functionality, steal data, or even infect your visitors’ devices. This can lead to a loss of customer trust and negatively impact your website’s ranking in search engine results.

20. Downtime and Loss of Revenue

Security breaches can cause your WordPress website to go offline or become unavailable, resulting in downtime. Downtime leads to a loss of potential customers, revenue, and opportunities. Additionally, recovering from security incidents can be time-consuming and costly.

Invest in WordPress Security: Choose The Right Package

Ensuring the security of your WordPress website requires investing in a reliable website hosting and security package. Moreover, incorporating additional security measures, as previously mentioned, can greatly improve WordPress security and protection.

It is crucial to consistently update all plugins, themes, and WordPress core files, as well as regularly back up your website and monitor for security updates. These actions will help safeguard your website from potential threats.

Neglecting your website’s security can lead to severe consequences, such as data breaches, malware infections, and loss of revenue. By implementing these additional security measures, you can significantly bolster the security of your WordPress website.

If you require further advice on hosting or security for your WordPress website, just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

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