There is a critical importance to keeping your WordPress site secure and the first place that this derives from is understanding that Google is in the business of blacklisting unsafe sites. Every week, Google blacklists more than 10,000 sites due to malware and 50,000 get flagged for phishing each week. This means you need to become very familiar very fast with WordPress security practices. There are plenty of different things you can do in order to protect your site against hackers’ efforts and the insidious effects of malware.
The breadth of WordPress sites on the internet today is astounding. There are plenty of reputable blogs, ecommerce sites, and other types of internet sites using WordPress. In fact, it is estimated that a third of the web is powered by WordPress. This means security matters because if you are not securing a WordPress site, this could lead to vulnerabilities throughout the internet.
That said, security starts with the elimination of threats and reduction of risk. You do not need to be someone who is a tech wiz to understand how to work a WordPress site, just someone who is looking for the best ways to keep your site safe. Here are the best WordPress security measures for 2019.
Ensure WordPress is Always Updated
It is vitally important that your WordPress site is updated and maintained with regularity. The good news is that WordPress does the minor updates on its own but for the big things you need to make sure to manually trigger these updates. So, keep an eye out for updates.
The next thing to think about is the many plugins and themes that are installed and your site. These are also maintained by the developers who are releasing updates all the time to make sure that your plugin and theme is working correctly.
The updates from WordPress are essential for making sure your systems are stable on your WordPress site. This means the core, the themes, and the plugins are all up to date for your site to be secure.
Use Strong Passwords and Restrict Permissions
The biggest thing that causes breaches in WordPress security are stolen passwords. Making passwords that are unique the site and are really strong will help with these issues. There should be passwords everywhere, not just the Admin space. Whether it is FTP accounts, hosting accounts, your e-mail address – anything using your site’s domain is critical to have strong password protection.
Password managers are a great way to get around having to remember all sorts of different passwords. They keep all your passwords secured and encrypted, so all you need to do is use the password manager to get in and out of your account.
The other way to reduce risks to your site is simply not giving out your WordPress admin account. If there is an absolute necessity, then do it, otherwise make sure you set permission for your guest others and understand how to use roles and capabilities in the WordPress site to keep things running smoothly.
Get a Backup Solution Installed
The backup is the critical line of defense against any WordPress attack. The truth is nothing is completely secure, and if government sites have the ability to be hacked, then your site could be mere child’s play to determined hackers. The good thing about backups is they get your site back to where it was before the attack happened.
When looking for a WordPress backup, you can choose a free or paid service. The key is knowing that you must save a full site backup to a remote location. This means you can’t have it saved to your site, because if your site is compromised, so is your backup. There are several storage options including clouds like Amazon Web Services or Dropbox. You can also use private cloud services such as Stash.
Depending on your updating frequency, you may want to back it up at least once per day or do real-time backups. There are several plugins that do this automatically, and you need not worry about having to write code to get it done.
Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)
When protecting your WordPress site, the web application firewall, or WAF, is something that is really easy and will give you confidence that your site will be alright. The website firewall does a good job blocking bad news before it gets to your site. However, there are two firewalls that you should be aware of.
- DNS Level Firewall: Your site traffic gets sent through the cloud proxy servers which means the only traffic getting to your site is the real deal, not malicious stuff.
- Application Level Firewall: Once traffic reaches your server, it is examined before the WordPress scripts are loaded. This is an effective firewall, but the DNS level is far better because it reduces the server load.
Using these firewalls is a great way to keep problems away from you before they ever arrive at your doorstep. They are very effective at shielding your WordPress site from many of the things that would compromise it if the firewall was not present.
Move Your WordPress Site to SSL/HTTPS
The best tool to keep your site free from malicious actors is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) because what it does is encrypt the data being transferred from the website to the browser being used by the user. This encryption makes it harder to steal the information.
When SSL is enabled the site will use HTTPS instead of regular HTTP and you’ll see a nice little padlock icon adjacent to the site’s address in the browser. SSL certificates are provided by the authorities and the prices range from $80 up to several hundred dollars each year. The cost is why many sites use the unsecure protocol instead of going to SSL.
However, thanks to Let’s Encrypt, there are now free SSL certificates being offered. The good news is that Google Chrome, Mozilla, Facebook, and several other big companies are supporting this initiative. Many hosting companies are also offering free SSL certificates with WordPress sites as well.
Domain.com is also where you can purchase SSL certificates and they have the best deal. There is a $10,000 warranty and the TrustLogo security seal, which means that your site will be certified secure.
Need more help? Check out this guide to set up and monetize a WordPress blog!