WordPress Security Tips

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free and open-source web creation platform. It is written in PHP and paired with an MYSQL and MariaDB database. It has a template system and a plugin architecture, which is referred to within WordPress themes.

WordPress is an excellent website platform for numerous websites. WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) from blogging to e-commerce to business and portfolio websites. They are designed with usability and flexibility. It is an excellent solution for small as well as large websites.

A WordPress website uses WordPress as its content management system (CMS). WordPress powers both the frontend (the visible part of the website that your visitors see on the web) and backend of the website (the interface where a user logs in to make changes or add new content)

Types of websites that you can build with WordPress

Blogs

It is a particular type of website used for sharing thoughts, reviews, photos, tutorials, recipes, and much more. Blogs usually display the most recently published content first.

E-commerce website

An e-commerce website allows for selling goods or services online and collecting payment via an online payment system; for this, you can install a WordPress e-commerce plugin. This plugin extends the default functionality of WordPress so you can have an online store on your website.

Business website

Online presence in the form of a website will benefit the business in this digital world. WordPress is an excellent option If your business needs a website for customers and you want them to learn about your company and what you have to offer. Customers can contact you and ask for a quote, schedule an appointment, and much more.

Membership website

To put content behind a paywall or an account login membership website is the most authentic option. Users must have to log in or pay for the content to access the pages or post on them. With additional plugins, WordPress can also handle membership websites.

Portfolio website

With a portfolio website built on WordPress, you can show off your artwork, design skills, and much more.

Forum website

A forum website can be a helpful place for users who wants to ask a question or wants to share a piece of advice. Either you believe it or not, top forum websites are running on WordPress.

Event website

Want to host an event? WordPress makes it much easy for you to share all your event details and sell tickets through it.

E-learning website

Most convenient type of website for students, as they can take online classes or courses, download resources, track their progress, and many more from this kind of website. WordPress LMS is a special kind of plugin, and you can offer many online courses.

Wedding website

Want to share the details of your most memorable day? With this built on WordPress, you can share your details. You can get a website very quickly and easily with an array of WordPress wedding themes.

When it comes to the customization of a WordPress website, these possibilities are endless. WordPress themes and plugins are used to add new design options, and they are added through functionality. For free themes and plugins, you can check out WordPress.org.

Difference Between WordPress.com & WordPress.org

If you’re just getting attached to WordPress, there are a few things to be under consideration about WordPress. Initially, you’ll need to know what is the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

If you are a new WordPress user, then the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org can be a little bit confusing. Hosted and self-hosted websites are the significant difference between WordPress.org WordPress.com; selection between them majorly depends on the level of control a user wants to manage their website and over the design.

Hosted and Self Hosted Sites

Suppose the user has full access to all the site files, code and can deploy them in the way the user wants to, then it is a self-hosting site. These sites have their domain name and are hosted by several web hosting providers. They make server space available for self-hosted sites of all types. Owners of self-hosted sites have the freedom to make any changes to the site files to customize the website and add required functions.

A hosted site uses web space provided by a hosting company and a full-service solution for those who want to publish their website quickly and without dealing with design, site maintenance, or any other major technical issues. WordPress a hosted platform that runs on the popular WordPress software.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is known as the hosted version of WordPress, or you can say that it provides all the tools of WordPress sites and take care of all the ongoing management of the site. Without much coding expertise, it gives users a WordPress platform for getting a site up. Users need to signup for the free account, pick a theme they like, and start publishing.Wordpress.com offers multiple plans that start with basic free accounts. For adding more like custom themes, you can move towards paid plans. Paid Plans include three categories Personal, Premium, Business. These plans allow you to customize your websites the way you want to, but each plan also has its limitations.
With much ease and convenience, wordpress.com has some drawbacks also. As the user upgrades the paid plan, it includes the custom domain name. So wordpress.com always has a site extension wordpress.com in the site name.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is known as self-hosted WordPress or the home of WordPress software files; these files are the collection of templates that are in the PHP programming language and can be modified by any user. With its vast collection of customizable templates and plugins for added functionality and a visual text editor. Beginners and experienced designers can use WordPress.

WordPress Features

WordPress is a website building platform and Customer Management System; it boasts an impressive feature set. Here are just a few features. SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for website ranking. It begins at a technical level and delivers an excellent code base for SEO. It allows your website’s content to be found through standard search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo.

Speed

WordPress is a very lean website framework as it is constantly striving to remove code that slows down the loading speed.

Mobile-friendly

Mostly, WordPress themes are now mobile-friendly and much responsive.

Media file library

In WordPress, there is a built-in media library. You can upload media files such as videos or images into your site pages or posts. Even you can perform edits to your images.

Easy user interface

WordPress is elementary and convenient to use with having simple settings. If you can understand the use of a WordPress processor, you can easily use WordPress. WordPress also focuses on accessibility and convenience.

Custom menus

WordPress makes it convenient to create navigation menus with different links to your pages or custom links.

Built-in blog

You can add a blog to your website, and with WordPress, it much simple, the same as publishing posts.

The WordPress block editor

WordPress 5.0 introduced the new Block Editor. With this editor, you can design and arrange your content with a more flexible “drag and drop” approach.

Basics of WordPress Security

Why is WordPress security important?

A hacked WordPress site can cause significant damage to your business reputation and revenue. Hackers steal user information and passwords, and even they can install malicious software and distribute malware.

Worst, you may be paying ransomware to hackers to regain access to your website. If your site is related to business, you need to spend much extra attention on your WordPress security.

Like how it’s the business owners’ responsibility to protect their physical store building, it is your responsibility to protect your business website as an online business owner.

Keep WordPress Updated

WordPress is open-source software that is regularly maintained and updated. By default, automatically minor updates are installed in WordPress. You need to initiate the update manually for the major release.

WordPress comes with numerous plugins and themes, and you can install these plugins on the website. Third-party developers maintain these themes and plugins, and they regularly release updates. These updates are crucial for the security and stability of the WordPress site. It would be helpful if you made sure that either your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are up to date or not.

Strong Password and User Permission

The most common WordPress hacking attempts mostly use stolen passwords. You can make that much difficult by using stronger passwords that are unique to the website. The WordPress admin area and FTP accounts, database, WordPress account, and custom email address use the site’s domain name.

Many beginners don’t like using strong passwords as they are hard to memorize. The best thing is that there is no need to remember passwords. You can use a password manager. You can reduce the risk by not giving your WordPress admin account access to anyone unless there is a significant need.

If you have a large team and guest authors, then make sure that you must understand the roles of users and their capabilities in WordPress before you add new user accounts and authors to your WordPress site.

WordPress Hosting Roles

Your WordPress hosting service plays the most crucial role in the security of your WordPress site. A well-shared hosting seimaxim.com takes extra measures to protect its servers against threats on your site.

Here is how an exceptional web hosting company works in the back to protect your websites and secure your data.

  • Continuously monitor their network for any suspicious activities.
  • All good hosting companies have tools that help to prevent DDOS attacks.
  • To stop hackers from exploiting a known security vulnerability in an old version, and server software, PHP versions, and hardware are always up to date.
  • These companies are ready to deploy disaster recovery and plans, allowing them to protect your data from insignificant attacks and accidents.
  • On a shared hosting plan, you do share the server resources with other customers.
  • Shared hosting opens the risk of cross-site contamination. With this, hackers can use a neighbor’s site to attack a website.
  • To get more secure platforms for your website, managed WordPress Hosting service is the best option. Managed WordPress companies offer automatic WordPress updates, automatic backups, and more advanced security configurations to protect your websites.

WordPress Security in Easy Steps (Without any Coding)

As we know that improving WordPress security can be much terrifying thought for beginners. Especially if you’re not a techie. Here we will show how you can improve your WordPress security with no coding.

Install WordPress Backup

Backups are the first defense against WordPress attacks. Nothing is fully secure.
Backups allow you to restore your WordPress site before something bad happens.

There are WordPress Backup Plugins (free and paid) that can be used. The most important thing you must know about backups is that you save full-site backups regularly but not in your hosting account. Storing data on a cloud service like Dropbox or private clouds like Stash is much better.

WordPress Security Plugins

After backups, the next important thing needs to do is to set up a monitoring system. The monitoring system will keep track of everything on your site. This includes failed login attempts, file integrity monitoring, malware scanning, and much more. This plugin is powerful; browse through all the tabs settings to view all that it does, such as Audit logs, Malware scanning, Failed Login Attempts, etc.

Enable Web Application Firewall

The easiest method to protect your website and be confident about WordPress security is using a web application firewall. A website firewall blocks malicious traffic before it even reaches the website.

DNS Level Website Firewall

These firewalls route the website traffic through cloud proxy servers. This cloud proxy server allows sending genuine traffic to the webserver.
Application Level Firewall: These firewall plugins analyze the traffic once it reaches the server but before loading WordPress scripts. This method is not much efficient as the DNS level firewall is in reducing the server load.

Move Your WordPress to SSL

SSL encrypts the data transfer between a website and a user’s browser. This encryption makes it much harder for someone to steal any information.

Once SSL got enabled, your website will use HTTPS instead of HTTP, and in the browser, you will see a padlock sign next to the website address.
It is easier to start using SSL for all WordPress websites as many hosting companies offer free SSL certificates. If your hosting company does not offer it, then you can purchase from Seimaxim.com.

Change the default admin name

In the past, the default WordPress admin username was “admin.” this made it easier for hackers to make brute-force attacks. WordPress has changed this and now requires you to select a username of your own while installing WordPress.

Methods to change the User name

  • Delete the old one and create a new user admin name.
  • Username Changer plugin can be used
  • Update username from phpMyAdmin

Disable File Editing

WordPress has a built-in code editor and allows editing theme and plugin files right from the WordPress admin area. If it is not in the right hand, this feature can be a security risk, so we recommend turning it off.

Disable PHP File Execution

Disabling PHP file execution in directories is another way to harden your WordPress security where it’s not needed, such as /wp-content/uploads/. You only need to open a text editor and paste the following code

deny from all

You have to save this file as .htaccess, upload it to /wp-content/uploads/ folders on your website, and use an FTP Client.

Use Limit Login Attempts

By default, WordPress allows users to log in multiple times and cause your WordPress site to be vulnerable to brute force attacks. With different combinations, hackers can crack the passwords.

Somebody can quickly fix WordPress by limiting the failed login attempts. If you’re using the web application firewall mentioned earlier, it automatically takes care of all these issues.

Add Two Factor Authentication

For Two Factor Authentication, users need to log in by using two-step authentication steps. The first one is the setup username and password, and the second step requires you to authenticate using a separate device or app.

Most top online websites like Google, Twitter, Facebook allow you to enable your accounts, and you can add these functionalities to your WordPress site.
First, install and activate the Two Factor Authentication plugin. Upon activation, you have to click on the ‘Two Factor Auth’ link present in the admin sidebar.

Next, you have to open an authenticator app on your phone. There are numerous apps that you can install, like Google Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator, and Authy.LastPass Authenticator or Authy allows you to back up your accounts to the cloud. This is very helpful if your phone is reset, lost, or you purchase a new phone. Somebody will very quickly restore all accounts

You will get the option that if you like to scan the bar code or scan a site manually. You need to select the scan bar code option and then point your phone’s camera on the QRcode on the plugin’s Settings page. Your authentication app will save it. Next time you only have to log in to the website. You have to provide the two-factor auth code after entering your password.

WordPress Database Prefix Needs to be Changed

In your WordPress DataBase, wp_ is used as the prefix for all tables. If the WordPress website site uses the database prefix set by default, hackers can easily guess the table name. This is the reason we recommend it.

Note: This can break your site if it’s not done correctly. Only proceed if you feel comfortable with your coding skills.

Password Protects the WordPress and Login Pages

Usually, without any restrictions, hackers request your wp-admin folder and login page. This allows hackers to attempt hacking tricks or can run DDoS attacks.
You have to add additional password protection on a server-side level. This protection will block all requests.

Disable Directory Indexing Browsing

Hackers can use the directory to find any vulnerabilities to take advantage of these files to get access. People can use directory browsing to look into your files, copy images, find out your directory structure, and additional information. That’s why it is highly recommended to turn off directory indexing. You have to connect website using cPanel’s file manager or FTP. Then locate the .htaccess file in the website’s root directory.

Then you have to add the following line at the end of the .htaccess file:
Options –Indexes

Need To Disable XML-RPC in WordPress

XML-RPC was by default enabled in WordPress 3.5 because it helps to connect your WordPress site with web and mobile apps. Because of its robust nature, XML-RPC can significantly amplify brute-force attacks.

Let’s have an example that traditionally, if a hacker wants to try 100 different passwords on your website, they would have to make 100 different login attempts which will be blocked by the login lockdown plugin.

But with XML-RPC, hackers can use the system. multicall function and can try thousands of passwords with minimum requests. This is why if you don’t need XML-RPC, then it is better to disable it.

Automatically Logged out Idle Users in WordPress

Logged-in users sometimes wander away from the screen, and this is the reason that causes a security risk. Someone changes passwords or can make changes to the account.
That’s the reason many banking and financial sites automatically log out. You can implement the same functionality on your site.
You should activate the plugin named Inactive Logout.

Must Add Security Question

Add security question to WordPress login screen; it will make more challenging to make unauthorized access. Add security questions with the installation of the WP Security Questions plugin. With activation, you have to visit the Settings » Security Questions page to configure the plugin settings.

Scan WordPress for Vulnerabilities and Malware

If the WordPress security plugin is installed, then those plugins will check malware and signs of security breaches daily. If you have a sudden drop in your website traffic or search rankings, you may want to run a scan manually. You can use the WordPress security plugin or use Malware and Security Scanners. Running these online scans is relatively straightforward enter your website URLs; their crawlers will go through your website to look for malware and any malicious code.

Remember that most WordPress security scanners can only scan your website but cannot remove any malware or clean a hacked WordPress site.

Fix a Hacked WordPress Site

  • Most WordPress users don’t realize the importance of backups and website security until their website gets hacked.
  • Cleaning up a WordPress site is difficult. Let a professional take care of it.
  • Hackers install a backdoor on affected sites, and if backdoors are not fixed correctly, the website will get hacked again.
  • Allow a professional security company like seimaxim.com to fix your website and to ensure that your site is safe to use again and also protects against any future attacks.

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