Your WordPress website is a major investment when it comes to your business. Not only is your financial investment at risk, but also the time and effort you’ve put into building your site, writing content, and keeping it relevant can all be lost if your site isn’t secure. That is why it’s important to take the time necessary to protect your investment and learn the best practices when it comes to website security.
Visitors from all over the world may land on your site, and if it isn’t secure, you run the risk of exposing data collected on your website or contracting a malicious virus known as malware which could break your website and take you offline completely and indefinitely! If malware is detected on your website, you could even get blacklisted by search engines like Google which will hurt your SEO rankings.
1. Choose Wisely When Selecting Your Hosting Provider
When selecting your hosting company, there are several things you’ll want to consider, cost being only one of them. You can purchase hosting services from a few dollars a month to a few hundred dollars a month or even thousands depending on your needs. There are so many options for hosting providers, but I promise, all hosts are not created equal. Although budget is important, I definitely don’t recommend going with the cheapest host you can find. In the end, cheap can become very expensive very quickly. Beyond finding a service that fits your budget, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a company that will provide the level of service and security you need based on the size of your site, the amount of traffic you anticipate, and your own level of technical expertise. A good host will offer site backups in case something happens to your site, security monitoring to keep track of software vulnerabilities, and SSL certificates to keep your data safe. Definitely spend some time comparing hosting providers and choose a provider that will work hard to keep your site safe and give you peace of mind! It’s one less thing you want to be worried about as a business owner.
2. Keep Your WordPress Version Updated
Always remember that every WordPress update is necessary. The changes that the developers do are usually additional features that upgrade security. Updating your WordPress with the latest version will protect your site against hackers. Moreover, updating your plug-ins and premium themes are also essential. Minor updates are usually downloaded automatically. On the other hand, major updates should be downloaded manually from your WordPress admin dashboard. Be sure to backup your site before performing any updates, just in case there is a piece of software that is not compatible with the newest version.
3. Use A WordPress Security Plugin
Installing a WordPress security plugin, like WordFence or Securi is highly beneficial as it provides additional protection by regularly scanning your website for malware. Daily scanning of your site is necessary because attacks happen fast and hackers come without warning! Just like there are many hosts, there are many security plugins. Some offer additional features such as the ability to block bots from accessing your site, monitor the integrity of your files, and secure your login process. Again, you’ll want to spend some time comparing plugins. There are actually some free plugins, though not the best on the market, I definitely recommend something over nothing. A good security plugin will not only defend your site against hackers, but will also prevent future attacks, remove malware, clean your website, and even add a firewall.
However, if you choose not to use these third party plugins and want to manually secure your WordPress website, here are a few tips:
- Always update your WordPress software, your plugins, and themes.
- Apply the principle of least privilege, by giving admin privileges to those users who execute major tasks like installing themes, editing settings, and updating plugins.
- Change the default admin username.
- It is highly recommended for high-level users to use strong passwords.
- Always backup your website
- Use plugins and themes that are essential. Delete the unused ones to make your site more secure.
- To enhance your WordPress security, force users to log in using the secure SSL protocol. But it is only applicable if you have an SSL certificate.
4. Always Consider Using a Strong and Secure Password
Using a strong and secure password is highly essential for it will provide your site maximum protection. Hackers can surely break into your site if you’re using very weak and simple passwords. Passwords such as “12345678” or “abc123” are very easy to recall, but on the negative side, they are also very easy to guess.
It is much preferable if you use complex passwords. Include numbers and symbols on your password. Remember, the longer and crazier your password is, the harder it will be to get deciphered. You can also use a passphrase, a collection of common words put together. Just make sure it is easy to remember, but hard to crack!
5. Use Premium Themes
Using premium themes on your WordPress site is much safer and more convenient. Although there are tons of free themes available, they often are packed with malicious software so your doomed from the very beginning. Premium themes, purchased from a reputable brand are coded by professional developers and they are safer to use. One reason premium themes are more secure is because they are typically updated on a regular basis to keep up with the latest versions of WordPress. The theme developer will notify you when the update is available so that you can install the latest version.
Please be fully aware that some websites offer free themes also known as nulled or cracked themes. They might look premium, but they are hacked, and using them is illegal. Applying these themes on your site is dangerous because these nulled or cracked themes usually carry unknown codes that can harm your site and illegally access your personal information.
6. SSL (Single Sockets Layer) Certificate Should be Installed
Installing this certificate will surely benefit your website and your search engine rankings. SSL is used to encrypt sensitive information sent over the internet. If your site handles personal information like credit card info and passwords, you are required to install an SSL certificate. This will help protect and encrypt all the personal information you handle. Without this certificate, all of the data can become viewable by hackers.
As a business owner, your website is a significant investment of time and resources. Protect that investment by securing your website. Your customers are depending on you to protect the personal information and customer data they enter on your website. I’ve listed just a few steps you can take to help you do just that! All of this may seem a little too complicated at first, but doing these steps will surely be worth it to protect your investment and your brand. If you have questions or decide you don’t want to go the DIY route, sign up for one of our CLEVER Care Plans, or check out these other articles to learn more about website security.