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How to make your WordPress site harder to hack

How to make your WordPress site harder to hack post images
Image courtesy of Behance

Written By : Liam Webster

Posted 15/11/2019

WordPress is, without a doubt, the most popular Content Management System (CMS), and for good reason. It’s incredibly simple to use and there’s an abundance of features available for it as well. Absolutely anyone and everyone can make use of WordPress, but its popularity can come with its risks.

Like many other popular online systems, websites created through WordPress can on occasion be vulnerable to hacking, which can take time, effort and money to resolve. However, the vast majority of hacking cases stem from little to no effort being made by the website owners to prevent hacking in the first place.

With some careful thought, planning and proactive measures put in place, the chances of your own WordPress site being hacked can be trimmed down significantly. Find out what you can do to make your WordPress site much harder to hack, right here.

Take the time to keep everything up to date

From your themes and plugins, to the WordPress software itself, take the time to keep all aspects of your WordPress site up to date, to prevent the likelihood of hacking. When updates are announced, hacks become more prominent against outdated sites, so by updating as soon as you can, you’re less likely to suffer from this trend.

In a report by Sucuri it was estimated that 39.9% of hacked WordPress sites were down to the fact that WordPress was out of date.

At the very least, we would recommend dropping into your site once a month to check for any updates that need seeing to. Make it part of your routine and you’ll be adding further to your website’s hacking protection.

Keep your passwords original

It happens all too often where individuals and business owners will use the same password for anything and everything, including their WordPress website. If just one of your online accounts get hacked, there’s a chance that all of them could be hacked in very little time, all because the same password was used throughout.

The first step to prevent your WordPress website from being hacked (as well as many of your other online accounts), is to keep your passwords original. Each password should be unique to another, to prevent any links between accounts and to stop hackers from making their way through your online assets.

You should also avoid using passwords that are overly personal or memorable to you. It’s becoming easier and easier for hackers to guess passwords based on an individual’s lifestyle, so try to use passwords that are completely random. If you’re worried about forgetting your passwords, sign up to a password management system such as LastPass.

Top Tip: You can also implement a 2-step login to your WordPress site, which will require an additional proof of identification as well as your password.

Replace any themes or plugins that are no longer maintained

When you’re performing your updates, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any themes or plugins that you use, that haven’t been updated in quite a while.

You’ll find that many plugins and themes are created by developers, who will stick around for some time before moving on to pursue their next project. However, little to no maintenance brings about the potential for hackers to get into the system, which can lead them into your own WordPress site.

Not to worry though, as by simply looking for the last time a support question was answered, the star ratings and when the last update occurred, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to continue using that particular theme or plugin, with the safety of your website in mind.

Update your login URL

The vast majority of WordPress website can be logged into via wp-login or wp-admin, but by changing the login URL to one that’s less predictable, you’ll be protecting your WordPress site from those nasty bulk automated attacks.

You can change your login URL through the iThemes security plugin.

Switch from http to https

When data is sent from one party to another, there’s the risk of someone jumping in-between and intercepting the data that’s being transferred. This is sometimes referred to as a man in the middle attack, which can become a pretty big issue for WordPress site owners, particularly those running a business from it.

The simplest way to prevent these types of attacks is by switching from http to https.This will implement and encrypted link between a browser and a web server, which optimises the website for security.

Sign up to a web host with security checks included

Here at Identify, we offer web hosting services to our clients and take pride in offering a service which has security at the forefront. This is part of the reason why we only host websites we build on our servers, as we can ensure that the websites on there have the recommended security measures and procedures in place. However, if you’re not one of our clients or are looking for an alternative you can see some of our advice on choosing an alternative below.

We’d always recommend putting the extra money into your web hosting. For example, you could pay that little extra to have your WordPress site hosted with the likes of WP Engine and Flywheel, which include regular security scans and fixes as part of their hosting fee. You should still do as much as you can yourself to keep your website protected from hackers, but having a helping hand available is well worth the additional cost.

Perform regular website backups

Although this step won’t help to prevent a website hack, it will certainly benefit you in the aftermath. If you website unfortunately falls victim to hacking, a backup could help to restore your website to its former glory, once it’s fixed and back up and running again.

Backups will come especially in handy if the hack has affected your database, so it’s well worth spending a little time every so often, backing up your website’s content and data.

These are just a few of the simple ways in which you can work to prevent your WordPress website from being hacked, with some more advanced options available too. If you would like to discuss your website’s security with our specialist team, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to offer some tips, tricks and advice.

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