10 Tips for Boosting WordPress Security

Anyone will agree that exposing a website to the danger of being hacked is simply not an option. That is why having a secure WordPress website is of paramount importance and boosting WordPress security is more than necessary.

Regardless of the fact that the premium themes are usually as secure as they can possibly be, there are always potential risks that we have no control over. In order to keep his/hers website secure, every website owner needs to pay attention to the possible security risks.

The following are 10 tips for increasing the security of your WordPress website:

1. Choose a good hosting company to host your site with.

The statistics are that 41 per cent of all attempts at hacking result from a vulnerability in a hosting platform. Choosing a quality hosting company to host your website with is important in terms of security. Sign up with a hosting company that takes security serious and has the following:

– Supports the latest MySQL and PHP versions
– Is well optimized to run WordPress
– Has a firewall optimized for WordPress
– Has intrusive file detection capability and scans for malware
– Has a well trained staff capable of dealing with security issues related to WordPress.

2. Update. Update. Update.

New WordPress releases contain critical fixes and patches addressing all kinds of vulnerabilities. Older version of WordPress have known security issues and are often intentionally targeted by hackers. Don’t ignore the messages prompting you to update.

3. Use strong passwords.

Many WordPress websites fall victim to weak or easy to guess passwords. If you use a password such as “password”, “admin”, or “123456”, you should change it to something more secure immediately.

Although there are some passwords that are easy to remember but hard to crack, I would recommend using a password manager like KeePass 2. The tool not only generates passwords of excellent strength but also stores them securely in a database.

4. Your username shouldn’t be “admin”.

Many attempts at hacking a WordPress site employ brute force attacks trying to guess the login credentials of a site. If you use a username such as “admin”, half of their work is already done.

If your password is weak and you use “admin” as your username, your site’s vulnerability to malicious attacks is high. Changing your username to something that is not so easy to guess is your first step to better security.

5. Do not display your username through the author archive page.

The author archive pages on your site present hackers with a way to learn your username.

Out of the box, WordPress uses your author archive page to display your username. For example, if your username is John, the author archive URL will be http://yourwebsite.com/autor/John.

Most likely this isn’t what you want, and it is a good practice to change the entry user_nicename in your database to hide your username.

6. Disallow the editing of files via the dashboard.

WordPress allows you to edit all your theme and plugin files directly through your dashboards by navigating to Appearance -> Editor. The problem with this is that if a hacker gains access to the admin area of your dashboard, he can enter and run any code his wants.

The solution is to disable file editing by adding a line of code to your wp-config.php file, which can be access through the default WordPress directory on your hosting account:

define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );

7. Limit the number of login attempts.

Brute-force attack is often the preferred method hackers use to gain entry to a website. Limiting the number of login attempts from one IP address is often a good way to prevent such an attack.

The Limit Login Attempts plugin accomplishes just that. It gives you the option to limit the number of login attempts by a single IP address and decide for how long this address will be prevented from subsequent login attempts.

Although many hackers have a way of bypassing this through the use of many different IP addresses and proxy servers, this plugin adds an additional layer of defense to your secure WordPress website and boosting WordPress security.

8. Backup your website regularly.

Many people disregard this advice until it is too late. It is very important to regularly backup your website so that you have different restore points when something bad and unexpected happens.

You never know what may happen to your website at any given time even when you have the best security in place.

There are numerous both free and paid solutions for backing up your site that allow you to even schedule regular backups to sites like Dropbox.

9. Avoid themes that are free or of unknown origin.

If you want to use secure and high-quality themes, stay away from free themes (unless you acquire them from WordPress.org). As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid using free themes and themes used by developers with dubious reputation.

If you are unwilling to pay for a premium theme, it is usually better to stick with the repository of themes at WordPress.org – your best bet for quality free WP themes.

10. Choose a security plugin.

What’s better than a bundled solution for a more secure WordPress website. Although there are many security plugins and I’ve tried several of these, my favorite is All In One WP Security & Firewall. The plugin is stable, well-supported and easy to use. You don’t need to necessarily use this one, however. Make up your own mind on what works best for you!

There are also plugins for WordPress page security that allow admins to set restrictions to pages and create user membership groups.

You are not required to follow all these tips to the letter either. They are just individual layers of protection that add up to the overall WordPress security. Even if you only change the admin username and change your password to something more complicated and difficult to guess, you would have already made your WP website more secure.

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