It is true that WordPress has revolutionized how we build websites. It took the cost of building a site from thousands of dollars to a mere hundred and for those that might be conversant with the platform, they may not even have to cough up a penny. However, with the increased number of sites, there is also increased security risks. News about sites being hacked have become the order of the day and it is your duty to protect yourself and your readers or clientele by taking necessary steps to make sure you do not expose yourself to the risks of cybercrime which is spreading like a wildfire. Just in case you are wondering how you would be able to do this, here are some great suggestions.
Use a strong password.
Statistics show that the most used password by individuals is “password.” Any clever hacker knows this and before they try any savvy tricks, they will always try this and other commonly used passwords. This is why you have to make sure that you have unique and strong passwords. Not only are they harder to get by, but they also offer a valuable security blanket to your site and do not cost you a dime. It may sound simple, but it is effective.
Use a 2-step verification procedure.
Ideally, you would just need to have your username and password to access your WordPress site. With a 2 step verification process, once you have keyed in these details, there is a one-time code that is generated and sent usually to a smartphone device whose number you provide that you then type in when prompted by the site to gain access. It gives you extra precaution since the only way that anyone can be able to log into the site is by having the code and they would need to have your phone number to get it.
This is something that most WordPress site owners figure is meant for Google news. However, the real essence of having updates is to fix bugs, security holes that the technicians might have found and introduce new features some of which might be to improve the state of the site’s security. If not for the new features or the news, you should at least stay afloat with updates and what they have to offer for the sake of the security holes that might have been identified and resolved to protect yourself from being an easy and soft target.
Opt for managed hosting.
You may have to pay more for this kind of hosting but rest assured that the benefits that come with it will make the extra price that you will be paying seem like a drop of water in the ocean. As opposed to the traditional methods of hosting like sharing and unmanaged hosting, managed WordPress hosting ensures that your site is automatically updated, disables plugins that are known to cause problems with performance and security depending on the service that you are using. All this is done without you having to intervene to bolster the security of your site which is quite beneficial since some of the attacks might happen when you are not present.
Be vigilant on the plugins and themes you choose.
There are new plugins released every day. A great number of these are designed to give you, your users and your website a better experience. However, not all are able to achieve this. There is actually a vast number of plugins that could cause your site more harm than good. You have to pick themes and plugins that are regularly updated to avoid this. It might not be a stamp of assurance that these are secure but in the least, should there be a security lapse identified, it can be fixed on the updates.
Another tip that you should consider when getting new plugins and themes for your site is going for those that have been audited and reviewed by third parties especially on the security features. This information is usually available in the description of the plug in or theme and can give you some peace of mind since such parties will not be biased about their findings.
Always verify your users.
Many sites are using this tactic nowadays and saying that it works would be an understatement. You have to verify that the people that are using your site are actually humans and not some automated system. This can be done by using the reCAPTCHA forms that are available. It protects the site against giving access to botnets that would attempt to force a login into your WordPress site. The reCAPTCHA part is usually not automated and hence the botnets cannot get over it. It is an impressive clinical way of handling among the biggest threats there is to your website. The botnets!
Double-check your folder and file permissions.
This is particularly important if you are not having your WordPress hosting done using a managed hosting platform. You have to make sure that your files and folders have the correct permissions and ownerships to keep hackers from exploiting careless file security to take control of the site. This also gives WordPress a chance to keep itself updated which as stated earlier is quite critical in preventing hacks.
Keep your site clean.
Old themes and plugins that are sitting there unused could be a security threat to your site. They go for years without receiving a single update and are a golden gateway for hackers. While it is important to keep your site up to date, you also have to make sure that you remove all the plugins and themes that you are not using. This also makes it easier for you to manage your site and should your site be compromised, it will give the security professionals an easier task in trying to recover it.
Be critical about who does your hosting.
The bigger picture here is to be more concerned about how the hosting is done. As mentioned earlier, it would be best to go for managed hosting. It is an added advantage if the WordPress hosting service offers you server side scanning, clean-up of malwares and has a small number of sites, then you might be on the right track especially if you are going for shared hosting. Keep in mind that with shared hosting, the greater then number of websites that you are sharing the platform with, the higher the insecurity factor.
It is impossible that you will ever be able to keep up with the hackers. However, by improving the security of your site, you give yourself a fighting chance should they come beckoning and even better, you make sure that they sweat hard enough for it. Who knows? Thanks to your efforts, they might even leave a footprint or two that could land them in prison.