It is no news that WordPress is the most popular CMS used across the world to build websites. WordPress holds 37% of the web. Being that popular comes with certain disadvantages. It is not that only WordPress website security gets hacked though. All websites have different kinds of vulnerabilities that can be hacked into. WordPress security is just one of the most common targets of hackers. This is the reason why the number of sites built on WordPress that gets hacked is on the higher side.

WordPress Security Measures for your website

The WordPress community is a large one, and it is thus expected that the security team would have provisions to tackle such attacks. But is the WordPress security team fully responsible for the security of a website? The answer is “No”.

Again, before we answer the question “Is WordPress secure?”, let us look at some pointers to understand where the vulnerabilities lie and what can be done to make WordPress secure.

  • Poor hosting environment and technology
    • Your hosting environment and the technologies that you use make a difference too. The older the versions, the more are the chances of an attack being successful. Using a secure hosting environment and the latest versions of technologies helps ensure that your WordPress website is safe.
  • No SSL certificate activated on the site
    • Every WordPress website should have SSL certificates activated.
    • Add these 2 lines manually in your wp-config file to apply SSL forcefully :
      • define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);
      • define(‘FORCE_SSL_LOGIN’, true);
  • Insecure credentials for WordPress, Ftp, hosting accounts, .htaccess file
    • Basic steps to keep the account credentials secure can prevent malicious attacks from walking right in. Use strong passwords for all accounts.
    • Set file permissions as per protocol, for example, files should have 644 and folders should have 755 permissions respectively.
    • Change your WordPress credentials regularly.
  • Not keeping your site updated with the latest versions of WordPress core.
    • The best practice from a security viewpoint is to update your WordPress version regularly and have the latest version installed at any time. This process gets rid of malicious attacks which might be injected into the core files.
  • Not keeping your plugins and themes up to date
    • WordPress has a huge library of plugins. Each plugin is a potential threat to a website if it is not developed and tested using all WordPress standards, and if it is not updated regularly.
    • Plugins and themes are the weakest windows that can welcome attacks. Before installing a plugin, make sure to check its credibility and the reviews it has received. The most important fact to check is whether it is updated and compatible with the latest WordPress core.
  • Nulled themes and plugins
    • Never use nulled themes and plugins, because they might contain malicious codes and can break your site. Always remember to install themes and plugins from WordPress repositories and buy paid plugins from secure sources.
  • Poor coding standard practice
    • Coding standards matter the most. Your WordPress website should have a clean code structure.
    • Check your code once it is developed using unit testing and code scanners for code smells, bugs and issues.
    • Maintain indentation and comments in your code to be able to learn the functions of the code later.
    • WordPress provides functions like “Nonce” and “Sanitization” to make your form submission and form data secure. These functions also prevent cross-site scripting, so you need to make sure that all custom forms are sanitized before submitting.
    • Add server-side and client-side validations for maximum data security. This is because in case the browser fails to validate the data, the server script can validate it.
  • Insecure WP config file
    • Configure the WordPress security keys (SALT keys).
    • Change the database prefix.
    • Secure your wp-config file by giving it only the required file permissions.
    • You can also set rules in the .htaccess file to prevent editing of the wp-config file.
    • Disable editor from wp-admin by adding this line to the config file :
      • define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true);
  • No protection rules were added in the .htaccess file

Add these rules to secure the .htaccess file :

  • Protect wp-config file
  • Protect .htacess file
  • Protect other file types
  • Disable directory listing/browsing
  • Disable Server Signature
  • Hide PHP errors
  • Limit upload size
  • Gaps in the security of admin panel and login page

To secure the admin panel and login page, follow these measures :

  • Rename login page URL
  • Enable Two-factor Authentication (2FA)
  • Do not have admin in your username
  • Create a strong password using Small letters, Capital letters, Numbers, and Special Character
  • Add Google Captcha to the login page
  • Limit the number of login attempts – Set a maximum number of login attempts to prevent attacks
  • Delete default posts, pages & plugins
  • Delete themes and plugins you do not use
  • Install SSL plugin
  • Enable Continuous Monitoring Migration
  • Approve comments manually
  • No periodical backups and cleaning of database 
  • You should take periodical backups regularly.
  • It is compulsory to clean unnecessary files, orphan meta-data, and expired transients, and remove unnecessary comments/pingbacks to keep your website fresh and safe. You will find many plugins to facilitate this process periodically.

The best WordPress security is now at your disposal

We sincerely hope that you will be able to protect your website against any kind of WordPress vulnerability with the best WordPress website security practices described in our blog. Get on with the tried and tested WordPress security methods and rest assured that no malicious attack can loom large over your website from now on.