One of the most popular content management systems (CMS) used in web design is WordPress. The open source CMS has a lot of things going for it. WordPress is free, easy to install, easy to use and it can be customized through themes and plugins. Unfortunately, popularity comes with a price. WordPress possesses a market share that makes it an ideal target for those seeking to distribute malware or gain access to your website. Vulnerabilities in web server software and outdated plugins or themes are common points of entry for attackers. Securing WordPress websites can save you and your clients a lot of headache in the future. Here are 5 tips to help boost your WordPress installation’s security.
1) Choose a host that prioritizes security
First, choose a host that makes security a priority to minimize the chance of web server vulnerabilities. Hosts with a good reputation are more likely to keep server software patched and scan their systems for malware and viruses. A vulnerability in your web server can affect your WordPress installation despite all your best efforts. Therefore, this step is of paramount importance to ensure your website is secure.
2) Minimize your use of plugins
Despite the usefulness and added functionality plugins provide, each new plugin is a potential point of entry for attack. First and foremost you should only use plugins from trusted sources. These plugins are less likely to contain malicious code. Secondly, choose actively developed plugins. Plugins that are no longer updated may be susceptible to new vulnerabilities while unlikely to be patched. As a result, you reduce the avenues which an attacker has to exploit by keeping the number of plugins to a minimum.
3) Choose themes from trusted sources
Themes allow you to customize the appearance of WordPress. Unlike plugins, only one theme can be active at a time. This active theme could be a point of entry for attackers. It is vital that you choose a theme from a source that is trusted. Themes may become outdated and abandoned by its developers. If a theme is not kept updated it could make your website vulnerable to attack.
4) Manage credentials and users
To protect your WordPress website you should be careful who you give access to the back-end of your website. WordPress allows you to assign different roles to users. Assign the right roles to users based on the permissions they will need. Do not give more privileges than are absolutely necessary. Also protect your login credentials by keeping them private. In addition do not share them or use the same password on multiple websites. This helps to minimize any unauthorized access to your website using existing credentials.
5) Use security plugins
Security plugins can notify you of unauthorized access to your website. They can also notify you of vulnerabilities in your website via plugins or other files. A few popular security plugins for WordPress are Sucuri Security and Wordfence Security.
It may take some additional work to secure a WordPress installation but it is worth it. A compromised website is a hassle to clean up. There is also a negative impact on search engine optimization that might occur. If your website contains malware search engines such as Google or Bing can block it. While securing your WordPress website cannot guarantee it will never be compromised, it hugely reduces the chances of that happening.