How to Keep Your WordPress Website Safe and Secure
As a website owner, the last thing you want is your website to be hacked. Not only does it cause a huge mess that needs sorting out, but it also damages your businesses image and reputation. Many websites have been the victim of various attacks over the years, including many big names.
In order to keep your website safe and secure from hackers, there are various simple tweaks you can do to increase your protection. No matter if you’re not that tech savvy, everyone can apply and benefit from these handy security tweaks.
Here are 6 simple steps for making your WordPress site as secure as possible.
Protect From DDoS
The growing number of online cyber-attacks has seen many websites fall victim to the dreaded DDoS attack. Also known as a distributed denial of service attack, this attack can be started by anyone with the right software. The whole point of the attack is to cause as much disruption as possible to the website – so much that the website becomes really slow and eventually goes offline. Imagine if your website went offline for a day, how much business and revenue would you lose?
Although no sensitive information is stolen from your website, it still causes mass disruption and leaves you with a reputation. The attack works by flooding the web server with requests over and over again until the server can’t cope anymore. It’s very simple but very effective.
To protect your website from these type of attacks, you need anti-DDoS protection. One of the best anti-DDoS services available online is CloudFlare and can be set up for free in a matter of minutes. By acting as a layer around your website, every request has to go through CloudFlare before it reaches your website. Think of it as a big bubble that protects your site from any malicious hackers. By installing CloudFlare on your website, you can relax knowing your website isn’t vulnerable anymore.
An outdated website is a vulnerable site, and is often one of the most common reasons responsible for successful hacks. With an outdated version of WordPress, you are putting yourself at numerous risks that could result in your website going offline or having data stolen.
WordPress is regularly updated by its team of developers who work hard to identify and fix and potential exploits. However, in order to benefit from their hard work, you need to make sure to regularly update your WordPress and have the latest version. Whenever there is a new WordPress version available, you will be alerted in the admin panel. The update just takes a few seconds and will save you plenty of headaches later on. Every time WordPress asks you to update itself or its plugins, make sure you do it straight away.
Change Passwords Regularly
Nowadays, having a secure password is more important than ever. No longer is a 5-digit password adequate and secure. Instead, you need to have long and complex passwords that contain a variety of special characters, numbers and letters. As hackers prowl the web for websites, they’re always looking to take advantage of users with the weakest passwords. If you don’t want to fall victim to their attacks, then make sure you have a secure password.
If you share website passwords with co-workers and clients, then it’s important you regularly change and update them. Some people will keep passwords safe and secure while others will write them down on post it notes for everyone to see. Without knowing for sure who does which, it’s best to regularly update your passwords in case someone ends up compromising them.
It’s also important to make sure you use separate passwords for different logins. Although it can be tempting to use the same password for everything, if someone does manage to get hold of your password then they can cause a lot of damage. Instead, you should be using long and unique passwords that aren’t easy to guess and can’t be found in the dictionary. By using separate passwords and regularly changing them, you greatly decrease the chances of being hacked.
Secure sockets layers (or SSL for short) is a type of encryption that provides security for websites when transferring data. Many online sites often accept online payment methods in the form of credit and debit cards. Once the data is entered by the user, it needs to be transferred back to the website. Along the way back to the server, there are numerous ways hackers can intercept these messages and read them before they arrive. This means that any sensitive data sent will fall straight into the hands of the criminals which will waste no time taking advantage of it.
If you own an online store or shop, then having an SSL certificate is essential. Without one, private financial data could be falling into the hands of criminals without you even knowing. Many customers nowadays won’t even shop at a website unless it has an SSL certificate and they’re confident their details are safe. If you want to add another layer of protection to your site, then you can with CloudFlare’s SSL or Let’s Encrypt.
If you’re a digital agency that manages several WordPress websites, then keeping them all secure and up to date can be very time-consuming. With 20 different websites each with their own login details, it can be tedious to log in to each one and update them individually. What if there was a faster and easier way? Well, there is!
ManageWP is a tool that allows you to automate much of the updating process with just a single click. Forget separate login spreadsheets and password managers; this tool lets you access all of your WordPress websites at the same time. Simply select all the plugin updates you want to install, and ManageWP will take care of the rest.
It also helps schedule regular cloud backups for all of your websites so you can feel safe knowing your website is backed up. In addition to this, it also comes with a built-in vulnerability scanner that continually scans your websites for malware and viruses to make sure you haven’t been infected. The software also includes a whole range of awesome features to help you manage multiple websites at the same time. Why do everything one by one when you can do it all at once?
Another super useful tool for protecting your website from malware and attacks is Sucuri. Similar to ManageWP, the software regularly scans your website, removes any malware and backs up your website. If you’re not an agency that manages numerous WordPress websites then this is probably the software for you.
Available for free, Sucuri can also protect you from any DDoS attacks as well as blacklisting any suspicious IP addresses.
Now that you know how to protect your website, it’s time to put everything into action. Don’t leave it until you’re the victim of an attack, update your website and follow these steps to make sure your website is secure as it can be.