How to harden a WordPress website

Website security is the next step after its development. When it comes to WordPress security, we need to consider WordPress’ features, defaults, and configuration measures.

There are many ways to secure a WordPress website. Along with taking necessary measures, website security needs constant evaluation, updating, and human intervention on a regular basis.

In this article, we will be discussing WordPress security basic features, and precautions about going through a basic security audit.

As a WordPress site owner, you need to stay focused on security routines. It helps you protect your site’s assets including business brand, authority, and customer base. Conversely, hackers may target your site for various intentions such as data theft or obtain customer’s financial records.

Harden your WordPress website

1. Update the WordPress software

The WordPress Developers Community updates WordPress on a regular basis. When you update your WordPress installation, it ensures removing of security flaws in the previous version and helps you keep your site safe.

To update WordPress, click on the Update button on the Updates page. You can find the update page under the DASHBOARD menu in the Dashboard.

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2. Prefer using WordPress generated passwords

WordPress provides the feature to create strong passwords for user accounts. When it comes to comparing passwords, WordPress passwords are hard to break by hacking attacks such as Brute Force, a type of attack used to break in websites by trying out different variations of possibly correct passwords.

On the page where you can change information for Users, you can find the password option. Generate a new password and save changes at the end.

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3. Backup your site on a regular basis

Backup refers to a copy of your site’s content. On hacking attempt or losing site’s data, you can restore your site from a backup package.

Fortunately, WordPress backup plugins cover the gap for beginners.

Install the Updraft Plus plugin by clicking on Add New button on the Plugins page. After installation, you can find the plugin under Settings menu.

On the plugin’s welcome screen, click on the Backup Now button. Once the process is finished, you can see the backup packages for your site’s themes, plugins, uploads, and database.

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4. Install a plugin for WordPress security

Although you can manually deal with security measures, you can’t overlook installing a WordPress security plugin.

As plugins help you scan your WordPress site for security loopholes, you can easily find out common holes in your site.

For the purpose, let’s proceed and install the WordFence security plugin for WordPress. Head over to plugins page and click on the Add New button to install the said plugin.

WordFence helps you get email notifications about outdated software versions, including WordPress core files and plugins. Also, it enables you to keep track of failed login attempts and blocked IP addresses.

5. Limit login attempts

Implementing security measures on login page helps you protect your site from Brute Force attacks. In this case, the user that repeatedly enters incorrect logins is denied for a specific time.

In WordPress, you can use the Limit Login Attempts plugin for the said purpose. It helps you significantly improve your site’s security against Brute Forcing attacks. For more information on using the mentioned plugin, visit this tutorial.

6. Setup Two Factor Authentication

Like using a WordPress plugin for limiting login attempts, you can use a plugin for Two Factor Authentication.

Two Factor Authentication is a Two-step security measure on the WordPress login. After implementing it on your site, you will get security code on entering the correct password. Once you enter the code from email or text message, you will see the dashboard of your site.

As the hackers lack access to your email or text message, even on entering the correct password, the hackers fail to enter the code from your email, and hence, have no chance to cross or skip the Two Factor Authentication on your site.

For more information on installing a plugin for Two Factor Authentication, this tutorial outlines the best plugins for the said purpose.

7. Use an Editor account for publishing content

As a blog owner, you can perform all actions with an Admin account. However, using an Editor account helps you stay away from hacking attacks such as Session Hijacking, a type of attack used to hijack login sessions.

Although hackers can also target an Editor account, they can’t take total control of your site (in case of hacking an Editor account).

When logged into your Admin account, create an Editor account by landing on the (Add New User) page. When it comes to publishing content, always use the Editor account.

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8. Monitor File changes

As you install different plugins and scripts, you may notice your files have been changed or updated.

In this case, you can’t notice the changes without having a specific measure in place.

To actively monitor your site’s files, install a plugin such as WordFence or WP Security Scan. Such plugins help you get notifications on file changes. To read more about monitoring WordPress files, this tutorial helps you cover the gap.

9. Host your WordPress site on secured servers

When it comes to hosting your WordPress website, choosing a reputable hosting company is vital.

Regarding how to choose a web hosting for WordPress, this page walks you through reviewing different hosting companies.

Also, if affording WordPress Managed Hosting is no matter for you, go for it. It refers to a special kind of hosting optimized for WordPress.

10. Delete the unused themes and plugins

Your site runs on a single theme at a time, while plugins help you extend your site’s functionalities. When it comes to making your site more optimized, not only removing unused themes and plugins helps you secure your site, but also helps to speed up your WordPress site.

You can remove the unused themes on the Themes page. Under the Appearance menu, select Themes to land on themes page. Similarly, you can delete the unused plugins on the Plugins page.

Wrapping up

In the first face, you should go for the basic measures defined in this write-up.

While you can extend your list for security precautions, monitoring your site on a regular basis plays a vital role in security.

Make sure you update your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins on a regular basis. As you upgrade your software, it makes your site more secure than the previous version.

Also, make sure to install security plugins. Not only plugins help you scan your site for security loopholes, but also help you get security updates, limit login attempts, and block Brute Forcing IPs.

Last but not least, as your site grows with new content, you must implement monitoring routines. In this scenario, if your site plays a significant role in extending business growth, you can hire professionals for monitoring your website in real time.

To learn more about WordPress security, head over to WordPress Knowledge Base on WPcrib. In case of having any question about security measures defined in this article, let us know by joining the conversation in comments.

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