When it comes to blogs, e-commerce websites or just about any other kind of modern Web project, WordPress is one of the biggest players in the world. Millions of sites run WordPress: It’s free, infinitely customizable and easy for webmasters to pick up.
WordPress has many outstanding features, but there are three major reasons it leads the pack:
-It makes updating your site fast and easy, allowing you to focus on content.
-It provides thousands of free “themes” to customize a site’s look and feel.
-It has thousands of standalone software widgets to extend site features.
Unfortunately, WordPress has become so popular that many of its most common security issues are known to hackers. While most WordPress sites will never have a problem with hacking, it’s better to be safe than sorry if you want your website to be successful.
There are some fairly common security issues webmasters should be aware of:
- The WordPress login page is easy for hackers to “sniff out” on most installations.
- When users log in, their passwords are usually transmitted in unencrypted format.
- If WordPress file permissions are mismanaged, hackers may gain access to a server.
As a WordPress webmaster, it’s vital to take steps to harden your site’s security. Luckily, there are many WordPress plugins that address the need for a more secure experience. It’s a good idea to test these out and see which one works best for you — all of them have great features, but they don’t always work together well.
Four Top Plugins for Making Your WordPress Site Harder to Hack
The iThemes Security suite was formerly known as Better WP Security. It has been developed and supported for years and is one of the solutions that consistently stands out. It boasts dozens of different tools and features for securing your site. There is a free version, but better performance can be had through the paid edition. It currently starts at $80 for a Personal License.
Best Features of iThemes Security
— Protection from attacks like “brute force” hacking and changes to server files.
— Monitoring to ensure users with high-level permissions have strong passwords.
— Automatic removal of users engaging in brute force logins or “file sniffing.”
— Quick adjustment of WordPress login filename and URL to stop common attacks.
Acunetix is an established Web security company that is known for its scanning software. The WordPress version of Acunetix brings you the same power, helping you to find and plug security holes across dozens of different potential issues. The advice produced by this plugin can help you protect your site rigorously, but it can take a while to implement all the suggestions.
Top Features of Acunetix Secure WordPress
— Rapid database backup and re-deployment to recover WordPress sites after disaster.
— Effective hiding of WordPress version to prevent most version-based hack attacks.
— Real-time traffic monitoring that helps you gain security and analytics insights.
— Integrated testing of all file permissions to prevent manipulation of key files.
3) Chap Secure Password Login
No matter what platform you’re using for your site, your administrator password is your most important line of defense against hackers. However, even if you have the toughest password in the business, you can be undermined by the protocols used to transmit your password. Chap Secure Password Login conceals your password using the Chap encryption protocol.
Four Great Features of Chap Secure Password Login
— Instant encryption process provided by the Chap protocol; requires no user input.
— Complete compatibility with a range of shared, VPS and dedicated hosting solutions.
— Ongoing developer support and total compatibility with the brand new WordPress 4.0.
— Immediate enhancement of site-wide security without an expensive SSL certificate.
4) WordPress Security and Firewall
Most personal computers and all Web servers use a firewall of some kind to ensure they are protected from security problems. WordPress Security and Firewall isn’t a firewall in the strict sense, but it provides automatic adjustment of security settings for adherence to best practices. It may be the best choice on the list for webmasters who don’t consider themselves “power users.”
Outstanding Features of WordPress Security and Firewall
— Robust user account security that notifies admins of bad user account practices.
— Automatic implementation of temporary bans if users fail to log in multiple times.
— One-click adjustment to your WordPress database to disguise its default settings.
— Numerous backup features: Main configuration file, full database and more.
Other Steps for Making Your WordPress Site Safer
With or without plugins, there are many steps a webmaster can take at any level to make a site more secure. Consider these possibilities in addition to any software-based changes you make.
1) Make Display Names Different from Usernames
When usernames and display names are the same, hackers can easily launch a “brute force” attack without having to gather any other information about an account. When these differ, however, then the display name offers no clue about a person’s username.
2) Keep Your WordPress Plugins Updated
Outdated WordPress plugins frequently contain vulnerabilities hackers find easy to exploit. If you’re no longer using a plugin, don’t just deactivate it: Eliminate it from your server by uninstalling and deleting it. Update active plugins monthly.
3) Adjust Default Information
If you are a power user, you can adjust many different default WordPress settings that hackers use to attack unwary webmasters. For example, during the process of setting up your SQL process for WordPress, you can change the table prefix from the default “WP” to something else. You should avoid using default usernames — like “admin” — too.
4) Keep Your Site Backed Up
Keeping your site backed up means that even if you are “wiped out” by a hacker, you can restore your data and begin anew — with tougher security practices, of course! Many VPS hosts provide free weekly or monthly site archiving.