How To Secure Your WordPress Website

Woman working on her WordPress website on laptop. Find our how to secure your WordPress website.

Written by: Jay H.

Keeping your WordPress website safe should be a priority for any site owner. Without proper protections in place, your website is vulnerable to hackers, attacks, malware, malfunctions, and other issues. However, you may not know precisely how to improve your site’s security. In this post, we’ll go over some of the ways you can quickly secure your WordPress website. Let’s jump into our top recommendations.

1. Use Strong Admin Credentials

An admin account has full access to your WordPress website, making it a prime target for hackers looking to breach your site. So, it’s essential to use strong usernames and passwords for your user accounts to make it harder for attackers to guess. For instance, having “admin” or your site name as your username makes it easy to brute-force. Instead, use harder-to-guess usernames and strong, unique passwords to keep your accounts safe from malefactors.

How To Change Your WordPress Username

WordPress does not allow you to change your username on its own. However, you can create a new admin account and delete the old one. Navigate to Users to create a new admin profile, then delete the old one. When you delete your old account, WordPress will ask you what to do with the content published under the old user. Select the Attribute all content to: option and select your new profile. Finally, press Confirm Deletion to delete the old account.

2. Add Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication can seriously bolster your WordPress website’s security in conjunction with strong admin credentials. Two-factor authentication requires that you provide additional verification when trying to sign in, such as retrieving a code from your phone. You can enable two-factor authentication through a plugin such as the Two Factor Authentication plugin or Wordfence. Then, install an application such as Google Authenticator or Authy on your mobile device and link your WordPress account through there. Every time you log in to your site, you’ll be asked to retrieve a code from the authenticator app. We strongly recommend you use two-factor authentication with your WordPress website and every online account you have.

3. Limit Login Attempts

By default, users can attempt to log in as many times as they want to your WordPress website. Using a plugin such as Wordfence, you can limit login attempts to prevent attackers from brute-forcing your site. Once you’ve installed your plugin of choice, navigate its settings to find an option for limiting login attempts. Doing this will help secure your WordPress website by limiting the number of times users can try to log in before getting timed out.

4. Install A WordPress Security Plugin

Having a dedicated WordPress security plugin to check for malware and other threats can help fortify your website’s defences. As we’ve mentioned in this article, Wordfence is an excellent option for WordPress security. However, there are many options out there, such as Sucuri and iThemes. Some features commonly found in WordPress security plugins include firewall protection, security hardening features, malware scanning, and login protection tools. However, do not solely rely on a WordPress security plugin to protect your site – make sure you take other security measures, such as the ones mentioned in this article, and keep your plugins updated to protect them from vulnerabilities.

5. Move To SSL/HTTPS

Moving your WordPress website to SSL/HTTPS will encrypt data transfer between your browser and your users’ devices. Essentially, without SSL/HTTPS, your website is vulnerable to attackers “eavesdropping” and stealing sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information. Not only is this a recommended security strategy, but search engines like Google are starting to penalize websites without SSL/HTTPS in place by lowering their rankings in search results. In fact, browsers like Google Chrome display all non-SSL websites as “Not Secure,” meaning you’ll damage your visitors’ trust.

Traditionally, certificate authorities issued SSL certificates for websites. However, these can cost you hundreds per year, depending on the provider. Since many website owners did not want to take on the extra cost, they’ve stuck with the insecure HTTP, putting them at risk of data theft. Here are some free options for SSL certificates; however, some technical knowledge is required.

Free SSL Certificate Options

Get A Free SSL Certificate Through Let’s Encrypt

The non-profit Let’s Encrypt provides free SSL certificates to combat insecure websites. However, installing the free SSL certificate requires technical knowledge of coding and server systems. Please get in touch with us today if you need help moving your WordPress website to SSL with Let’s Encrypt.

Enable SSL Through Your Hosting Provider

Most reputable website hosting providers now offer free SSL certificates with their plans, so you may want to look into whether your hosting company does or not. You can usually turn on your free SSL certificate through your hosting dashboard if it does.

Once you’ve enabled the SSL certificate, you have to set it up on your WordPress website. One of the easiest ways to do this is by installing the Really Simple SSL plugin, which will automatically load pages using the HTTPS protocol.

6. Keep Your WordPress Up To Date

Every WordPress update includes security features and changes necessary for your website. By staying updated with the latest version of WordPress, you can protect your site from vulnerabilities in previous versions that hackers exploit. Moreover, you should also keep your themes and plugins updated for the same reasons. You can download major updates by going to Dashboard> Updates. Important: Before you update, make a backup of your website.

7. Backup Your Website

If your website gets hacked, broken, or otherwise runs into problems, restoring things to normal can be challenging or even impossible. Imagine if your entire website went blank, and you had no way of fixing it – nightmarish, right? That’s why it’s essential to make regular backups of your website to prevent disaster. You can create backups using plugins such as UpdraftPlus or Duplicator. Most of the WordPress backup plugins include automated backups so you can have peace of mind that your site is easily recoverable in case of disaster.

Secure Your WordPress Website

There are plenty of ways you can secure your WordPress website, and we strongly recommend implementing all of the measures discussed in this post. If you need help securing your WordPress website or are interested in 100% managed WordPress hosting, please contact us today.

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