WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in the world with a market share at the end of 2017 of 60%. Part of the reason for this is the ease at which you can create a site with the numerous options available to you.
Security, however, is a different proposition.
Many businesses feel they have a handle on the security or maybe don’t rank it as high on the list of importance as it should be, but the cardinal sin is to let the realisation hit you after launching and going live.
For those of you who haven’t paid much attention to it, I aim to point out not only it’s importance but the fact that it requires a certain level of ongoing responsibility; let’s face it, this is your data, whether it is related to your business or your clients, keeping it under lock and key is no one-time job, this is serious, and it’s a never-ending process.
As a business starts, it grows, and part of the natural online process is you start to incorporate and add new features, installing plugins and such, take note that every action you take can in some way affect your site.
As I mentioned in opening security is an ongoing responsibility, continually changing and evolving as the software does. Hackers are a severe threat, so you should ask yourself if you are doing everything to protect sensitive information. A common thread that is out in the public domain is that open source script is vulnerable, but in reality, the burden really is on your shoulders.
How you approach dealing with security will lay the foundation as to whether you will be putting out fires in the future or you get off on the front foot and launch a successful business and stay one-step-ahead. If you have an e-commerce website your clients put faith in you to ensure their information is treated with the respect it deserves, so let’s take a look at how we get to that point.
WordPress Security and It’s Level of Importance
Business owners can fall into a false sense of security, thinking everything is going just fine, no major headaches, but hackers are smart, they’re not going to leave a calling card.
A proper hack can involve stealing password and user information, both of which you would not be aware of, but in many cases after installation of malicious software, can also distribute this to your users. The worst case scenario has seen business owners paying ransomware to get access to their own website.
All of the above can be a costly loss to you and your business but also to your reputation, as we all know something that sometimes can’t be replaced.
If you liken the level of responsibility bestowed upon you being the same as a store owner protecting his physical store, then you are starting to understand you are the equivalent – online.
For any of you that have experienced some difficulties with the security of their WordPress site, I look to help you with some useful hints, some will seem obvious but cannot be overstated and others will be more eye-opening.
Even the children today know the importance of a strong password when it comes to their accounts online. The facts have not changed much, and the same goes for your WordPress website. This tip may seem a little obvious, but there are still some people who fail to take it into account. The more complex your password will be, the harder it will be to crack. We all know that the definition of a right password is it being long and consisting of capital letters and symbols. A grave mistake that many users make is creating a password that is very simple. Many people would go for the chronological order of the numbers which is predictable.
Do not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of your password. Passwords are essential to your WordPress security, which is why you need to use passwords that have words in it to prevent dictionary attack, have symbols and numbers in it, and should contain at least 15 characters long. If you do not know how to make a secure password, you can use a service like phonetic password generator which will help you with that. Using LastPass will take the password management to a higher level where a secure and long password will be generated.
This is an area that should not be overlooked. Cheap web hosting can lead to an expensive problem later on. A dependable web hosting will play a significant role in security assistance; already built-in protection measures are in place with a reputable web hosting provider.
On the other hand with shared hosting, you are increasing the risk as you are sharing server resources with others, cross-contamination is more than plausible with hackers using neighbouring sites to gather information.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Using a managed WordPress hosting service will provide you with a more secure platform for your website. You will get regular updates, backups and advanced configuration settings for added protection.
Most web hosting companies will provide you with an SSL Certificate especially if you are involved in e-commerce. For those in the know you fully understand the importance, and for those of you who are not familiar, it’s the data security between yourself and the consumer when sharing data.
SSL makes the data transfer secure, almost impossible for hackers to acquire or hoax the information.
Obtaining an SSL certificate if you don’t already have is very simple. Your hosting company if not part of the package should offer them for sale, or you can buy from a third party. Google look favourably on secure sites and will be positive for your rankings.
Creating a Strong Password
I can see some of you reading this thinking, come on! Its 2018 this is obvious even my kids know they have to use numbers and symbols. However, you would be surprised the number of users out there even today still using chronologically ordered numbers in their passwords.
Don’t underestimate the importance, since WordPress is the most used platform, that’s where the hackers have the most experience in cracking codes, accessing data and getting through weak passwords.
Ensure to use words, helping prevent dictionary attacks use symbols and numbers and aim for 15 characters as a minimum. Oh, and one last tip make sure you’re sober when you do it.
Rename Login URL
You can access by default A WordPress login page through wp-login.php added to the sites main URL, so changing the login URL is easy.
This gives hackers the URL of the login page, thus giving them an opportunity to break through. A common theme is to use the Guess Work Database this is a software database of guessed usernames and password built over years of trends.
By replacing the login URL, this acts as a diversion to direct attacks. This will restrict all unauthorised log-in attempts, and only the person with the exact URL can enter.
As we established early keeping your website secure requires continuous attention and commitment. With a WordPress site, all minor updates will occur automatically through the WordPress installation. However, significant updates to themes, core files and plugins will need to be updated through the dashboard or FTP.
By keeping your files updated, you are going the extra mile to standard enhancements like improving the performance with bug fixes and new features. Make sure to stay on top of it.
If you feel you can’t go it alone align yourself with a reputable Digital Marketing and SEO Company that deals with a full SEO package service whereby secure hosting, SSL certificates and the majority of what we have discussed comes in one. Security is paramount to the work they provide for you also.
Despite the many latest updates that deal with WordPress security issues, there are still many things that can be done to improve the website security, even by people who are not very tech-savvy. If you are not a professional, then you need to learn a lot about developing your WordPress security, but the pointers as mentioned above will help you steer through the process. If you implement these tactics and follow up with regular security checks, you will be on your way to a WordPress website that is far more secure. The more you care about your WordPress site and are invested in its wellbeing, the harder it will be for the hackers to break in.
Guest article written by: Paula Timpson is an avid tech blogger with a love of all sports and cookery which she also writes about. She is associated with an SEO company who provide competitive SEO packages in Canberra, Australia.