Once upon a time, all website owners really needed to worry about were viruses and the occasional piece of malware. Today, that’s not the case. Website security has become one of the single most critical factors facing not just businesses, but anyone with a website database of consumer names and personal or financial information.
Any blogger with an email marketing program could become the target of attackers interested in getting access to their information.
The good news is that website security tools and techniques have improved as the level of threat has risen, and WordPress website owners can use simple, yet effective, protective measures to ensure better website security.
Here are seven of the most important tips to ensure your site is safe and secure.
1. It Starts with Your Hosting Company
Unless you’re using WordPress hosting, you chose your own host. Chances are good that decision hinged at least partially on the cost of the hosting plan. That’s a problem. Budget-oriented web hosting companies often fail to provide proper security for their customers, or they leave you responsible for your own security, which is rarely a good thing.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your customer or subscriber information and enhance website security for your WordPress site is to work with a trusted web host that provides you with the protection you need as part of your hosting package.
That usually means paying a little bit more each month, but those additional dollars equate to additional peace of mind, which is vital today. Not only does going with a trustworthy web host mean better security, but you’ll usually find that it also delivers faster website speeds and even additional benefits like automatic backups.
Sure, there are lots of free WordPress themes out there. WordPress itself offers plenty of them. So, why pay for a premium theme when there are freebies available? Simply put, premium themes are developed by professionals who take website security very seriously. Not only that, but the developer will also release periodic code updates to take care of vulnerabilities that exist.
Free themes are usually not updated. With that being said, if you’re pressed for cash and a premium theme is not possible, free themes from WordPress are better than knockoff versions of premium themes. Never, ever use a free version of a premium theme offered by someone other than the theme developer. That’s a sure route to find yourself and your readers/customers victimized by hackers.
3. Use Security Plugins
WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in large part because of the massive library of plugins available that allow you to add functionality to your website.
Plugins can also help improve your website security. You’ll find a host of different website security plugins. We own and develop our own WordPress security plugin – WP Security Ninja.
We are of course completely biased and opinionated it is the best tool to protect your website 🙂 It has strong protection, malware scan, and security checks. What is not to love – try out the free version first and tells us what you think!
Of course, there are plenty of others out there, too 🙂
4. Ban Bad Actors
As the website owner, it is your responsibility to put website security at the forefront of your concerns. That means taking a hands-on approach to preventing threats. One way to do that is to block bad actors who have demonstrated suspicious behavior.
For instance, someone attempting to log into your website using incorrect credentials should be a red flag. Of course, it’s always possible that an authorized user has forgotten their credentials, but repeated failed attempts should be red flags that an attack is underway.
Using the right plugins, you can ban bad actors by blocking their IP address after a specified number of failed login attempts.
5. Two Factor Authentication
One of the simplest ways to improve website security and prevent hackers from easily gaining access to your WordPress website is two-factor authentication. While this won’t completely eliminate the threat of an attack, it does a lot to mitigate your risk level.
Simply put, two-factor authentication means that you have to enter your login information, and then a code is generated and sent to your mobile device. You then enter that code in the website to gain access. Anyone without the code is blocked.
You might think that 2FA is a bit too much to deal with on a daily basis, and you want to just use a regular password, that is fine – but please remember to follow the basic guidelines for WordPress username and password security.
6. Set User Permissions
Chances are good that more than one person has authorized access to your website. The problem here is that you only have so much control over their password hygiene habits and website security savvy. To mitigate the potential of a user’s information falling into the wrong hands, set user permissions.
This ensures that every user has access only to those areas they actually need within the website and helps reduce the risk that an attacker could easily gain access to sensitive information.
7. Back Up Regularly
Let’s put this as clearly as possible – if you’re not backing up your WordPress website, you’re putting it all at risk. Without regular backups, a single attack could leave you with nothing. It also puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to protecting your database information.
Make sure that your host regularly backs up your site, or gives you the ability to do so. If that’s not an option, you should probably choose another web host. At the very least, install a plugin that lets you back up critical elements of your website.
There is a lot of work to be done if you want to protect your online business, check out some more tips to protect you from the most common security issues.
When it’s all said and done, website security does not have to be a mystery, and it does not have to cost you a fortune. Simple, effective steps can provide you with improved security and peace of mind while ensuring that your WordPress site is less likely to fall victim to attacks.