At its core, WordPress is secure, protected, and virtually hackproof. However, its security is dependent on the user (the admin). The makers of WordPress have done everything that is necessary to keep all the holes closed, but they have also left it entirely open for its users. As an admin, you can access any function of WordPress and its core, and although you may receive a warning when changing something that you shouldn’t, that’s all you will get. This means a huge responsibility falls on your shoulders, too. You need to be alert and follow strict (but very easy) guidelines to make sure your WordPress site remains secure.
Use and choose strong passwords
This is a no brainer; however, we still see people using weak or common passwords. This leads to easy hacks and leaves your site vulnerable to attacks. The most common password for the last few years is 12345. You can clearly see what’s wrong with this; avoid using easy to guess passwords. Yes, it is easier to remember, but that’s what makes it easy to guess as well.
While you should be wary of using easy to guess passwords, make sure they do not hold a direct relationship with you as well. Like if your username is admin using “admin” as a password is also a terrible idea. Similarly, using the name of your child or pet, your street, or your state is also a very bad idea.
Always use a combination of letters and numbers, and you must include special characters in your passwords as well. The longer the password, the harder it is to guess, and it will require a lot of work to hack.
Changing your passwords more frequently is also highly recommended. Likewise, you should not use similar passwords for multiple sites or services. Always choose unique passwords.
Do not use cracked or nulled plugins and themes
It is morally and ethically unacceptable to use plugins or themes that are nulled or cracked. There are thousands of free plugins available to use; if you cannot afford to purchase a pro or paid version of a plugin, then do not use its cracked version either. There are many instances of malicious codes being found in cracked or nulled themes and plugins which can give administrator level access to the person who cracked that theme or plugin. This will cause you a great deal of loss and heartache in the long run.
Use plugins to defend against brute force attacks
There are plugins available to defend you against brute force attacks. A brute force attack is a kind of hack where the hacker keeps guessing your password. You can defend yourself against such attacks by using complex passwords and implementing a lockout mechanism. For instance, you can lock out an IP address if it tries to enter the wrong password three times in a row. The lockout period can be anywhere from 15 minutes through 48 hours to being a permanent ban.
Also, you can install a plugin which verifies that a human being is entering the password and it is not a machine or robot who is trying to gain access to your site. Google’s ReCAPTCHA is a great example.
Another plugin that I recommend safeguarding your site against brute force attacks is the free version of Loginizer Security. This is a perfect plugin to protect against such attacks, and if you purchase its paid version, you can also move your default login page from wp-admin to any address that you want. This plugin also supports the lockout function, and IP bans can be manually added or removed by the user as well.
WordPress now supports the auto-update of plugins. Whether you configure your site to update Themes and Plugins automatically or do it yourself, you should update plugins, themes, and WordPress itself as soon as an update is released. The WordPress developer community is always on the lookout for any vulnerabilities, and as soon as they find one, a patch is released to fix it. By keeping your site updated, you are making sure that no previously unknown vulnerability can be used to maliciously and illegally access your website.
As a WordPress user, you should always have peace of mind that you are using the best CMS in the world. However, you should also be a little proactive against threats that exploit your weaknesses. By following the steps we mentioned in this short article, you can secure your WordPress website and live stress-free.