8 WordPress Security Tips to Protect Your Websites

8 Tips to Help you Improve your WordPress Website Security

Getting your website hacked is not fun. It's a serious matter that needs to be handled with care and intelligence. WordPress is gaining popularity with each passing day. Millions of websites are being powered by WP every minute of the day. However it's popularity is what makes it so vulnerable to hacking and security threats. Hackers find it easy to hack your WordPress websites through a majority of entry points. Thus, it becomes more important than ever to protect your websites from hacking and spamming.

Hacking is something that cannot be stopped but it is something that should be prevented. Therefore, we have compiled a list of  tips that many cloud service providers, including our own, use to prevent websites from being hacked. The article is going to focus on few ways that can be used to protect your website against hacking and ways that aren't discussed time and time again on the internet because we understand security is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly.

0. Test Your Site For Vulnerabilities 

Most website developers do not pay attention to the security status of a website. Its relatively easy to do than it looks. Here are some security testing tools to ensure you website does not expose a common vulnerability. 

1. Don't Use Premium Plugins For Free

There is a reason why premium plugins are not free. Downloading them from anywhere (un-authorized sites) for free put only your website at risk and obviously, you wouldn't want that. These pirated copies come with many flaws which give hackers' direct entry into your website.

Though it's understandable what it's like to work within a budget, it doesn't make sense at all to use pirated plugins. There are various free plugins available as well which can be availed without having to spend even a penny. If you are still really in need of that plugin, you should just pay for it and use it.

You can always go to digital content marketplace like ThemeForest to shop for authentic wordpress plugins at low cost. Alternatively you can hire a freelancer or wordpress expert to do a quick feature upgrade on wordpress.

2. Eliminate PHP Error Reporting

Your website's security has a lot to do with the loopholes and weak spots in your website. As a matter of fact, if your theme or plugin or any function does not respond properly, it will naturally generate an error message. These error messages may help you solve the problem but for hackers, these are some of the entry points to get access to your website. 

These messages contain server path, that's what all hackers are always on the lookout for. Therefore, it is always suggested to disable this error message. This can be done by adding a code in the wp-config.php file. Simply copy and paste this code anywhere in your wp-config file. 

@ini_set(‘display_errors’, 0);

3. Disable Dashboard File Editing

By default, WordPress comes with an option to edit your theme and plugin files right from your dashboard i.e. appearance -> editor. In case, a hacker gains access to your site, he/she can easily make changes in the code and execute anything he/she wants.
Therefore, it is always a bright idea to disable file editing option from your dashboard by adding this code snippet to your wp-config.php file. 

define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );

4. Regular Backups

As we discussed earlier, hacking cannot be stopped, it can only be prevented. Thus, if ever any hacker finds an entry point to your website, or hacks it completely, there is no way you can recover without having a secondary copy of your site. Regularly backing up your website offers you an option to recover your site if something goes wrong with it.

5. Always use Security Plugins 

WordPress comes packed with many security plugins that automatically backs up your website on a daily basis as well as secures it against hacking and spamming.
Some of the best plugins are: 

WordFense security plugin, BulletProof security and Sucuri Security plugin.

6. Hide your WordPress Version

Well, you probably be wondering why? WordPress is growing and every now and then you encounter a new upgrade of WordPress version. If you run a WordPress website, you probably have heard that you should keep your website up-to-date to prevent security threats. 

If in case, you cannot update your WP version for a reason or two, you are giving an open invitation to hackers to hack your website. However, you can keep this threat at bay by hiding your current version. Reason? As the bugs of previous versions are well known to everybody on the web who uses WordPress, hackers can easily use those loopholes and get access to your website. Hiding WordPress version gives you full control over the update of the latest versions while keeping hacking threats at bay. 

There are certain ways to do so:

Using an older theme? Write this code in your theme's header.php file

('version'); ?>" />
For newer themes, use this code instead

<? remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator'); ?>

7. Use 2-Factor Login Authentication

2-Factor login authentication, as the name suggests, is a two level of login to a service or page. Wordpress provides many plugins that help you efficiently implement this 2 level login authentication to your website and make your site more secure. Clef and Rublon are two most popular WordPress plugins that help you implement this strategy. 

Clef makes use of your phone camera to set up the login authentication. However, Rublon uses emails for two-factor authentication. 

You may also like to explore more two factor authentication plugins for wordpress.

8. Protect Your Files :  Htaccess

If you have been running a Wordpress website for quite some time, you probably be familiar with the .htaccess file. Well, as a matter of fact, it is one of the most important files of your website. .htaccess file directly affects the permalinks of a website and how it deals with the security issues. .htaccess file can help you prevent your site against any hacking by allowing you to add various code snippets in it. However, make sure whatever code you add in the file should be outside #BEGIN WordPress and #END WordPress tags.
First of all, you should hide your wp-config.php file completely since it is responsible for everything in your website and includes plenty of important details such as database details, user details and more.

Add this code to hide it:

order allow, deny
from all

By adding the following code snippet into a new .htaccess file and upload it to the wp-admin, you can restrict admin access.

order deny, allow
deny from all

You can also restrict wp-login.php in the almost same way.
Add the following code to your .htaccess file.

Deny from all
# access from my IP address

There are various other ways in which you can modify your .htaccess file and secure your website against hackers and spammers.

Wrapping up

WordPress security is certainly so much more than merely installing a security plugin and keeping strong login passwords. You need to follow a particular strategy and make sure you work on every aspect that may break down your WordPress website.

We hope you find these tips useful and help you protect your site against hacking and spamming.

Emily Johns is a WordPress Devloper by Profession and Writer by hobby. She works for Wordsuccor Ltd., Which is providing Custom WordPress Plugin Development Company based in USA. to global clients. If you need to hire a WordPress Developer you can connect with them on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.


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