Security of Websites has always been a burning topic among all technocrats, web developers, webmaster, and even hackers. Almost every second, a site is being hacked or its security is being compromised to a level of interim loss. As a website owner, managing the security of your website/ server is both, essential and risky. But this is not the end, as there are numerous ways to add functionalities to a website, similarly there are different ways to ensure its security.
It™s better to know the security risks before heading to their rescue. There is a long list of potential security risks which are not under our control. So as a responsible website owner, you must know about these risks to keep your website safe & secure.
Evidently in 2012, the most prior reason to hacking of 51% of websites was malfunctioned themes or plugins on which they were functioning. While 41% of the websites were compromised due to the bad web host unable to prevent the malware attack.
Preliminary Checks of WordPress Security
To begin with the website rescue operation, you must always know about the three phases to Hardening (WordPress security is often referred to as hardening) i.e protection, detection and restoration. All three of these needs to be followed while protecting your site.
1. Protection: Lock down your site to keep it safe from further malware attacks. It is as same as closing doors of your house to protect it from unwanted intruders. It is a prior and important step to protect website.
2. Detection: Even if you have closed the doors, those unwanted intruders may find some other ways to enter your house, which aptly applies to the website. It doesn™t matter how strong your protection system is, but hackers will find a way to intrude your systems. So, to detect these malicious bots and hackers, it is important to continue with protecting the website further.
3. Restoration: After detection you always need a plan to recover the website in its secured version. This is because a website after being knocked out needs to be restored and rescued. So create a backup of your site to ease the process of restoration.
There is a contradictory market theory that successful online ventures are always in the hit list of hackers. But on the contrary, even if your website is not so popular, it equally does have the chances to be more vulnerable to hacking. The automated tools used by hackers do not target a website based on its traffic instead they keeps on infiltrating them with malformed objects.
Creating a website is not very difficult nor does the process of making it live among users. But making it secure is a tough challenge, specially for all non-techie entrepreneurs venturing into E-commerce.
Almost all web entrepreneurs are aware of the essential security standards and measures to secure their WordPress website and e-biz. You need not to be an expert to work with a WordPress site; almost 59% of websites are powered by this powerful and intuitive CMS. There are few guidelines or you can say tips to secure your WordPress Website.
Tips To Secure A WordPress Website
The Hardening process is majorly done keeping in mind some prime aspects like User Security, Code Security, Hosting Security, etc.
As far as the User Security is concerned, it is evident that most of the times, the prime target for attack is the administration system of a WordPress website. It would be worse if the attacker is able to login to your website as admin. Such a malformed attack could lead to consequences like repetitive login attempts required to access website, undetected username, and password combinations, etc.
While developing your WordPress website, it is imperative to use secure and proven coding to ensure Code Security. Use of semantic codes is the key to the functional and risk-free WordPress website which is non-vulnerable to potential attacks.
Apart from User Security and Code Security, getting a secured hosting can do the trick. Hosting Security is crucial because not all web hosting providers can equally serve your platform. So it™s better to pay a bit more to a safe web host provider to keep your WordPress website in safe hands.
These were the major aspects of WordPress site security but not the all. Here is a list of most needed and crucial steps in this rescue operation.
1. Always use a secure username & password: Don™t be surprised if you find your friend having the same security password as that of yours. As per records, there are almost thousands of people who use password , 123456 as their admin login details, which makes it the most searched and top guessed password. So here is an expert tip to the rescue, always use a unique username and password to strengthen your admin interface.
2. Use Two-Step Verification: The two-step authentication allows user to login with their username and password, which is followed by a one-time unique code required generated to continue the login process. This code is either sent via SMS or Call on your phone.
3. Verify Human Login: Choose a picture, reCAPTCHA forms, etc. are some of the tools that you can add up to check the authenticity of the user as a human or a botnet accessing your WordPress website. This technique is helpful as it cannot be automated by botnets, thus preventing your website from any attack.
4. Rename the wp-login.php URL: Being an advanced WordPress user, always remember to rename the wp-login.php URL of your site with different URL, using a functional plugin.
6. Keep your WordPress website & plugins update: Always keep your WordPress website updated to its latest version. As every new release contains fixes and patches to address the threats of its previous versions. Moreover, the latest update makes your website and plugins less prone to malicious attacks.
It is evident that hackers mostly target the websites functional on old versions of WordPress, as they can sneak into their security system easily. So make sure you keep an eye on all the notifications saying Update Now
7. Use Relevant Theme & Plugins:
It is advised to choose an appropriate theme/plugin which is functional and up-to-date. This is because an updated theme or plugin can be addressed quickly during any hacking process. Install any good security plugin to detect the weakness of botnet.
8. Semantic Codes for Theme & Plugins:
Make sure the codes used to develop the themes and plugins for your WordPress website are secure and proven. Best security measures should be followed during WordPress web development projects.
9. Security against brute force attacks: Frequently failed login attempts is a cautionary sign of potential threat. It advised to do a regular check on system to lock down offending IP addresses. Or else, you can install programs like Limit Login Attempts to prevent any immediate brute force attacks.
10. Secure sensitive information: When you are about to end up cleaning the file structure, do not miss to wipe every bit of detail. Extensions to your files are vulnerable to hacking like .html files show the running version of WordPress. If you are using an old version with a known security loop, then no doubt you will be on the target list of the hackers.
In the same way, .php files are sure shot windows about your setup and server information to the hackers. This will make it easy for the hackers to know the roadmap to hack your website. Moreover, leaving .sql database backup files on the system will do the worst as it will allow hackers to download the entire database of your WordPress site with encrypted username and password.
11. Delete WordPress Version Detail: WordPress mentions the detail of your running version in meta tags of your site code by default. This could be worse if your website is using an older version of WordPress having security loops. Use Remove Version plugin to delete the WordPress Version number to avoid any infiltration by the hackers.
12. Managed hosting: Set your preferences while choosing a web hosting for your WordPress site to prevent any unwanted intrusion from malicious sources.
13. Choose a Secured web host: As a security-conscious WordPress user, you must always choose a right web host for your site. Though Shared hosting is cost-effective but at the same time it multiplies the security risks on your website that emerge from the malformed server (in case of attack) on which your site is shared. I understand, affording a VPS is not possible or may not be needed by all. So, if you are opting for a shared hosting, choose the one with less number of websites in its stack.
14. Authorized Files and Folder Permissions: Configure your file & Folder permissions correctly as it is very crucial to prevent your WordPress site during uploads and transfer. For the convenience, set a directory of permission codes functional on your website.
A directory of permissions with 777 is vulnerable to malicious parties, which allows them to access or modify an existing file.
As per the guidelines of WordPress,
Define 755 0r 750 for all directories
Define 644 or 640 for all files
and 600 for wp-config.php
15. Web Server Vulnerabilities: Running a secure web server is helpful in safeguarding your WordPress site and software. A stable and trusted host controls the vulnerabilities of your website. See if you need a shared hosting or a private host; selection of hosting plan depends on your web traffic and budget.
Always know about the standard web security precautions adopted by your web host and check if they are useful for your business or not.
16. Change Table Prefix while installing your WordPress site or after installation by using the Change Table Prefix plugin.
17. Modify the WordPress keys in the configuration file viz.
define(˜AUTH_KEY™, ˜copy and paste the unique key here™)
define(˜SECURE_AUTH_KEY™, ˜copy and paste the unique key here™) define(˜LOGGED_IN_KEY™, ˜copy and paste the unique key here™) define(˜NONCE_KEY™, ˜copy and paste the unique key here™)
18. Disable File Editing in functions.php file to prevent any unauthorized file updates from wp-admin.
19. Database Security: As a conscious site owner, if you own a WordPress website that runs multiple blogs, it is better to manage different databases to keep them organized. Try this prior to installation of WordPress. You might be wondering how it helps? See, even if an unknown botnet cracks a WordPress installation, it becomes difficult for it to intrude other databases.
20. FTP: Ask your web hosting service provider if FTP encryption is provided or not. As per the latest conventions, it is better to use SFTP encryption while connecting to server. It processes as same as FTP to encrypt the data and password on your computer making them less vulnerable to botnets.
21. Disallow search engine: The search engine spiders drags into the folders and sub folders of the websites instead of indexing. So it™s better to block the search engine spiders from indexing the admin area of WordPress site.
You can do this easily by just adding these lines of codes to the robots.txt file in your public_html folder.
22. Single IP Address For Admin Login: Block the wp-admin, wp-login.php for all IPs by .htaccess except a 1 IP address for your usage.
CONCLUSION: As a matter of fact, a foolproof secure website is a myth. Even if you follow all the security measures, still there are chances that your website might get hacked. Use secure passwords, username, SSL, Authorized login, Verified codes, updated versions to turn this security odd into your favor.
Approach a reckoned web hosting/security service provider to get an effective & long-run security for your WordPress website. Or else if you cannot afford such a marked mainstay, go with these above-mentioned security measures to improve the chances of survival of your WordPress site.