The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Security

Manuel Campos

WordPress is a widely-used content management system (CMS) for building websites. However, like any software, it is not immune to security vulnerabilities.

In this post, we will discuss some tips for keeping your WordPress site secure.

  1. Keep WordPress and its plugins up to date: This is the most important step you can take to ensure your site’s security. Updates often include security patches and bug fixes that can protect your site from known vulnerabilities.
  2. Use a strong, unique password: Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for your password and avoid using common words or phrases. It’s also important to change your password regularly.
  3. Use a security plugin: There are many security plugins available for WordPress, such as Wordfence, iThemes Security, and Sucuri Security. These plugins can help protect your site from malware, hackers, and other security threats.
  4. Limit login attempts: Brute-force attacks are a common method used by hackers to gain access to a site. By limiting the number of login attempts, you can prevent these types of attacks.
  5. Use a backup plugin: In the event that your site is hacked or experiences other issues, a backup can be a lifesaver.
  6. Keep your hosting environment secure: The security of your hosting environment is also important. Make sure your hosting provider uses secure servers and has a strong track record of keeping their customers’ sites safe.

Now, let’s learn more about each one of the previous recommendations to keep your WordPress site secure


Plugins, Themes, and WordPress Core

Most vulnerabilities are caused by poorly coded plugins and themes.

  • Make sure, you use only the plugins you really need.
  • Also, try to use plugins and themes that don’t have a history of vulnerabilities.
  • Make sure plugins and themes are up-to-date.
  • Use code snippets when possible to avoid installing a large number of plugins for tiny little modifications you want to do to themes, plugins, or WordPress.
  • Subscribe to WordPress security newsletters by Security companies such as WordFence or PatchStack

Note: Zero-day vulnerabilities found in plugins, themes or the WordPress core are scary and that’s why Web Application Firewalls are necessary.


Make Regular Backups

Making a backup and restoring a site has never been easier.

I use All In One WP Migration to make backups of my sites at least once per month.

The process takes less than five minutes.

I keep the backups stored offline and in services like Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Restoring a site from a backup is a piece of cake


Secure your Devices

Make sure you keep all the devices to interact with your site secure.

If you are using pirated software and open every stupid spammy link that gets to your inbox, you will end up losing more than your sites


Web Application Firewall

You should use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

I recommend Cloudflare over all the options out there because you have control over what you want Cloudflare to do for your sites in terms of security.

If you learn how to create a custom Firewall, you will limit most hacking attempts your site will get.

Cloudflare stops thousands of suspicious attacks per day based on the rules I’ve set.


Reliable Hosting Providers

You have to use a reliable hosting provider and avoid cheap shared hosting providers.

I have been using Cloudways’ most affordable plan for more than five years and I really like how Cloudways deals with threats.

Cloudways

  • Isolate the sites on your server.
  • Limit access to the database, SSH, and WordPress Installation access to IP’S of your choice.
  • Makes regular backups
  • Makes restoring your site easy
  • Provide Bot Management tools

Before you commit to a hosting plan, you have to know how the hosting providers that you want to use handle WordPress security.

Don’t settle for less


Two-Factor Authentication

Since I protect my login pages with the help of my custom firewall, I don’t implement two-factor authentication on my sites.

If you are not using a custom firewall, a plugin that has two-factor authentication among its option seems like a good idea.

Make sure that all the accounts needed to manage your sites, hosting, and email require two-factor authentication.

Authy is my favorite Two-Factor authentication tool


Passwords and Password Managers

If you make money online, it is impossible that you set strong passwords and remember them.

I always suggest using a password manager such as Bitwarden.

Make sure your usernames and passwords are at least twenty characters so hackers have a hard time figuring out what your username and password are.

Note: If bots and people can’t access your login page, you don’t need to worry about brute-forcing their way into your WordPress Dashboard


Brute-Force Attacks

If you have a username or password that is impossible to remember even if you want to, your site won’t be hacked via brute-force attacks.

The problem with brute-force attacks is that they can use up your server resources.

So limiting login attempts, changing the login page, blocking specific usernames, using captchas and other measures can be implemented for the sole purpose of saving server resources.

Note: Brute-force attacks’ success rate depends on how ignorant site managers are.


Security Plugins

I am not a big fan of security plugins, I don’t use them therefore I don’t recommend them.

I don’t like their fear tactics to make you buy and subscribe to their premium services

Lots of people install them but rarely understand what these do for sites.

It doesn’t hurt to have one installed but remember that no security plugin can help dumb WordPress users.

If you install nulled themes and plugins, nothing is gonna keep your site secure at the application level.


Headless WordPress

If you don’t want to worry about zero-day vulnerabilities and all types of threats, headless WordPress is probably the best way to secure a site.

Your WordPress installation, your database, and your WordPress admin are not up for grabs when you take the Headless WordPress route.

Headless WordPress tends to be more expensive than regular hosting providers and cloud hosting panels and that’s what’s keeping more users away from it.

If you want to go the headless route without the high cost, you can use services such as Cloudflare pages but you have to manage everything yourself.


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