Top Tips for Maintaining Security in WordPress

There is quite a bit of choice when it comes to choosing the platform for your website.  And, when you choose one, you would definitely not want to compromise on the security aspect.  The same applies when you choose WordPress too.  When you have the website secure, you can be assured that there is absolute safety for your data and the uptime is also increased.  The functioning of the website becomes super fast and also becomes extremely reliable.

Here are a few effective ways in which one could maintain the security of the WordPress website.  They will sure take care of all the security needs you may have.

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User Security

If at all the attackers will target anything, they will first target the administration interface of WordPress.  If such a user with a bad intention successfully logs in as admin, you cannot imagine the kind of havoc he will create to your website.

A few people will make an attempt to login with the help of brute force attack.  They can do so when they set up a botnet.  A botnet is nothing but many computers controlled by a single attacker.  He will assume different usernames and passwords and try out the combinations.

So, in order to protect your WordPress administration interface, you need to make these alterations in order to reaffirm the security of your website.

  1. Have a secure, unique username as well as password:  It is always recommended to have a unique username and password that will be difficult for the attackers to even imagine.  Do not ever opt for the default username that comes in.  There is amazing freedom for you to choose the username and password for your new website in WordPress.  If you already have an older version of the website, you can make use of the Username Changer, a WordPress plugin which will help you in getting the username modified into a secure one.

Ideally, one should not opt for very common usernames…for instance, administrator or your name or the name of your website.  Even for the password, ensure that you are having one which is highly unpredictable.  Make use of a different combination of characters, numbers and letters.  Ensure that your password is no way related to the name of the website, to the username or is a simple word that people could easily guess.  Ensure that you use a string of characters that are unsystematic and difficult to guess.  When you make use of a password management tool, you will be able to generate a good password that offers safety and security.

  1. Apply Two-Step Verification:  Also known as two-factor authentication or 2FA, in this process, the user has to log in twice.  Once with a unique code that is used only once and is sent to your smartphone through an SMS and later with the username and password.  Setting up this 2FA is a systematic process and also brings about security.
  2. Verification of the user for being a real human:  Websites generally make use of ReCAPTCHA forms in order to cross check whether it is a real human trying to enter into the website.  What the user sees in the image has to be typed as text.  These CAPTCHAs are helpful in stopping botnets from brute force logging into to a given WordPress website.  The Botnets cannot or do not have the ability to computerize this login process specifically and hence the access to your website can be stopped.
  3. Get a wp-login.php password protection:  This is for all those WordPress developers and users who are comfortable in handling server side to make alterations.  They can have a login on the server side before the actual login screen for the WordPress site is displayed.  When you have this wp-login.php login system, it will take the security levels to a higher level altogether.

Code Security:  It is essential that you secure the code that has been used and you also need to ensure that it is not fiddled by any kind of attackers.  It is totally irrelevant whether you are using the code from another third party or using a plugin for your website or generating a new theme or even a plugin.  Making use of a code that is insecure and not adhering to the best practices will give leverage for the attackers to gain complete control or a little control over your website.  Ensure that you have the right methods that can help retain the security and code integrity of your website.

  1. Have the latest WordPress version:  Right from the WordPress 3.7 version, there are minor releases which include maintenance and security that become functional automatically.  You can also automatically install all the various other major releases in WordPress when you follow up your wp-config.php file.  No doubt this is a brilliant idea but there is also a risk that it will lead to some kind of incompatibility between the version that is now newly installed and the already existing plugins or themes.  It is strongly recommended that you leave some room for having a testing environment.  It is the third party tools that will help you to manage all the installations for your WordPress website through a unified and single interface.  You can also have an installation of WordPress through a single click.  This applies to the plugin updates and themes too.
  2. Make a clever choice of the themes and plugins:  You should ensure that you choose only those plugins and themes which are updated and maintained on a regular basis.  This system will help in highlighting and update the security vulnerabilities if there are any in the plugin very quickly.  There are a few plugins that are audited for security by third parties and hence will be helpful in relieving the stress of looking into matters so complicated as this.
  3. Generate the right plugins and themes:  One thing you need to be fully aware of…you will have to adhere to the best practices of WordPress security regardless of whether you are new to this platform or used to this platform so that you can generate the right plugins and themes.  You can make use of nonces to clean the data and also it is extremely vital to stay updated with all the latest developments and best practices so as to understand the capabilities and roles of WordPress.  You need to delve deep into areas like cleaning, authenticating data and escaping in WordPress.  You also need to keep yourself abreast of how to guard yourself against the rogue plugins that are there in WordPress.  In short, you need to have a safe and secure installation of WordPress so as to have improved user experience, quality code, and authentication.  You also need to have amazing support, seamless hosting, and security.
  4. Make use of Managed Hosting:  There are companies galore that offer managed to host for WordPress.  We have Media Temple, SiteGround, and WP Engine.  No doubt you will have to pay a premium price in order to get managed to host when you compared it to unmanaged hosting or traditional shared hosting.  This kind of managed hosting for WordPress will bring along a whole lot of security for your website.

Let us take one case for instance.  WP Engine will come up with an automatic update of the key plugins in WordPress.  It will also halt a few security vulnerabilities.  All those plugins will be halted that may hamper the performance as well as the security of the website.  The majority of the WordPress managed hosting outlets offer a configuration that will avert any kind of malfunctioning in the website and also hardware-based firewalls.  Though this may appear to be a lengthy process to the users, it will definitely relieve a lot of breaches that may occur in the security.  You will, of course, have WordPress experts to take care of the functioning of the website in a smooth manner.

  1. Ensure to Have Accurate Folder and File Permissions:  There may be a few who do not use the managed web hosting facility.  Such people should ensure that they have permissions and approved ownership for the various folders and files.  This permission will enable easy updating of the WordPress at regular intervals and will also avoid any kind of misuse of file security by the attackers.  It will halt them from taking control of the website.

It has been established that WordPress files have 0644 permissions and WordPress folders have 0755 permissions, regardless of the hosting.  One should not set any kind of folder permissions to 0777 when they are trying any kind of plugin installations or when they are uploading new media.  You need to ensure that the PHP is run in the right folders and correct users and of course, is owned by the correct user.  In the process, you can also try to make your website even more secure.

  1. Hardening on the server side:  If you are one of those users who are in an advanced stage, managing your own hosting of the website, you may also ensure that you have access to UPDATE, INSERT, DELETE AND SELECT privileges alone.  You can make sure that you use only strong passwords and usernames.  You can completely avoid file editing on the server side within WordPress.  When you find out the kind of web hosts that offer these tasks for your website, you can choose that web hosting.

This has been an insight into the practices that will increase the security of your WordPress website and it encompassed areas that are basic like user authentication and coding practices to hosting setup.  The article also elucidates on the practices that are relevant for advanced users so that they can maintain security on their WordPress website.

Additionally, WordPress site owners can make use of security plugins like BulletProof Security or WordFence.  They appear to be a very good alternative.  There are in fact numerous ones that are available and one could choose from.  So, ideally, you can take some time out to research and figure out the ones that will best fit your needs.

You need to bear in mind one important thing…a small folly, and you lose a whole lot of data because of a hacked installation in WordPress.  So, to avoid such a mishap, you need to install a backup service in WordPress.  Something like a BackupBuddy or a VaultPress.  Such services will help in the complete restoration of the website whenever there is an error or an attack.

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