Website Security 101: 10 Tips to Secure your WordPress Theme and Plugin Code
Are you a website owner? Then WordPress website security is a crucial topic for you to consider! Even though WordPress is a highly secure and developer-friendly CMS platform, it’s not entirely secure. Being an open-source platform, it faces a few critical vulnerabilities.
A security scanning company – WPScan, which maintains a database of WordPress vulnerabilities, identified 7,512 unique vulnerabilities in 2022 alone. Of these, 90% were attributed to plugin threats, 6% to themes, and 4% to WordPress core file vulnerabilities.
If you are a web design company you might know how much effort one has to put in to keep your client’s site secure from hackers. Attackers try every brute force from phishing, malware, and other techniques to breach your security measures and steal data.
This article brings you 15 preventive methods to take when a cyber-attack hits your ground. It would help if you were equipped with all the necessary tips and tricks to manage vulnerabilities and security dangers to keep your WordPress website out of harm’s way for years. Let’s dive in!
Why is WordPress Security Important?
WordPress is one of the most widely used blogging and CMS platforms, with over 63.8% market share, according to W3Techs. No doubt, it is popular amongst malicious hackers from around the world.
Hackers give businesses a hard time by messing around the website and stealing data, credentials, and customers’ credit card information. And in the worst-case scenario – hackers try to steal the email list you use to send out newsletters or promotions.
In addition, WordPress can be more exposed if you are using a theme or plugin that is not secured in the first place. Always ensure the gorgeous theme you have selected for your site is ‘Safe’ to use. Building a site using a safe theme and plugin makes maintaining it less taxing, and you won’t need to worry about it falling prey to cyber attackers.
A compromised site can crash, making it inaccessible for your customers, thus giving them a bad experience. Keeping your site’s sanity in check can protect you from security breaches, data leaks, identity thefts, ransomware or phishing attacks, server crashes, and more.
This can affect your business reputation and thus jeopardize your customer’s trust. Your customers need to trust that the information they share is used and stored responsibly. Offsite backups or quick backup restores can help you resolve attacks seamlessly.
A poor ‘Unsafe’ site can drop your organic ranking and traffic. Even Google loves secured websites – thus giving your more visibility, more visitors, and a higher rank on search engines. Website security is one of the easiest ways to boost your ranking factors.
Malware authors are always unexpected! It is challenging for businesses to recover from a cyberattack if you are not actively staying on top of the game. Give hackers a hard time with the below tips and keep your WordPress page airtight and secure.
10 Tips for Improving your WordPress Website Security
WordPress Website security comes down to following multiple practices. But even if you do so, there is no guarantee that you will never experience an issue, but the odds would definitely be significantly lower. Follow the tips and tricks below to manage tomorrow’s threats easily.
1. Make the smart choice for themes and plugins.
If you are a new WordPress user or if you are choosing a WordPress theme for your clients – it is crucial to remain cautious during theme and plugin selection. While there are tons of cheap and unsafe options available, make sure you choose from reliable sources only, like WordPress Theme and Plugin stores or credible third-party stores.
Reliable sources rigorously search for bugs or threats and update their themes for utmost protection. Besides security, wise choice of themes or plugins can give you a fast loading experience, innovative designs and features, and much more.
2. Regularly validate your data.
If you have any form where users have to enter their data, the chances of malicious code injection are reasonably high. Therefore, you need to ensure all the forms requiring restrictive user input must have adequate validation.
Though WordPress has an inbuilt feature for forms validation – it is always safe and secure to customize your codes for superior and proper results. Good validation will help you reduce errors and restrict any code injections in website forms.
3. Choose secure domain hosting.
The first and most imperative step to keep your site secure from hackers is to host your WordPress website in a secure and robust environment. Whichever hosting platform you choose, ensure it has a security firewall, the latest version of MySQL and PHP, and a malware-scanning extension in your server environment.
4. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a time-consuming yet smart process to protect the website from malware authors. The two-step login process adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts. It helps to validate the user’s identity by sending the login security code to their registered mobile device thus securing the access management.
5. Use plugins to mask and hide your login page
Users generally use Wp-admin or Wp-login.php to log in to their WordPress accounts. A simple change to this login page can make your site difficult to hack. Users can hide or mask their login page using WordPress plugins like Lockdown WP Admin, Hide My WP, and more. These lightweight plugins allow you to hide common paths so that if anyone goes to your old sign-in page, they will see a 404 screen.
6. Restrict users from the plugin directory
One of the best ways to secure your website theme and plugin code is by restricting multiple access to the plugin directory. If you have multiple users using your WordPress, define what actions the specific user can carry out.
Keep a check on their capabilities before allowing access to anyone. To do this, you can implement some WordPress functions to sanitize inputs and outputs, enabling only certain users to carry out specific administrative tasks.
7. Version updates to fix any bugs
Monthly or quarterly updates of installed themes and plugins and WordPress version updates can ensure any bugs or issues in the previous version are fixed. This helps to eliminate any security errors for the smooth functioning of your site.
The website’s sanity checks can also help declutter any unused themes or plugins or even replace the existing theme. This can amp your site performance and loading speed and provide a great experience to users.
8. Beware of any PHP error reports.
PHP error reports occur due to malfunctioning any themes or plugins and can be an opportunity for cyber-attackers to harm your site’s integrity. These are more of a risk than an asset. You can keep this at bay by simply disabling the PHP error reports at the backend of your code.
9. Secure your login procedure
It is vital for all the users with backend WordPress access to use strong passwords. Even one weak link can be an opportunity for hackers and spell trouble for all users. You can also put a cap on the number of login attempts if a user enters the wrong credentials. If there are too many failed attempts – CMS can stop the brute-force login using a plugin like Limit Login Attempts.
For an additional layer of security, you can also add a captcha to verify that you are indeed a living person. Lastly, stay vigilant about auto-logout, especially if using a public computer. This will prevent strangers from snooping around your account – thus keeping your data safe.
10. Take regular backups of data
Being hacked is distressing for any business. No site is 100% safe! However, you can avoid the cyberattack by ensuring your site is backed up by WordPress and your hosting provider. Frequent data backup can help you take necessary actions in emergencies and regain access faster.
Even if you follow all the tactics to keep your site secure, you still need to restore data. We recommend all the WordPress plugins available to automatically backup your essential information.
If you doubt that securing your WordPress Plugins and WordPress Themes is really essential, then know that, on average, websites experience 94 attacks daily. And even if you take every measure to protect your site, if any of those attacks are successful – it could hurt your business seriously.
If you are running a local business in Los Angeles – you should stay more alert as recently, the city has witnessed a lot of criminal cyber-attacks. It is critical to do everything in your power to ensure the safety of your website, and to do so, a local web design company in Los Angeles can help in plenty of ways to amp up your website safety.
These local companies are proficient in helping you protect from all threats using the best tools and proven strategies. The above tactics and monthly, quarterly, or yearly security checks can also help keep the website out of danger.