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10 Essential Security Measures to Have a Safe WordPress Site

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In the ever-evolving digital landscape, website security is of utmost importance. As one of the most popular content management systems (CMS), WordPress if a prime target for hackers and malicious actors, and therefor the security of your website should be a top priority. It’s essential to implement robust security measures to have a safe WordPress site from potential threats, whether you’re a business owner, blogger, or an individual, protecting your valuable data and maintaining the trust of your visitors is paramount.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go through the top 10 security measures that will help fortify your WordPress site against malicious attacks. From implementing strong passwords and keeping your WP core, themes, and plugins up to date, to utilising security plugins, and enabling SSL certificates, we’ll cover all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and integrity of your website. If you follow these essential security measures, I can assure you that your site will be well-protected, and you will mitigate potential risks. Don’t leave your website vulnerable to cyber threats, so let’s dive in and learn how to safeguard your WordPress website.

Why is Website Security Important?

Ensuring the security of your website is essential for several reasons. As we mention earlier some of them include:

  • Protect your valuable data.
  • Protect customer information.
  • Protect financial details.
  • Protect intellectual property.
  • Maintaining your visitor’s trust.

In an age where cyber-attacks are prevalent, users expect websites to prioritise their security. By implementing the following security measures, you can create a sense of trust and confidence with your audience, encouraging them to engage with you and share sensitive information.

security measures to have a safe wordpress site

Common Vulnerabilities in WordPress Websites

Before talking about the security measures to have a safe WordPress site, it’s good to understand the common vulnerabilities it faces. Once you are familiarised with these vulnerabilities, you will be able to better protect your site against potential threats.

One common vulnerability is having outdated software. Not updating WP core, themes, and plugins can leave your website susceptible to known security flaws. Hackers are constantly searching for websites with outdated software to exploit.

Another vulnerability is to have weak user authentication. Having weak passwords, easy-to-guess usernames, and not setting up a two-factor authentication can make life easier for hackers to gain unauthorised access to your website’s dashboard.

Additionally, some hosting providers are insecure, the lack of regular backups, not enough monitoring and detection mechanisms can also leave your site vulnerable. So, now that you know why is so important to apply security measures to have a safe WordPress site, let’s focus on how to apply them and prevent any attack.

Security Measures to Have a Safe WordPress Site

1- Choosing a Secure Hosting Provider

The first step will be to ensure that the hosting provider you choose is reliable and secure. Not all hosting providers are created equally when it comes to security. Look for providers that offer advanced security features, robust firewalls, regular backups, and malware scanning.

Additionally, consider hosting providers that offer SSL certificates, which encrypt the communication between your website and its visitors, adding that extra layer of security. My hosting provider of preference is SiteGround, I totally recommend it for it has all the security features I just mentioned, and they have the best support team ever, with 24/7 availability.

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2- Keep WordPress Core and Plugins Updated

To regularly update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins is crucial for maintaining a secure website. Developers are constantly releasing updates that take care of security vulnerabilities. One of the best things about WordPress if the huge community of developers behind it that you can always count on when you have any issue, and lots of developers that take care of security matters.

By keeping your software up to date, you ensure that you have the latest security patches and reduce the risk of exploitation by hackers and improve the overall performance of your website. You can enable automatic updates on some plugins, although I strongly recommend only doing this on plugins that won’t give you compatibility issues.

When you enable automatic updates, you risk that some plugin update creates a compatibility issue and that is another reason why you should hire someone to maintain your website if you don’t have the time to be on top of it always. The best way is to always backup your website before updating anything, which brings us to the next security measure.

3- Regularly Back Up Your Website

Backing up your WordPress website is vital for disaster recovery and mitigating the impact of security breaches, incidents such as accidental data loss, or system failures. You have different plugins you can install that will do this job, I use UpdraftPlus which allows me to schedule automatic backups and store them securely offsite or in a separate location from your website’s server.

Don’t forget to test your backups periodically to ensure they are working correctly and if the time comes, you can restore your website straight away to a previous and healthy version.

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4- Install a Reliable Security Plugin

Implementing a web application firewall will help enhance the security of your website. WordPress offer a wide range of security plugins that will act as a shield between your website and potential threats. These plugins provide features such as malware scanning, firewall protection, brute-force attack prevention, and file monitoring.

Always look for reputable security plugins with positive user reviews and active development. Some popular options include Wordfence, Sucuri Security, iThemes Security, and MalCare (which I usually use). Install and set up the plugin that fits your needs and make sure you update it regularly to take advantage of the latest security features and improvements.

5- Implement Strong User Authentication

This is one of the most effective ways to secure your WordPress website. You can start by using unique and hard-to-guess usernames for your administrator accounts. Instead of choosing or leaving default names like “admin” or “administrator”, change those names to a more unique one.

 Additionally, try to enforce strong passwords for all user accounts, including a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. You can consider using a password manager to create and store complex and difficulty passwords safely. And finally enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) will add an extra layer of protection by requesting users to provide a second form of verification, such as a unique code from a mobile app in addition to their password.

6- Secure and Unique Passwords + Limiting Login Attempts

Even though I just mentioned using unique passwords, I think is worth it to dive deeper in the matter. Usually users have the thought “No one is going to hack my small business website” so they don’t pay that much attention to these details, until bad things happen, and then it’s chaos.

Passwords play a significant role in securing your WordPress site. It’s of upmost importance to use strong and unique passwords not only for administrator accounts, but for any user that might need to log in. Weak passwords are an easy target for brute-force attacks, where hackers use automated tools to guess passwords systematically.

Avoid using common words, personal information, or sequential numbers in your passwords. Instead, you should use longer, and randomly generated passwords. You can always count on passwords managers to help you generate and store complex passwords securely, eliminating the need to remember them all.

7- Secure Your WordPress Login Page

Your WordPress login page is the gateway to your website’s admin area. There are a few measures to consider making sure it is totally safe.

  • Change the default login URL:
    By default, WP login URLs are predictable and susceptible to brute-force attacks. Make sure to change the URL to something unique, you can use a plugin like WPS Hide Login to make it harder for attackers to locate your login page.
  • Implement SSL/TLS encryption:
    Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption ensures that data exchanged between your website and visitors is encrypted, preventing interception and tampering. Always install an SSL certificate to enable HTTPS on your website.
  • Use HTTP security headers:
    Implement security headers like Content Security Policy (CSP), HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and X-Frame-Options to protect against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), clickjacking, and other common web vulnerabilities.

8- Use Only Reliable Themes and Plugins

As you may know WordPress works through different themes and plugins, that you can install and will give you more tools and design options to build a website. When choosing these themes and plugins, make sure you are downloading and installing trusted sources tools, such as the official WordPress repository or reputable third-party marketplaces.

You should also ensure to regularly update them to always have the latest security patches. If you avoid using outdated or abandoned plugins and themes, you will avoid also any unpatched vulnerabilities that could compromise your website’s security.

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9- Remove Any Unused Themes and Plugins

Another key aspect of the themes and plugins you have on your WordPress dashboard is to make sure you are using them and therefor you will probably be updating them regularly. But don’t forget to also delete any unused plugin or theme. These are potential security risks, even if you are not actively using them.

They will become entry points for attackers, specially if they contain vulnerabilities. Make sure to regularly review your WordPress installation and remove any unnecessary themes and plugins to minimise the risk of exploitation.

10- Monitor and Audit Your Website

Continuously monitoring and auditing your WordPress website is essential for detecting and responding to potential security incidents. You should consider using a website security service or plugin that offers real-time monitoring, malware scanning, and alert notifications. Tools like MalCare, or Jetpack, identify suspicious activities, like unauthorised changes.

Get used to regularly reviewing your website logs, performing security scans, and stay always vigilant to ensure the ongoing security of your WP site.

Conclusion

Keeping your WordPress website safe is an ongoing process, you must always be aware of that and make sure you are following all the preventive measures, regular updates, and continuous monitoring we just talked about.
By following these 10 crucial security measures to have a safe WordPress site, you will significantly reduce the risk of security breaches and protect your valuable data. Remember to:

  1. Choose a secure hosting provider.
  2. Keep the WP core and plugins updated.
  3. Regularly backup your website.
  4. Install a reliable security plugin.
  5. Implement strong user authentication.
  6. Use unique passwords and limit login attempts.
  7. Secure your login page by changing the URL.
  8. Use reliable and well-known themes and plugins.
  9. Remove any unused theme or plugin.
  10. Always monitor your website.


While this can seem overwhelming there is nothing you need to worry about, you can always find someone who offers website maintenance plans like me. I will make sure your website is safe, updated, backed up, and always monitored. By prioritising your website security, you will ensure the safety and integrity of your site and provide a secure experience for your visitors.

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