Is Your WordPress Website Secure?

WordPress Security is a serious topic among website owners. Did you know that over 90,978 attacks happen every minute irrespective of the WordPress website size. With an increasing number of security vulnerabilities & attacks happening every minute, anyone can become a victim of a security breach – both big & small website owners. It is one of the most critical area to pay attention to your website security to avoid being compromised.

It’s worth stating that WordPress is a highly secure platform. WordPress releases constant updates to its platform offering platform improvements and fixing vulnerabilities, which is what you’d assume from one of the most powerful CMS platform.

If you follow internet media updates & wp-security reports you’d have a gut feeling that your WordPress could be an insecure platform. According to a recent study in 2017 by Sucuri, WordPress continues to be a leading platform among the infected websites on 83% which is a 9% increase from what was in Q3 2017.

WordPress is running under the hood of many websites considering the numbers. The question is whether we can consider WordPress as a secure platform?

Source: w3techs

Your website could be under attack without your knowledge

If you run or manage a WordPress CMS website without following self-implications on security practices, then you are making a big mistake. A small security loophole could prove to be a sole reason for an insecure website or exposure to vulnerabilities. It is crucial to know that although WordPress regularly releases updates addressing security vulnerabilities, a user should not ignore security best practices and act responsibly.

“According to statistics from 40,000+ WordPress Websites in Alexa Top 1 Million, more than 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attacks.”

Source: wpwhitesecurity

Having a list of security strategies can prove helpful even if you handle WordPress CMS like a pro.

Every week Google detects unsafe websites and keeps them in 2 categories, that threaten visitors privacy & security (phishing & malware).

Source – transparencyreport.google.com

Keep an eye on these Spots

That said, here are certain practices that you should stick to –

Keep WordPress environment updated

WordPress is an open source software which needs to be kept updated. Majority of attacks happening on WordPress CMS rely on the older versions of WordPress. If you are on an older version, the hacker may abuse your platform & attack your WordPress on the open vulnerabilities present in your system.

Do you know that Only 39% of WordPress websites are running the most current version of the software (4.8) – WordPress?

The below statistics are based on 42,106 WordPress websites found in Alexa’s top 1 million websites.

  • 769 websites (1.82%) are still running a subversion of WordPress 2.0.
  • Only 7,814 websites (18.55%) upgraded to WordPress 3.6.1.
  • 13,034 websites (30.95%) are still running a vulnerable version of WordPress 3.6.

 

WordPress regularly gets updated but major packages are manually initiated. These updates are crucial for security. You can visit the official WordPress.org blog on this page where you can get announcements of the security updates.

Keep in Mind –

  • Never install or download WordPress from any other website than https://wordpress.org.
  • Update your WordPress CMS and themes whenever there’s an update.

Check Plugins & Theme Vulnerabilities

These are the #1 attack vector being exploited by cybercriminals to hack and otherwise misuse WordPress websites. WordPress has a huge plugin library and there are thousands of plugins present which can be installed on this popular CMS. Plugins possess the biggest risk of being flooded with a malicious code, when installed it can easily be injected into the malicious code in the WordPress.

“According to a recent report by wpscan.org, of the 3,972 known WordPress security vulnerabilities:

  • 52% are from WordPress plugins
  • 37% are from core WordPress
  • 11% are from WordPress themes

 

 

The fact is that it is almost impossible to work on WordPress without installing plugins. But with some precautions, you can easily identify a trusted plugin before its installation. Always ensure that the plugin is from a credible source and check for its reputation by reading reviews, visiting the official website, number of installs and overall rating.  

As a cautious approach try to keep your installed plugins at a minimal level and only activate the necessary ones. If you have a dormant plugin then it is always sensible to remove it which reduces threat probabilities. Also, ensure that you keep your installed plugins up to date as the updates might bring improvements vulnerability fixes. There are plenty of security plugins available for WordPress that covers security aspects and hardening features.

Choose Strong Passwords & Access Permissions

Most common WordPress hacking attempts are with a username/password that can be easily guessed. The most commonly guessed password are names, cities, number series, qwerty etc. Hackers also try to user Brute Force cracks to break-in the password. Brute Force attack (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error adopted by the hackers to steal password ranging from methods such as simple guess work to various exhaustive strategies.

To reduce the risk and to maximize security, it is always advisable to create a password which is long, complex & impossible to guess. In addition to secure passwords, you may also implement multi-factor authentication login process on your WordPress site which will only allow permitted IP addresses to access the WordPress CMS.

If you have a team managing your WordPress website, then another way to reduce risk is to define access roles and responsibilities

 

Maintain WordPress Backups

A sound strategy to keep your entire Website secure is to regularly take its backups.

Backups allow you to quickly restore your website in case something goes wrong. Remember that nothing is 100% & keeping a set of regular snapshots in a trusted location will make your WordPress core files secure but will give you peace of mind. We recommend taking full site backups and storing them on a cloud backup like a stash.

 

Invest in a good Hosting

When you have a WordPress, you need to self-host. You can choose from shared-hosts, managed-hosts or host on your server. If you are installing and managing your own server, then ensure that proper security updates, OS updates, web server updates, database updates and any other applications should be properly installed.

If you are on a shared host, managed host or a cloud then each one of them will handle the security aspects differently. Deciding a host and hosting your website with a provider should be done with utmost care. This will avoid you from many security aspects & hurdles which may arise in the future.

Choose a web host with a good reputation and follows security best practices. Relying on incompetent web hosting companies can prove to be an expensive mistake, for example – their OS may contain not be updated or not patched leading to vulnerabilities. They might not have the experience or expertise to patch and fix the vulnerabilities.

Having studied all this, it is recommended to go with a reputed provider who is capable to keep your WordPress core safe & secure.

Conclusion –

It doesn’t take a lot of time and require hard work to follow best practices which will make your WordPress CMS foundation more secured. Once you start implementing these practices it’ll not only bring peace of mind but will make you a winner in the long run.

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