If you have ever had your WordPress site hacked, then you know that it is not any fun.
If you are fortunate enough to never have experienced such an attack, then you should still be aware of the potential dangers out there.
The fact is that most WordPress sites are almost defenseless against malicious hackers.
Considering how easy it is to improve the security of your site, that is a pretty sad fact. For this reason, we have put together this list of seven simple things you can do to secure your WordPress site.
While we definitely recommend doing everything on the list, even doing one or two of the following things will dramatically improve the security of your WordPress blog.
1. Use a Secure Hosting Company
Did you know that hosting vulnerability is one of the leading causes of downed WordPress blogs? For this reason, it is imperative that you choose your hosting provider carefully.
The truth is that not all hosting companies are created equal, so do your research.
You might feel tempted to choose the cheapest hosting service that you can find.
However, spending just a few extra dollars a month can make a world of difference to the security of your precious content. Do not skimp or you may suffer huge losses in data later on.
2. Keep Everything Up To Date
It is easy to ignore those “please update now” messages at the top of your WordPress dashboard, but doing so is a big mistake. Hackers commonly target older version of WordPress because they have known vulnerabilities.
Not updating your WordPress in a timely manner is sort of like leaving the back door of your house unlocked.
The same rule about keeping things up to date is applicable to themes and plugins as well.
Even one out-of-date application can lead to the demise of your entire website and the loss of all your hard work, so be sure to check for updates regularly.
3. Use Strong Passwords
This one should be a no-brainer. Almost 10% of WordPress hacks occur because of weak passwords. If your password is something like “123abc” or “password1,” you should login to your WordPress and change it immediately.
A strong password is unique, uses both letters and numbers and contains either random groups of letters or misspelled words.
Of course, there are many free password generators online that will help you come up with an incredibly strong, randomly generated password. Using one of these generators is highly recommended.
4. Use a Unique Username
If you are using “admin” as your WordPress username, you are not alone. It might be easy to remember, but it is not at all secure. Your WordPress blog, however, is extremely vulnerable to a malicious attack.
This is especially true if you are currently using a weak password.
The good news is that creating a unique username is very easy. All you have to do is login to your WordPress account and create a new administrator account for yourself with a more unique username.
Then, login as that user and delete your “admin” account. Do not worry; you will be able to credit all existing posts to your new account.
5. Limit the Login Attempts on Your Account
Many times, hackers will attempt to gain access to WordPress accounts by using bots or brute-force scripts. Given enough chances to succeed, these attempts will eventually result in a hack.
Fortunately, there is a way to protect you and your WordPress blog from such threats.
Simply find, download, install, and activate the Limit Login Attempts plugin. This nifty little plugin will do exactly as it name implies, and limit the number of failed login attempts permitted by a single IP address.
Some hackers will use multiple IP addresses to get around this defense, but it is still worth putting in place.
6. Avoid Free Themes
The vast majority of free themes are not written by knowledgeable coders, and are considerably more vulnerable to malicious hack attacks than most paid themes.
As a general rule, it is best to use only paid themes, and to only purchase WordPress templates from reputable individuals or companies.
This same idea also applies to plugins. For the sake of the security of your account, it is best only to use WordPress plugins which are listed on WordPress.org or are verified to have been written by a reputable developer.
7. Keep a Backup of Your WordPress Files
At the end of the day, there is really nothing you or anyone can do to make a WordPress account completely invincible to an attack from a hacker.
That is why it is important to have a backup plan in place should your WordPress files be compromised or deleted.
The best backup plan to have is actually a backup of all of your files. Luckily, the WordPress codex will tell you the exact steps to take to backup your site.
Of course, there are plugins that will automate the backup process for you as well as companies who will do it for you for a fee.