There’s been a lot of talk recently of WordPress vulnerabilities. From email salary scams to scam-injecting malware that looks shockingly legitimate to the untrained eye, a new WordPress security concern appears to be emerging every week!
If you’ve been thinking of investing in a beautiful new WordPress while for a while now and you’ve been reading all about the risks surrounding this popular open-source software, it’s understandable that your confidence in the platform might have been shaken.
But, as someone who has working with WordPress websites for years, I can honestly say that they are just as secure as any other platform.
In fact, the path to a safer future is to make sure the site itself is regularly maintained – and it’s up to you to follow the best practices.
So… how can hackers get into a WordPress site?
1. Insecure web hosting
This is an issue that’s largely outside of WordPress’ control, because it’s up to any web hosting company to make sure their servers are up to scratch.
However, webmasters can take precautions by doing their research into good WordPress hosting providers and choosing a company that has a strong history of protecting its customers from malicious attacks.
2. Weak passwords
Choose an inadequate password, and you’re practically handing over the keys to your site!
Make sure you use strong, unique passwords for everything related to your WordPress website, including your admin account, your hosting control panel, your FTP accounts and any associated email accounts.
3. Out of date versions of WordPress
Every new version of WordPress is designed to fix bugs. If you’re not actively updating your system when a new release becomes available, you’re leaving the entire site vulnerable to an attack.
4. Weak themes and plugins
Hackers rejoice when they spot an out-of-date theme, or find out that you’re running an old version of a plugin on your site. It’s an easy way into the system, indeed.
Theme and plugin developers are usually pretty hot on fixing existing vulnerabilities – but again, if you don’t take the time to download the newest releases, your site won’t be protected.
What do you need to do to make sure your WordPress is safe and secure?
As the website’s owner, you are responsible for making sure that the system you’re using is up to date.
As a starting point, you will need to:
- Back up your website files and database at least once a week.
- Install an SSL certificate.
- Update WordPress when a new version becomes available. (The good news is, if you’re running with the default settings, WordPress will update automatically every time a minor security fix is released).
- Update all active plugins regularly to make sure you’re running the best (and most secure) version of each tool.
- Scan all your WordPress core files, theme files and plugin files regularly to identify any security holes.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Make sure your passwords are strong!
There are plenty of security plugins that can do lots of the hard work for you, too.
For example, Wordfence contains an endpoint firewall and a malware scanner which monitor website visits in real-time and flags up any hack attempts. The All In One WP Security & Firewall tool grades your site’s security, then applies the latest WordPress security practices and techniques to your site to make sure you’re covered. Then there’s Akismet, which has been specifically designed to check comments and contact form submissions from external users against a global database of known spammers; it promptly denotes any suspicious-looking feedback into your admin section so you can review and approve these comments manually. Clever, huh?
Does this all sound a bit complicated?
If you’ve just launched a new site, you’re going to want to shift your focus back to growing your business. The last thing you’ll want to be doing is revisiting the CMS on a daily or weekly basis and making sure everything is up to date.
That’s why I offer a dedicated WordPress support service that can take care of these monotonous tasks for you!
For a set monthly fee, I will work behind the scenes to make sure everything in the system is kept up to date and your site is backed up every single day.