Configuring Security – WordPress Hardening Guide (2021)

Hardening Your Website with WordPress Security

Every website owner should be concerned about WordPress security. If you care about the security of your website, you should follow the WordPress security best practices. We’ll go over all of the best WordPress security recommendations in this tutorial to help you safeguard your website from hackers and malware. While the WordPress core software is incredibly secure and is frequently audited by hundreds of engineers, there is still a lot that can be done to keep your site secure. As a website owner, you can do a lot to increase WordPress security.

What Is the Importance of Website Security?

A hacked WordPress site can significantly harm your company’s revenue and reputation. Hackers can steal user information, passwords, install harmful software, and even infect your users with malware. If you’re running a business website, you’ll want to pay special attention to WordPress security.

Maintaining WordPress Updates

WordPress is an open source program that is updated and maintained on a regular basis. WordPress installs minor updates automatically by default. You must manually start the update for major releases. WordPress also comes with a library of thousands of plugins and themes that you can use to customize your site. Third-party developers maintain these plugins and themes, and they issue updates on a regular basis. These WordPress upgrades are critical for your WordPress site’s security and stability. Check to see if your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are all up to date.

User Permissions and Strong Passwords

Stolen passwords are used in the majority of WordPress hacking attempts. Use tougher passwords that are unique to your website to make this more difficult. Not only for the WordPress admin area, but also for FTP accounts, databases, WordPress hosting accounts, and custom email addresses that use the domain name of your website. Another strategy to decrease the danger is to only provide your WordPress admin account to people who you absolutely need. Make sure you understand user roles and capabilities in WordPress before adding new user accounts and authors to your WordPress site if you have a large team or guest authors.

WordPress Hosting: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Your WordPress hosting service is the most critical aspect of your WordPress site’s security. A competent shared hosting company would go above and beyond to secure their servers from frequent threats. To prevent large-scale DDOS assaults, all good hosting firms have tools in place. To prevent hackers from exploiting a known security weakness in an older version, they maintain their server software, php versions, and hardware up to date. They have disaster recovery and accident policies in place, allowing them to preserve your data in the event of a significant incident.

Install a backup solution for WordPress.

Backups are your first line of defense in the event of a WordPress assault. Remember that nothing is really safe. If government websites can be hacked, you may be sure that yours can, too. Backups enable you to swiftly recover your WordPress site in the event that something goes wrong. You can utilize a variety of free and paid WordPress backup plugins. We recommend using a cloud storage provider such as OneDrive or GDrive. Always make as many backups as you don’t mind losing. Thankfully, utilizing plugins like UpdraftPlus, which are both dependable and simple to use, this is a simple task.

Best WordPress Security Plugin

Following backups, we must set up a security auditing and monitoring system to keep track of everything that occurs on your website. File integrity monitoring, failed login attempts, virus detection, and so on are all examples of this. Sucuri Scanner, the greatest free WordPress security plugin, can handle all of this. The first thing you’ll be asked to do after activation is generate a free API key. Audit logging, integrity checks, email alerts, and other essential features are all enabled as a result of this. The next step is to go to the settings menu and select the ‘Hardening’ tab. After you’ve gone over all of your options, click the “Apply Hardening” button. These options assist you in securing the key elements of your site.

Make the switch to SSL/HTTPS for your WordPress site.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a data encryption technique that encrypts data transmission between your website and the user’s browser. It is more difficult for someone to probe around and steal information using this encryption. Your website will use HTTPS instead of HTTP when you enable SSL, and a padlock icon will appear next to your website address in the browser. A free SSL certificate for your WordPress website is now available from several hosting companies.

Change the default username “admin” to something else.

The default WordPress admin login used to be “admin.” Because usernames account for 50% of all login credentials, brute-force attacks were made easier. Since then, WordPress has altered this and now asks you to choose a custom username when installing the software.

Editing of files is disabled.

WordPress includes a code editor that allows you to edit theme and plugin files directly from the WordPress admin area. This functionality can be a security concern in the wrong hands, which is why we recommend turning it off.

Disable the execution of PHP files in specific WordPress directories

Disabling PHP file execution in directories where it isn’t needed, such as /wp-content/uploads/, is another option to improve WordPress security.

Limit the number of times you can log in.

WordPress allows users to try to log in as many times as they like by default. Your WordPress site is now exposed to brute-force attacks. Hackers attempt to crack passwords by logging in with various combinations.

Authentication using two factors is now available.

Users must log in using a two-step authentication procedure when using the two-factor authentication methodology. The first step is to enter your login and password, and the second is to authenticate using a different device or app. You may enable it for your accounts on most popular websites, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The same capability can be added to your WordPress site. The Two Factor Authentication plugin must first be installed and activated. The next step is to download and launch an authenticator app on your phone. There are various options, such as Google Authenticator.

In WordPress, disable XML-RPC.

Because it helps integrate your WordPress site with web and mobile apps, XML-RPC was enabled by default in WordPress 3.5. XML-RPC can significantly enhance brute-force assaults due to its strong nature. As a result, if you’re not using XML-RPC, we recommend turning it off.

Log out automatically WordPress’s Idle Users

Users who are logged in may occasionally stray away from their screens, posing a security risk. Someone can take control of their session, change their passwords, and modify their account. This is why many banking and financial websites lock off idle users automatically. Similar functionality can be implemented on your WordPress site as well.

Adding security questions to the WordPress login screen is a good idea.

Adding a security question to your WordPress login screen makes gaining unauthorized access much more difficult.

WordPress Malware and Vulnerabilities Scanning

If you have a WordPress security plugin installed, it will scan for malware and evidence of security breaches on a regular basis. If you see a significant decline in website traffic or search rankings, you should manually run a scan. You can utilize your WordPress security plugin or a virus and security scanner that is available online. It’s simple to use these online scans; simply enter your website URLs, and their crawlers will search your site for known malware and harmful code.

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