It seems like every day you see one more company on the news admitting to a data breach. It torches their reputation and often costs thousands or millions for them to make amends. It’s enough to make anyone with a website wonder, “When will it happen to me?”
If it seems like hackers are everywhere today, it’s because they are. Your WordPress site doesn’t have to be a sitting duck, though. Find out how to make a secure website on any budget.
How to Make a Secure Website: Tips for WordPress Users
Keeping your website secure requires a multi-faceted approach and ongoing maintenance. If you’re ready to boost your security, check out these tips:
Check Your Host’s Security
When you set up your website, you choose a web hosting service. Did you know that the wrong host can leave you vulnerable to a hacking attack?
When you shop for hosting, don’t pick the cheapest option and go. Find out what security measures each host has in place. Most hosting services have several packages at different price points, so this could factor into your decision.
Get Onboard with HTTPS
Remember when every website URL started with “http”? Have you noticed that many sites now start with “https” instead?
HTTP and HTTPS are both protocols that send your web content to your users. That extra “S” at the end stands for “secure.” It means that your site’s data is encrypted while it’s transported to your users.
It’s clear that HTTPS improves your website security. However, Google is now making it clear to users if your site is insecure as well. For any HTTP site, Google Chrome users now see a “not secure” label in the address bar. Not great for your site’s reputation.
To get onto HTTPS, you need an SSL certificate if you don’t already have one. This is a regulated security certificate, and some hosting services offer them for free.
Run a Web Application Firewall
A Web Application Firewall, or WAF, is just like the firewall you have on your computer. The only difference is that a WAF is built to protect websites from malware and other attacks.
Some hosts already offer a WAF for all their customers, so you may already have one in place. This isn’t always the case, though, so don’t take it for granted.
Update Your Plugins Right Away
One of the reasons so many sites use WordPress is that it’s easy to customize your site with plugins. But how often do you check for and install your plugin updates?
If this isn’t a constant part of your website maintenance, you could be at risk. Many software updates are released to patch security holes, and that includes WordPress plugins. Make it a regular task (every few days) to check for updates and install any that appear.
It’s also important to be careful which plugins you install. Free and cheap options tend to have little or no ongoing support. In this case, if they have security holes, the chances are slim that the developer will ever patch them.
Consider a Dedicated Security Plugin
Plugins do much more than add cool features to your site. They can also help you keep your site secure. There are some plugins that are made for WordPress security.
A security plugin can track log-in attempts, detect possible attacks, scan for malware, and more. Be sure to do your research and read reviews before you choose one, though.
If you do have a security plugin, it doesn’t mean you can take your site’s security for granted. It won’t catch or prevent everything, so take the other precautions on this list as well.
Hacker-Proof Your WordPress Login
This seems like a simple step but it’s the real deal. Too often, a hacker gets access to a site by guessing someone’s password. It’s an easy enough problem to prevent.
The catch is that your password needs to be too complex to guess but not too complex to remember. Writing down your password is a common security liability to avoid. Hacker-proof your password by using a series of different types of characters with a meaning or connection you’ll remember.
For an added level of security, you can enable two-factor authentication as well. After you enter your password, you’ll receive a text, call, or email with a one-time code. You’ll need to enter that code on your WordPress page to get access.
Keep Access as Restricted as Possible
If you’re working solo on your WordPress site, you already have this step in the bag. If you have co-workers or employees, though, be restrictive with your WordPress access.
Give access to as few people as possible. The more people have a password, the higher the risk that someone will leave it in an unsafe place or that a hacker will guess someone’s credentials.
Along these same lines, set each user’s permission levels with care. Give them as many
permissions as they need to do their job and nothing more. It’s also a good idea to check up on their activities from time to time.
Keep a Backup Up-to-Date
You might think you don’t need to worry about security if your site doesn’t deal with sensitive information.
However, sometimes a hacker will threaten to delete all your data if you don’t pay them a ransom (a ransomware attack). In other cases, he just wants to cause trouble and he’ll delete your data for no reason.
To keep these problems at bay, back up your full site on a regular basis. You can set up an automatic update to run every day or every few days.
Hire a WordPress Pro
If you want better security but you don’t have the time or the expertise to handle it, you’re not out of luck. A WordPress expert like those on sites like codeable.io and WPTangerine can improve your WordPress site in any way you choose.
Build a More Secure Website
Making your site secure is far from a one-and-done job. It’s an ongoing process.
As hackers get more sophisticated, your security should as well. Incorporating the steps above can teach you how to make a secure website and keep it safe for years to come.
For more tips about running your site, check out more articles on our website security blog.