You’ve probably had experience using WordPress as your primary content management system. In fact, studies indicate that 35.7% of all websites across the globe use WordPress. The core reason it is so popular is that WordPress is accessible not only to developers but to simple users as well. You don’t need to dig deep into programming while using this open-source tool yet you can’t also avoid basic understanding of codes for a better experience.
But WordPress has a number of security issues. Even though WordPress is widely used all over the world for any kind of website it still has a range of vulnerable points and is among the most hacked CMSs. According to the Sucuri report, WordPress was the most infected website platform in 2019 with 94% of ranking.
💻 Why should they hack my WordPress website?
It doesn’t really matter how famous your website is, hackers reach out to any website as they use bots and do almost everything automatically. You may think why do they need your newly-launched website or your personal blog about pets and pajamas? Actually, hackers attack websites for a number of reasons as the following:
- Gather your data which can include any private information
- Experience exploiting less secure websites as a beginner
- Damage other websites using your own
- Spreading malware which can affect your website visitor’s PCs
And it’s not the complete list. There can be more stimuli for this particular action. So often plugins and themes used in a WordPress website result in hacker attacks. Let’s understand what the main security issues of WordPress are and how you can wisely avoid facing them.
✂️ Using a weak username and password
In fact, it does not only concern WordPress-powered websites but all of your digital data in general. The first top-skill of a hacker is the ability to crack your login credentials. And hackers usually test the most common usernames such as admin, admin123, your website name and so on. Just for your information, note that this action is also known as Brute Force Attack.
The first thing you must consider is to avoid choosing easy-to-guess usernames. Try your whole creativity to think up one quite unique and hard to guess. The same refers to choosing passwords. Admin123?, 123456 are probably the most common passwords among WordPress users. Your password must contain characters, uppercase and lowercase letters to be secure. Also, avoid using short passwords. At least, you can use a password generator tool if you’re having trouble creating one.
⏳ Using out of date plugins and themes on your website
There’s a page on your WordPress website dashboard to which you must pay much attention. That’s the page of plugins that you need to check constantly for available updates. Do the same with themes as well. Out of date plugins and themes make it easy for hackers to damage your website. If a plugin has not been updated for a long time it speaks about security issues. So make sure to choose them wisely. You can simply configure automatic updates for them. Also, delete the plugins you no longer use. You may think to deactivate them is enough but it does not really reduce the probability of being hacked.
👎 Applying for a bad-quality hosting provider
The hosting industry is on its daily progress and expansion. As of May 2019, there are 338,561 web hosting providers worldwide, FinancesOnline reports. Feeling amazed and confused? No need to panic at all. But if you choose a less secure provider for your website you may later need to panic when being hacked. Most website owners choose cheap providers that’s why they suffer so often. When it comes to a hosting provider don’t hesitate to choose a costly one and also consider this step to be an investment in your business and its security. Make sure the provider you choose includes Malware scanning, updated version of PHP, WordPress firewall and MySQL. Be attentive while storing your website on shared hosting. As there are multiple websites using the same hosting the risk of being hacked can increase. This means that if a website is attacked, hackers can then easily reach your data. If you’re concerned about security issues you can try virtual private servers (VPS).
❌ Not implementing two-factor authentication
If you haven’t activated two-factor authentication on your WordPress website yet hurry up to fix your mistake. In fact, you will need to install a plugin for this such as Google Authenticator or Two-factor Authentication. It usually boosts protection on your WordPress login. Every time when you try to log in you will receive a one-use security code on another device such as your mobile phone. Two-factor authentication strongly helps lower the potential of hacker attacks.
🔺 Using default login pages
Usually, when hackers try to access your admin area the first version which comes to their minds is the login page to be wp-admin. Using a default login page for your website makes it easy for bots to obtain your data. It’s better to change the login page address by using plugins or just do it manually though many recommend not doing so as you may face difficulties with WP Core files. Also, to prevent actions of being cracked you can password protect your WP admin.
❕ Not changing the WordPress table prefix
Many of you probably know that WordPress uses wp_ as its default table prefix. During the installation process, you have a chance to change it and make it more complicated. This will be a step forward to reducing your database vulnerability as hackers usually try to guess database table names by using the default prefix. Find some instructions on how to change the WP table prefix here.
🔢 Showing WordPress version number
By default, WordPress holds a meta tag showing the version number of WP. So often hackers use this as a good way of targeting old versions of WordPress. If you’re using an out-of-date version of WP or your current version needs an update do it soon because old versions of WordPress possess known vulnerabilities. Using the latest version of WordPress you may not even need to hide its version number as developers fix all the vivid security issues. Anyways, if you are using an old version of WordPress it’s a good idea to hide its version number.
Apart from all of your business needs, you must always consider security to be your first priority. Newer security issues of WordPress appear during the time. To protect your website in this flow keep yourself up to date to new changes, enrich your awareness of security best practices and don’t forget to integrate WordPress security plugins. And always perceive your data as a significantly important value for you. If you lose it you will come to realize you’ve wasted all your investments in your business.