Can I See Who Is Accessing My WordPress Website?
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) used across the world. The software is extremely versatile, offering bloggers, writers, and business people a versatile tool to build their online presence. Launched in 2005, the open-source CMS now powers over 25 million websites, across the world.
What’s interesting is that despite WordPress’ popularity, many businesses still hesitate to implement it on their sites. Typically, the main concern is with security. After all, hackers can and do wreak havoc on websites using this software, resulting in lost articles, damaged images, and even worse.
If you’re worried about your WordPress installation being hacked, you’re in good company. Due to its immense popularity, the software is frequently targeted by cybercriminals. According to Sucuri, a leading provider of security for WordPress websites, between 5.8 million and 6.2 million WordPress websites were hacked in 2019.
Fortunately, there are measures business owners and site operators can take to ensure their sites stay secure. With a little bit of precaution and common sense, they can dramatically reduce the vulnerability of their sites to outside attacks.
Keeping Up With WordPress Security
Keeping up with WordPress security is challenging. The platform is always evolving, with new features being added and old ones being improved upon. Keeping on top of this is a full-time job in itself.
To make matters worse, not all security patches from WordPress.org are created equal. Some patches are more effective than others, based on various factors. For example, the Antivirus for WordPress plugin from Yoast is built on top of the well-known WordPress antivirus provider, WP-Security.
As a result, you may have to try several different security plugins to find the one that’s the best fit for your WordPress website. Moreover, every few months, you’ll need to scan your site again, to ensure it’s still secure.
WordPress Is Pretty Secure
Even though millions of websites use WordPress, it is still considered a relatively secure software. That’s thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of developers and security researchers, who regularly audit the codebase, seeking vulnerabilities and flaws that can be exploited by hackers. Because of this, you may not need to spend a huge amount of money on expensive security equipment, such as a firewall, to keep your WordPress website secure.
The good news is that the developers behind WordPress put a lot of effort into making sure the software is as safe as possible. This is evident in the software’s architecture, which includes several layers of security, operating in a way that minimizes the likelihood of flaws and vulnerabilities.
For example, the software uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection, when communicating with the WordPress server, which encrypts all data being sent between the two parties. Moreover, to further harden the connection, two-factor authentication is also used, where users have to enter a code sent to their phone, when viewing their account settings or creating new posts.
All of this adds up to a very secure WordPress, which makes your website more vulnerable, in the event that one of these vulnerabilities is subsequently exploited by a malicious actor.
How To Keep Your WordPress Secure
If you’re looking to keep your WordPress website secure, there are things you can do. First and foremost, you should always use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, for your website.
Why is this important? As we discussed, in order to utilize an SSL connection, one of the software’s requirements is that both servers involved in the communication, have a public IP address. If you’re wondering what a public IP address is, it’s essentially a special type of IP address that can be accessed by anyone on the internet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from your own IP range, so long as your modem, internet service provider (ISP), or company, allows such traffic. If you’re not sure whether or not your web host supports SSL, contact them directly, as this is usually handled at the platform level.
As a general rule, placing an SSL certificate on your WordPress website will also make it much easier for users to purchase products from your online store, as they won’t have to enter their credit card information on a third-party website.
Besides securing your WordPress site with an SSL certificate, you should also use a reputable WordPress hosting company. The better the service, the more expensive it is, but the fewer risks you’ll encounter.
If you’re concerned about the cost of running a WordPress website, you should also look into dedicated hosting, which costs more but offers additional features, such as content management tools and a custom domain.
What About Malicious Content?
Another factor that can make your WordPress website more vulnerable, is the content that’s published on your site. This is a common misconception, that malicious content makes a website more secure. The truth is that a large percentage of hacked websites actually contain no harmful software, but merely have content curated from other hacked websites. Because of this, if you have a WordPress website that contains malicious content, it may still be vulnerable to hacks. This is why it’s essential to regularly scan your site for content, that could potentially be dangerous. You can use a free tool like Sucuri, to regularly scan your WordPress site for harmful code and content.
If you do discover malicious content on your site, you should consult with a reputable web security expert, to help you clean it up. In the meantime, you should also consider blocking the content, until you can clean it up. Depending on the type of malware, you may need to clean it with anti-malware software, installed directly on your computer or server. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your web host for help.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
Even though we went over a lot of information in this article, there’s still more you need to know about WordPress security. If you have a WordPress website, you should look into the following: