How to Make Your WordPress Website Hack-Proof

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), giving anyone the ability to create a fully functioning website in less than ten minutes. Having such a great tool available to the public at large means that anyone can potentially launch a free blog and start cranking out blogs on a whim, not to mention the fact that content curation has become one of the most popular pastimes on the internet. Being able to protect your content from being repurposed by hackers and ensuring that your blog remains at the forefront of the minds of your target audience, however, is a skill that not many people possess.

Secure Your WordPress Installation And Keep It Up To Date

If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either a developer, a designer, or someone else with an interest in web security who’s looking to make their WordPress website more secure. The first step in the direction of a more secure WordPress website is to ensure that your installation is both safe and up to date. Before I begin, let me state that WordPress is not vulnerable to the most common web security risks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS) scripting. These type of attacks require some knowledge of coding, which most people are unwilling to invest in just to learn a few website building tools.

That being said, WordPress is vulnerable to file injection, which is a type of attack that relies on user error to execute. For example, let’s say that you’re uploading a PHP script to your web server that automatically generates links to other articles. Because you have not properly checked the content that’s being uploaded to your server for malicious content, such as a virus, worm, or trojan horse, these links could potentially point to websites that are malicious and attempt to attack your computer. This kind of vulnerability requires that you always use an FTP client that is connected to the internet port (typically 22) to transmit files to your web server. The reason being that any file that is received via FTP is processed by the PHP interpreter as soon as it’s uploaded.

Use Strong Passwords

Besides keeping your WordPress installation secure, you should also be using strong passwords. If a hacker were to gain access to your WordPress database and see that your website is populated with weak passwords, they could use that information to gain access to other accounts that you have on other websites, whether they’re linked to your WordPress account or not.

To provide some degree of security, you should be using a different password for each of your websites, whether they’re blogs or eCommerce stores. Keeping track of all these passwords can be difficult, so it is in your best interest to pick an easy to remember phrase that you can use as your user name (if you choose to use email addresses as login credentials) along with a strong password. Additionally, you should also be using a password manager if you’re using a computer or mobile device that is connected to the internet regularly. One of the best free password managers that I’ve used is 1Password, which I highly recommend because it allows you to create highly complex passwords that are based on combinations of your personal information, random letters, and numbers. Not only that, but you get to choose how much security you want from 1Password by setting a password strength meter next to your login credentials.

Use Two Factor Authentication

Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is another great way to make your WordPress installation more secure. In order to use 2FA, you’ll need to obtain two different security tokens. One of these tokens can be a physical device such as a YubiKey, while the other could be a software application, such as Google Authenticator or Authy. Using 2FA will require that you enter a code (usually a six-digit number) in addition to your password whenever you log in to your WordPress site. As you can see, using 2FA will add an additional layer of security to your WordPress website, which makes hacking attempts that much more difficult.

Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers spread around the world that store and serve content, including webpages, videos, and other online resources that you might want to keep available on your website. One of the best things about using a CDN is that it takes the strain off of your own web server, so you can focus on adding more content to your site.

The major downside to using a CDN is that it adds a level of complexity to your website’s architecture, which means it might require a bit of a learning curve before you can start to reap the benefits.

Be Careful With Popup Windows

Even though I’ve already covered some basic security tips for WordPress in this article, I should mention that popup windows (especially those that contain malware) should be avoided at all costs. If a user were to click on a popup that is trying to nag them to install software, they might inadvertently install malware on their device, thus exposing their own personal information. A good rule of thumb is to never show popup windows to users unless you’re absolutely sure that they want to see them.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to make your WordPress website more secure, it’s time to dive into the details. Keep reading.