What You Need to Know About WordPress Hosting and Security

WordPress is the most popular blogging tool in the world. It’s been around since 2003 and has almost a billion active monthly users. One of the reasons it’s so popular is because it’s so easy to use – anyone can create a blog in minutes.

But, as easy to use as WordPress is, it’s also one of the most popular websites hacking targets. Hackers continually try to break into WordPress-based websites, hoping to steal content or change it to suit their own purposes. If you’re a WordPress user, you need to be extra careful about the security of your site.

Why Are WordPress Users Vulnerable To Hacking?

WordPress users are vulnerable to hacking because of a certain structure in the way the CMS – content management system – is designed. Essentially, WordPress uses a “file-based” approach to storing information. That means that it uses text files to store all the content on your site. When you install WordPress on your computer, it will create these text files for you and give you the ability to edit them. However, everything else is stored in the “database” – that is, your computer’s hard drive.

When you use WordPress’s built-in admin panel, it’s easy for anyone to take a look at what’s going on in theory behind the scenes. For example, if you’re using a standard, shared hosting plan from a hosting provider, anyone who has access to your server will be able to view the contents of your various text files. This could include someone who breaks into your server, or it could just be the host yourself if you’re not careful! In any case, it’s easy for someone to gain access to all your site’s content if they know what they’re looking for.

How Can You Make Your WordPress Site More Secure?

As we mentioned above, WordPress stores all of your site’s content in text files. This means that any site-wide security issues are extremely easy to hack. If you have a lot of content on your site, all it takes is some dedicated time and effort to find the right pieces of content to replace.

Another major security hole in WordPress is the use of the weak password “admin” as the default setting for all new users. If you use this password somewhere on the site, it could potentially expose it to hacking. Luckily, you can change the password of any user you want without having to worry about security alerts from your hosting provider.

In order to make your WordPress site more secure, you need to do the following:

  • Use a strong, unique password for all administrative logins.
  • Only use passwords that are a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Use a passphrase (different from your password) whenever you log in to your site via an unencrypted connection (i.e. not https).
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Change your admin password every month.
  • Keep your software up-to-date.

Use These Helpful Tools To Keep Your WordPress Site Safe

If you follow the above guidelines, you’ll make sure that your WordPress site is secure against hacker attacks. However, this is only half the battle. Even if you have a secure site, it can still be infected with malware – potentially harmful software that can steal your personal information. Here are some helpful tools that you can use to keep your WordPress site malware-free and secure:

  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware: This is a decent anti-malware program for Windows users. It’s updated regularly so you can be sure that it’s always up-to-date and scanning for malware.
  • Honeypot: If you have a Linux server, you can install Honeypot to create a fake Wi-Fi network. All your visitors will connect to this network and send all their traffic through it. This way, even if someone hacks into your primary network and accesses your files, they won’t be able to browse your site because all the connections will be directed to the Honeypot network. So, while this might inconvenience your visitors (especially if they’re trying to access confidential information), it’ll also keep your site secure.
  • Chroot: If You’re Running a LAMP server (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) you can use the chroot() function to limit the access of certain directories in your filesystem. For example, you could use this function to prevent downloads or pictures from being viewed at the root directory of your website. This might be handy if you’re not sure what content your users will find valuable or if you want to keep certain directories private.
  • WebSense: WebSense is an add-on (paid) service from CloudFlare that protects your site from malicious attacks. It’ll generate an encrypted link that connects your visitors to a hidden page where they’ll be asked to log in with their email address. Once they’ve logged in, they’ll be given a unique, one-time-use password that they can use to access your site. This password is sent to them via email and, because it’s one-time use and has a short password length (8-16 characters), it’ll be easy for anyone to remember. Additionally, CloudFlare’s strong, secure servers will protect your site from hacking attempts.
  • Pixlr: This is a free image editing software available for both iOS and Android devices. It allows you to easily edit images with a simple point-and-click interface. Additionally, Pixlr’s security team checks all the apps that have access to photos that are uploaded to their servers for malware. If they do discover any, they will remove it immediately. This is a great feature if you’re worried about your photos being accessed by malicious software.

Above all else, remember that if you use a shared hosting plan, make sure that you’ve updated your server’s SSH (Secure Shell) settings in order to prevent anyone from logging in to your computer via remote terminal and stealing your information. WordPress itself is fairly secure; its biggest security flaw is the fact that it’s so easy to hack. However, if you take the time to follow these security tips, you’ll make sure that your WordPress site is as safe as possible against outside threats. Be sure to check back often, as new information about WordPress security and hosting is added regularly.