Best Practices for WordPress Website Security

With WordPress powering over 40% of all websites, security is an essential part of maintaining a safe and secure digital presence. To safeguard your site from malicious actors, we’ll explore some tried-and-true practices that make sure the only visitors to your WordPress website are those you intended.

1. Change Your Login URL

One of the most straightforward steps you can take to improve your website security is to change your login URL. By default, WordPress uses the “/wp-admin” or “/wp-login.php” URLs for login pages. Since these URLs are well-known, it’s easier for hackers to attempt to brute-force their way into your site by repeatedly guessing your password.

Changing your login URL to something unique and hard to guess can make it much more difficult for hackers to target your site. There are several plugins available that can help you change your login URL quickly and easily, such as WPS Hide Login.

2. Use a Good Host with Good Security Practices

Choosing a good hosting provider is crucial for website security. Your hosting provider should have excellent security practices, including regular backups, firewalls, and malware scanning.

A good hosting provider should also provide you with access to tools and resources that help you manage your website’s security effectively. For example, some hosting providers offer free SSL certificates or provide support for implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) on your site. (We highly recommend WPEngine and Flywheel for hosting.)

3. Keep Plugins and Other Software Up-to-Date

Keeping your plugins and other software up-to-date is essential for website security. Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to your site.

WordPress makes it easy to keep your site up-to-date by providing automatic updates for plugins and themes. You should also regularly check for updates to any other software you use on your site, such as your hosting provider’s control panel or third-party tools.

4. Use an SSL Certificate on Your Website

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that provides a secure, encrypted connection between your website and your visitors’ browsers. SSL certificates help protect sensitive information, such as login credentials or payment information, from being intercepted by hackers.

Using an SSL certificate on your website is crucial for website security. Google also considers SSL certificates as a ranking factor, so having an SSL certificate can also improve your website’s search engine visibility.

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for Your Login

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that requires users to provide two forms of authentication before gaining access to their account, such as their password and a code sent to their email. 2FA can help protect your website from brute-force attacks and other types of security breaches. We recommend implementing 2FA for any administrators on your website, though you may want to leave 2FA turned off for customers.

There are several plugins available that can help you implement 2FA on your WordPress site, such as Google Authenticator, Wordfence, or another simple 2FA plugin.

6. Disable Your XML-RPC File

XML-RPC is a remote procedure call (RPC) protocol that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. While XML-RPC can be useful for some features, such as remote publishing, it can also pose a significant security risk. Hackers can use the XML-RPC file to execute brute-force attacks on your site, trying multiple username and password combinations to gain access to your site.

To disable your XML-RPC file, you can use a plugin such as Disable XML-RPC or Jetpack. Disabling XML-RPC can significantly improve your website security by removing a potential entry point for hackers.

7. Use a Service like Cloudflare to Help Mitigate Bot Attacks

Bot attacks can cause a lot of damage to your website, ranging from increased server load to data breaches. These attacks can be challenging to prevent, but using a service like Cloudflare can help mitigate them.

Cloudflare provides a range of security features, including protection against DDoS attacks, bot mitigation, and firewall protection. The service works by routing your website traffic through their network, allowing them to identify and block malicious traffic before it reaches your site.

Using a service like Cloudflare can help improve your website security by providing an additional layer of protection against bot attacks. It’s worth noting that Cloudflare isn’t a replacement for other security practices, such as keeping your plugins and software up-to-date, but it can significantly reduce your website’s vulnerability to bot attacks.

Website security is a crucial aspect of managing a WordPress site. By implementing these best practices, you can significantly improve the security of your site and protect your business.

Website security is an ongoing process. You should regularly review your security practices and update as needed to avoid potential threats. By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps to secure your website, you can keep your WordPress site safe and secure for your visitors.

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