There are multiple ways to lock down your WordPress site against outside risks and attackers using protective code to create layers of security. While all of these layers are an excellent starting point, there is a slew of straightforward things you can add to further envelop your site against hackers, spam, and trash. We have eight tips to enhance the layers of security for your WordPress site further.
WordPress Website, Let’s Get Secured!
1. Watch for Errors—One of the most fundamental ways to ensure your website stays up to date in protective coding is to keep an eye out for errors and changes in your protective coding. With each technological upgrade, the possibility for mess-ups and issues arises. Stay on top of these evolutions to prevent, or at least de-escalate problems. There are some reliable error monitoring tools such as error logs, WordPress plugins, and third-party scripts, all of which can help you keep track of issues safely and efficiently.
2. React to Problems as They Arise—If your site gets hacked, do you know what to do? Having a list of action steps to take if and when this can determine whether your site gets up and running again in hours or days. The WordPress Codex is a great place to begin your research to create your counterattack plan. There are also a vast number of reliable resources on the internet, as well, to cultivate that plan.
3. Keep Your Computer Clean—It should go without saying, a junked up computer is equivalent to your website going swimming in a lake with an open wound. You are asking for an infection. Keep your primary computer clean of viruses and malware to ensure your WordPress website does not get affected by lousy scripting or worse.
4. HTTPS > HTTP—One letter may not appear to make a big difference in how you host your website, but HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. Eventually, almost every site on the internet will use an HTTPS URL.
Why is HTTPS so secure?
These connections are encrypted, which prevents third-parties from injecting themselves into the standard flow of web traffic. You want to use HTTPS to keep hackers and malware from intercepting your traffic and executing middle-man attacks.
To use HTTPS, you have to acquire SSL certification. An SSL certificate enables you to serve all your pages on the front end, back end, and in your admin control panel through the HTTPS protocol. The protection HTTPS offers is worth implementing.
5. Don’t Mess with the Core Code—WordPress, at its root, is already optimized for performance, functionality, and security. While adding layers of protection is very helpful and essential, you do not want to attempt to alter the base code. If you do, and you run a WordPress upgrade, all modifications disappear. If you don’t and don’t run the update, you are opening yourself up to a security breach.
WordPress offers exceptionally high levels of customization that do not require core code modification. Use themes, plugins, widgets, or the function.php file to create a unique site without risking the security of your site.
6. Create secure code—This tip is particularly crucial to WordPress developers. Writing clean and precise code following WordPress API is a requirement. As the first line of defense against assailants, any mistake in coding can open up some websites to the ills of the internet. If you need to brush up on your skills, check out the WordPress API and Coding standards and the developer’s handbook.
7. Look into Using Plugins—WordPress hosts a library of security plugins to enhance the protective barriers around your website. Take the time to research and stay current on the continually changing plugin possibilities.
Here are a few WordPress plugins we recommend:
- Look-See Security Scanner —this plugin authenticates the validity of your WordPress installation
- Plugin Inspector —this plugin does the detective work for you, checking your other plugins for lousy code and weak spots
- Old Core Files —this last suggestion removes old WordPress files from your server
While there are also somewhat useful all-in-one plugin options available, you need to consider the risks of using these types of plugin. If your plugin is all-in-one and it fails, all the security features fail with it. All-in-ones also tend to be overstuffed with unnecessary elements that could introduce weak spots to your site. It’s ultimately up to you to decide do you want a plugin for ease of use or security?
8. Operate with SFTP—Similar to using HTTPS vs. HTTP, SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol, also referred to as FTPS) is the stable version of FTP. SFTP allows you to securely transfer files to and from your server in an encrypted fashion. This is much safer than using standard FTP methods.
These eight simple tips will take your site to an entirely new level of protection. Consider integrating these practices into your security strategy to strengthen your WordPress site further.
Emin is a web designer and at Los Angeles-based web design agency, Amberd. On his free time, he enjoys writing tutorials like this and traveling around the world.