As a WordPress owner, your major responsibility lies in maintaining vigilance against hacking attempts. Besides, considering how easily a WordPress website can be compromised, it becomes needful to follow every measure that can reduce the risk of your site being hacked. However, if you aren’t a tech-savvy person, the risks associated with your WordPress site and following the essential safeguards can be difficult to understand.
To help make the process of safeguarding your site from hackers easy for you, here’s an easy-to-follow checklist worth considering:
- Change Your Admin Username
WordPress usually setup a website admin account with “admin” as username. And so, it’s the first thing that hackers will try using to break into your site. With the release of WordPress version 3.0, you have the freedom to change the username at the time of initial setup. But, if you’re running your site on an older version, then it’s easy to forget to go back and change the username to something that’s less obvious. Thus, make sure to pick a new name other than ‘admin’ for your admin account name.
- Keep Your Password Secure
Password security may seem a trivial topic, however, not paying attention to keeping your password secure can get your website hacked easily. When it comes to maintaining security of your passwords there are two things you need to consider:
- Use hard to crack passwords, but ones that you can remember.
- Make sure to change your password periodically (ideally every 3-6 months). However, you can change it once per year if you’re using a strong password.
- Keep Your WordPress Site Up-to-date
Even though, WordPress releases several updates but it doesn’t update the core too often. And so, it is recommended that you should check out whether your site is updated or not on a monthly basis to keep it safe from hacking attempts. Remember that updates can break things, and thus it would be better to let some professional do the job for you.
- Update Your Plugins
WordPress Plugins are highly susceptible to attack. Despite using reputable plugins, your site can be compromised if the plugins are not updated. Fortunately, WordPress rolls out plugins updates that address vulnerability found in the previous version of the plugin. Make sure to keep your plugins updated according to the latest update released. Again, you may want your development team to take care of the plugin updates, as updates can cause your website to break.
- Checking Your Theme For Bugs and Errors
Apart from plugins, your website theme may also contains security holes. So, make sure that your WordPress theme is up-to-date. In addition, check out that the theme is well-coded, especially when you’re using a free theme that you’ve downloaded from some unknown source. That’s because, such WordPress themes usually contain automatically generated code that contains bugs. Luckily, there are plugins you can use to check out if any, malicious or unwanted code is present within your theme. One such great plugin is Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC).
- Put a Limit on Login Attempts
If a hacker launches a brute-force attack to know your password, then putting a limit on the number of failed login attempts from the same IP address can prove a viable solution. This is where the Limit Login Attempts come to rescue. It blocks the IP from attempting to login-in into your site, after it reaches the specified number of retries. Although, hackers can use other IP addresses to attempt a brute-force attack, but using the Limit Login Attempts plugin is still a worth a try.
- Using Two-factor authentication
In case a hacker fails to guess your password, they often try to crack your email account to reset your password. In order to make sure that your e-mail account doesn’t get hacked, two-factor authentication is the best option you can opt for. Two-factor authentication, as the name implies, requires you to complete two step process to login-in into your site. In the first step, you are required to enter a username and password, and then in the second step you need to confirm your identity by entering some verification code – that is being sent to your cell phone or tablet. There are plugins such as Duo Two-Factor Authentication, Google Authenticator and others that makes the process of setting up two-factor authentication on your WordPress website a snap.
Though you cannot make your WordPress 100% secure from getting hacked, but following the aforementioned checklist will definitely help you protect your site from hack attempts. One last thing I would like to advise is that, make sure to create a backup of your WordPress website, so that if it gets hacked, you can restore your site back to its original form.