Believe it or not, WordPress is a common target for hackers. Although WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System, it notoriously lacks security. We don’t if it is for a weak security infrastructure or the use of thousands of plugins, it seems WordPress couldn’t reach its top level when it comes to security.
You will be shocked to know –
-Around 90,000 WordPress websites were hijacked in 2013
Now, this is a matter of concern that can’t be neglected. All of these may force you to think – “how to prevent WordPress website from hacking?” This is where you will need to read this article as we are going to demonstrate 11 effective methods to prevent your WordPress website from hacking.
11 Ways to Prevent a WordPress Website Hack
It is your precious WordPress site and you need to keep it protected right? You might be searching for better ways to improve the overall security infrastructure of your website. And you just came to the right place.
Carefully go through these 11 result-oriented methods to prevent WordPress website from hacking –
- Get a Hosting Provider with Adequate Security
- Get a Premium Theme
- Install Security Plugins for Your Website
- Use the Latest WordPress Version
- Ensure Secure Login Credentials
- Install an SSL Certificate (HTTPS)
- Apply Two-Factor Authentication
- Disable File Editing Option
- Prevent PHP File Execution
- Scan Your Computer and Website
- Have Adequate Backup
Get a Hosting Provider with Adequate Security
The very first step to preventing a WordPress website from hacking is to get hosting services from a secure hosting provider. Before getting hosting, look for the security measures the company offers, how they react to any security breaches, and how they monitor their network servers.
It is better not to go for shared hosting plans as they are more vulnerable to hacking. Because it will be easier for hackers to target your website when it remains on the same server as other websites.
Some dishonest hosting providers will try to lure customers with cheap offers, don’t fall for that. Often such cheap hosting services don’t have proper security measures. The most costly, also most secure hosting option will be dedicated hosting. Most of the time big companies and enterprises go for dedicated hosting to secure high traffic and sensitive information.
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Get a Premium Theme
It is always better to get a paid theme rather than a free one. The free themes may have security vulnerabilities. When you use a free theme you can expect it is 100% secure. Along with the required look and features, the theme must be secure and robust.
You will need a paid theme for –
- Its regular updates and patches
- Its flawless compatibility with the current WordPress version
- Its bug and error-free build
- Its standard code
Finding a secure WordPress theme can be challenging as there are 7,000 WordPress themes available. But you can start by looking at the official WordPress site. A good theme will have many positive reviews, it will have a significant number of installations, and it will be updated on a regular basis.
Install Security Plugins for Your Website
If you want to prevent WordPress website from hacking, a quality security plugin is a must. It is one of the vital elements to keep your WordPress site protected. This is why you need a security plugin for your WordPress site –
- A security plugin offers brute-force protection when multiple login attempts occur randomly.
- It offers firewall protection to block suspicious traffic.
- It gives a record with regular security notifications.
- It also scans files, plugins, themes, and other content to identify security holes.
And if you are using a page builder tool like the Elementor, you should at least have a security plugin on your website. Among many WordPress security plugins, we recommend using Wordfence. It will remain in the left-hand menu of the WordPress dashboard. The free version offers total protection, including firewall blocks to brute force attacks. With that said, the premium version is affordable if you want to have more security features.
Use the Latest WordPress Version
To be honest, there is no limit when it comes to updates, and it is the same for WordPress. The newer versions of WordPress are more secure, including more advanced features. On top of that, all the previous bugs and security holes are fixed in the latest version of WordPress.
You will be notified of regular WordPress updates. Moreover, you can enable automatic updates so that WordPress gets updated in the background when there is a new core release. Although it is convenient to apply auto-updates for small releases, you will need to take manual actions for larger releases.
Ensure Secure Login Credentials
As we have said earlier, one of the main ways a hacker will try to access your WordPress site is by using automated login attempts. The chances of accessing your website will be higher if the username and password are the obvious ones.
If you want a more secure login, you need to apply unique login credentials that are hard to guess. While setting login credentials for your WordPress site, keep the following facts in mind –
- Never use ‘admin’ for the username as hackers will use it in the first attempt.
- Use a more complex password that includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Make your password long (usually of 8-12 characters) so that it becomes hard to guess.
- Also, make sure you are using a secure username and password for other website-related accounts. For instance, the email address associated with your website.
Install an SSL Certificate (HTTPS)
Nowadays, even search engines do not value websites without SSL certificates. You must transform all the links of your website from HTTP to HTTPS. Sometimes, browsers consider web pages without an SSL certificate to be potentially harmful.
HTTPS is a protocol that makes sure the communication between a browser and a website is encrypted. If HTTPS is not enabled on your website, then you can get an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate very easily. It is available as free for all websites and you can get it from Let’s Encrypt.
On the other hand, you may already have an SSL certificate for your website. If so, don’t forget to renew the certificate within two years. You can set a reminder for this as it is very easy to forget.
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Apply Two-Factor Authentication
Applying two-factor authentication takes your website’s security to the next level. It can strengthen the admin login of your WordPress site. Two-factor authentication is very effective, especially when you have given multiple login attempts to authorized personnel.
In case you don’t know about two-factor authentication, we will be glad to inform you. It is a login procedure that performs in two stages. At first, the user enters his username and password. After that, a one-time code is sent either to his registered phone number or email. In the next step, he needs to put that code to verify his identity.
We recommend using Wordfence security to enable two-factor authentication easily. Wordfence generates passcodes through an authenticator app. To configure this setup, you need to go to the following directory inside your WordPress dashboard –
Wordfence > Login Security
Here, you will find a key. You need to copy this key and paste it either into Google Authenticator or any other authenticator app.
Disable File Editing Option
Okay! This is very important. People often forget or neglect this method since it involves coding. But it is really important if you are sincere about the security infrastructure of your WordPress site.
By default, WordPress provides a code editor allowing you to edit site files. Although it may seem obvious, it has some downsides in terms of hacking. So, you better turn it off. To disable the file editing option for preventing the WordPress website from hacking, you need to add the following code in the wp-config.php file –
|// Disallow file edit|
define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
Prevent PHP File Execution
Only disabling the file editing option won’t be enough. You need to prevent PHP files from executing. Since the WordPress upload directory is writable, you can upload new content. But this can act as a potential entry point for hackers.
As long as it is under the administrative console, users can’t upload PHP files on a WordPress database without permission. However, there can be plugins or themes that may work against this rule without your concern. And hackers can take advantage of such plugins and themes. They can upload malicious PHP files through such plugins or themes, which can be dangerous if executed on the server.
That is why you need to mitigate PHP file execution. Open Notepad or a similar text editor, and insert the following rule –
Deny from All
After inserting the rule, you can save the file as .htaccess and upload it in your (/wp-content/uploads/) folders to prevent hackers from executing PHP files.
Scan Your Computer and Website
If you want to know how to prevent WordPress website from hacking, then you scan your website and computer for harmful viruses, malware, and suspicious code. If you use the Wordfence plugin, then you can go to –
Wordfence > Scan
Then, click on “Start new scan” to begin a scanning session on your website. It will suggest automatically how to fix it when there are issues. You should scan your website once every month. The more frequently you scan your website, the better.
That being said, you can’t leave your computer or local storage unprotected. You need to check if your local device is infected or bugged. Therefore, it is important to scan your computer or local device regularly.
Have Adequate Backup
Although this step is not directly related to preventing your WordPress website from hacking, it is very important if your website gets hacked. If you take regular backups of your WordPress site, you can restore everything in no time.
Just think for a second – “Would you like it if all your designs, posts, and important content get lost?” Obviously not. So, take regular backups of your website if you don’t want to lose anything. A good hosting provider offers backup plans in their hosting packages. So, you can ask your hosting provider for backups.
You can also install backup plugins if you are not satisfied with the backup plans of your hosting provider. Whatever you do, make sure you take necessary backups of your WordPress site regularly. You can also keep your WordPress site on a local server while taking backups. So, it is better to know how to transfer a WordPress site from the local host to the live server, just in case.
So far so good! We guess these 11 methods have answered the question – “How to prevent WordPress website from hacking?” Of these 11 methods, some may have already been applied to your website, while others may be unfamiliar to you. We’ve done our best to improve the security of your WordPress website.
We can guarantee applying the above steps will enhance the security infrastructure to a great extent. Let us know if you face any difficulty applying any of these methods by leaving a comment below. We promise to assist you as soon as possible.