Having your site hacked can be one of the worst nightmares of all website owners. Being open-source and the most popular content management system (CMS) in the industry (accounting for 38.1% of the websites), it is natural for WordPress to be more vulnerable than the rest.
In fact, did you know that there are nearly 90,000 attacks on WordPress sites every other minute? This can be quite the cause for concern for many site owners, to say the least. Fortunately, many easy-to-perform fixes can safeguard your e-commerce site from attacks.
To save you the hassle, here are ten ways you can protect your WordPress website from hackers.
1. Opt for a Quality Host Provider
You can consider your web host as the street on which your website lives. The reputation and security of the host determine how secure your website is. As a rule of thumb, consider a quality web host who continually updates their services and tools.
Additionally, make sure that the host offers 24/7, 365 days a year support. That way, you will have the needed assistance in case things don't go well. Try staying away from cheap hosting providers as, in most cases, they might compromise on quality and security.
2. Keep Your Site Updated
Regularly updating your website can increase its performance and reduce the chances of security breaches. Ideally, it's a good practice to keep tabs on available updates every month.
To check for the latest updates, go to the Updates menu on your dashboard.
3. Stay Away From Nulled Themes
One of the effective methods to protect your WordPress website from hackers is by judiciously choosing a theme.
Although free themes can get you started for “free,” they have lesser options and customizability as compared to premium themes. Additionally, premium themes undergo multiple WordPress checks before they are presented to you and guarantee full support from the developers.
To save a few bucks, getting a cracked version of premium themes available via illegal means might seem tempting. But the very act can put your website at high risks. These themes may contain malware that can exploit your database within seconds. Stay away from such themes by all means.
4. Safeguard the wp-config.php File
The wp-config.php file contains crucial information about the WordPress installation and is one of the essential files in your website's root directory. To make the file inaccessible for the hackers, try moving it to a higher level than your root directory.
5. Switch to HTTPS
HTTP is a protocol that makes it possible to transfer information between any browser and your website. However, it had some security flaws and was susceptible to data interception by hackers.
HTTPS solves the security problems associated with HTTP and secures the sensitive customer information your website handles. To switch to HTTPS, you'll first require an SSL/TLS certificate. Even though most web hosting providers deliver SSL certificates, you can quickly get one online.
6. Be Wary of the Plugins You Add
Although readily available plugins are an attractive feature of WordPress, it can be disastrous if you opt for the wrong ones. Developers with the least experience in building plugins may end up creating insecure and unreliable ones.
To ensure you choose the right set of plugins, always look into their customer reviews, number of downloads, and whether they are frequently updated. You can also visit the WPScan WordPress Vulnerability Database and Offensive Security's Exploit Database Archive to check whether a plugin is vulnerable.
Also, make it a habit to update your plugins along with your site theme regularly.
7. Disallow File Editing
If a hacker obtains admin access, one of the first things they'll do is modify or delete your website files. By files, we mean any files relating to your WordPress installation, granted the hackers gain administrator access.
To stop this from happening, you can disallow file editing so that no one will be able to edit any of the files. For that, towards the end of the wp-config.php file add:
8. Limit Login Attempts
By default, WordPress websites allow users to perform login attempts multiple times. Although this can be a life-saver when you're struggling with remembering your password, it is an opportunity for hackers to damage your website to irreparable levels.
Try limiting the login attempts to a healthy number, and you may save the hassle of being hacked. You can use a plugin like Login LockDown, Limit Login Attempts Reloaded, or WP Limit Login Attempts to record the IP address for every failed login attempt and limit the number of attempts.
9. Change the Admin Username
During the WordPress installation, most site owners may stick to using the administrator username as “admin”. Hackers are fully aware of such instances and will then have to focus on finding just the password.
Make sure you never use “admin” in any of the usernames. Additionally, while choosing an admin username and password, stay away from easy-to-guess names and use something completely unrelated and unguessable. If it's too hard to memorize, write it down somewhere or use a password manager.
10. Use a WordPress Security Plugin
Regularly checking your website for malware can be time-consuming, let alone tiring, especially if you have minimal coding knowledge. Fortunately, there are numerous WordPress security plugins available that will scan and monitor your website 24/7. Sucuri, Wordfence, Jetpack, and Security Ninja are excellent examples of WordPress security plugins.
It's challenging to shield yourself completely from hackers as WordPress experts are identifying newer vulnerabilities with each passing day. However, these ten great ways to protect your WordPress website from hackers can undoubtedly reduce the chances of your site being hacked due to common vulnerabilities.
It's especially critical to periodically update and monitor your e-commerce website as a hacked website will consume hours or even days of your life trying to undo the damages.