A hacked site can be the loss of your online Business.
Customers will avoid your WordPress site like plague if they learn it has been breached or is not totally secure. With customers’ trust gone, there’s only one way your business can go–and it ain’t north.
So how can you secure your WordPress site against hackers?
Start with adopting these best security practices.
1. Say no to nulled themes
Did you know themes are one of the most vulnerable parts of WordPress sites?
According to a report, WordPress themes account for 14.5% vulnerabilities. Therefore, as much as possible, purchase a premium theme. They are not only more customization but also more secure.
Reputable developers write such themes. As such, they tend to have a clean code. Also with premium themes, you get quality support and regular updates. The latter is a must-have, because many a time a vulnerability comes to light much after the release date. Quick security patches mitigate potential risks
Great as premium themes are, they have an obvious downside–they cost money. When the budget is really tight, which is not infrequently the case with startups, there’s a strong temptation to use a free theme.
If you’re starting your online journey on a shoestring, you can really consider free themes–but choose very carefully. Always go for a free theme that has been downloaded by thousands others and is updated frequently
If a theme has no updates, it’s a bad theme. Stay away. And whatever you do, don’t download a nulled theme, which is basically a free version, albeit one that’s distributed illegally, of a premium theme.
Such themes are filled with malicious code and can give hackers a free entry to your site. After that, only a miracle can save you.
2. Install plugins judiciously
As you can see in the infographic below, there are more than 50,000 WordPress plugins. Given that it is easy to feel like a kid in a candy store inside the WordPress repository and grab as many of them as possible.
But don’t. Because research show that more than 50% of vulnerabilities are because of WordPress plugins. More plugins can mean more chances of having a security hole in your site.
So don’t waste a second–remove all unneeded plugins now. And, please, don’t ever touch outdated plugins, not even with a barge pole. Hackers target them more than anything, especially these three outdated plugins: Revslider, Gravity Forms, and TimThumb.
3. Install a security plugin
With the risk of malware attack widespread and affecting everyone, you simply can’t afford to not use a security plugin. If you’re not using one, download one right away.
A security plugin regularly scans your site for harmful activities and can thwart a malicious attack if it takes place. There are many free security plugins available, but if your budget permits, go for a paid version.
Premium security plugins often include important security features, like firewall protection, that aren’t there in free versions.
4. Use a strong password
This is a no brainer, yet many don’t deploy strong passwords–and often pay a big price for their complacency. Reports show that a weak password is the reason why 8% of WordPress sites get hacked.
You can make your passwords stronger by adding special characters, numbers, and a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters. Alternatively, you can go for a long passphrase that makes sense to you but isn’t easy to guess.
Lastly, don’t forget to change your password regularly. It doesn’t take more than a minute, so there’s no excuse not to.
Also, make sure the administrator username is something different from the default “admin”. Hackers need to guess both password and username; giving away the latter like this means they are 50% through your defences.
5. Use the latest WordPress version
No software is perfect–including WordPress.
That’s why, from time to time the developers release a new version to plug known vulnerabilities and boost performance. If you’re using an old WordPress version, you’re seeking trouble, and believe me, you will find it sooner than later.
According to a study, 60% of hacked WordPress sites ran on outdated WordPress version.
The risk of malware attack is high as it is if you run a WordPress site because hackers target them more, don’t make your life more difficult by using an old WordPress version with security gaps that are well documented.
6. Use a good hosting
A poor hosting can put your site at a greater risk. If your host doesn’t provide multi layers of security, it’s time you make a switch.
After all you wouldn’t want to get hurt just because your driver is rash and reckless.
Additionally, good hosts create regular site backups, which can be life-saving if worst come to worst.