Security is a hotter topic than ever before in the tech world right now. Some big name sites have been hacked resulting in all kinds of headaches for users and webmasters, some even causing serious financial losses. Therefore, knowing how to secure your website is now more important than ever before. If yours is a WordPress powered site then the good news is that doing so is not as difficult or time consuming as you might imagine.
First, the Disclaimer
There is no such thing as a website, no matter what CMS it is built around or where it is hosted, that is 100% guaranteed to remain secure. Hackers are extremely clever people and devote their time to discovering the tiniest opportunities to wreak havoc. The very best any webmaster can hope for is to minimize the risks as far as possible and anyone who tries to sell you a ‘guaranteed 100% secure’ solution is scamming you or deluding themselves.
WordPress Security Concerns
As you weigh up your options in terms a website content management system it is likely you will come across a number of articles suggesting that WordPress is particularly prone to security issues. That is not the case. WordPress can be insecure if a webmaster is not diligent in keeping it updated or installs a rogue element that did not investigate, but that is true of any website of any kind. 17% and counting of the world’s websites are built using WordPress and they are all as safe as any other when properly maintained.
The Three Elements of Effective WordPress Security
An effective WordPress ‘security system’ is really built in three parts:
The first thing your WordPress website needs to be is locked down nice and tight and protected as far as possible. Fortunately there are a number of very effective security plugins available that protect your site, your data and your users and a website, all of them easy 1 click installs and offering the advantage that reputable WordPress developers are diligent in their efforts to keep their plugins updated, something that is not always true with other content management systems.
As we previously mentioned, there is no such thing as a website that can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. That means that there is an outside chance that ‘the bad guys’ could infiltrate even your very well protected WordPress website and so you will need to have measures in place to detect such attacks.
What if the worst does occur and your site is hacked? Provided you took the proper precautions recovering a WordPress site quickly and easily is perfectly possible.
WordPress Security Best Practices
What you do is important as the plugins and extra security measures you install. By following these simple guidelines you will become a part of the security plan as a whole, making it even more effective.
Use Proper Passwords – Some of the biggest hacks and security breaches reported in the news recently were eventually tracked down to one very simple problem; an administrator’s password was compromised. Although that may sound incredible that a huge company could allow such a silly little thing to happen give a thought to your own current passwords before you snicker.
A great many of us use passwords that are highly insecure and worse still use them in multiple places. It’s all a matter of convenience of course, who has the time to remember a string of complex passwords or deal with the inconvenience of regaining access to your stuff if it is forgotten? That convenience can cost you though.
It is essential that you, and anyone else who has access to your WordPress website, uses a strong password. Aside from making sure that you use a good combination of letters, numbers and special characters you may also want to keep in mind that a WordPress password allows for the use of spaces as well. You should also change your password on a regular basis, with every three months being a good rule of thumb.
Manage Your Users – Your strong and secure password will be rendered useless if one of the site’s other users is not following suit. Remember, in order to contribute to the site not everyone needs full, or even partial, admin access. Only grant increased privileges to those who really need it, which will make keeping an eye on their personal security practices easier.
Keep Up to Date and Backed Up
It is up to you to remain diligent in terms of updating the plug ins – and occasionally the theme – installed in your WordPress site. It is also up to you to ensure that you have a system in place that backs up your site on a regular basis, so that if the worst happens and your site is compromised you will not lose everything. Install a reputable plug in like Backup Buddy and you won’t have to worry about a thing in that respect.