Want to make sure your WordPress website is protected from hacking attacks?
In this blog article, we explain how you can effectively secure the world's most widely used content management system.
We offer practical tips and strategies to ensure a safe online experience for both you and your visitors.
Table of contents
- How secure is WordPress really?
- Why the security of your WordPress website should not be neglected
- Security vulnerabilities - simple but important tips
- Timeliness as the key to safety
- WordPress backend / admin area properly secure
- Secure plugins and themes
- Always have backups
How secure is WordPress really?
WordPress is generally considered to be a robust content management system. Nevertheless, thousands of WordPress websites are victims of hacker attacks every year. Why is that? WordPress is the worldwide at most common CMS in use. This popularity makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals like hackers. The main reasons for successful attacks are often outdated core systems or a plugin and so-called SQL injections that can compromise your database.
It is important to be aware that no system is completely secure, but there are numerous measuresthat you can take to increase the security of your WordPress website.
Why the security of your WordPress website should not be neglected
The consequences of a hacker attack on your WordPress website can be severe. Besides the enormous time expenditure for fixing the problem, such as taking the website offline and checking the server and system, you also suffer Sales losses. The flow of visitors is interrupted and potential customer inquiries fail to materialize. In the worst scenario, even the customer trust that you have painstakingly built up suffers and the brand value of your company is damaged.
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Security vulnerabilities - simple but important tips
What is SSL and why is it important?
SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer" and is a Security protocol, which enables encrypted data exchange between a web server and an end user's browser. When a website uses SSL, the URL is changed from "http://" to "https://", and most web browsers display a lock icon indicating the secure connection.
The main function of SSL is to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of transmitted data. It Protects sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, and personal information exchanged between the server and the browser from being accessed by third parties. This is especially important for websites that allow online transactions or the collection of personal information.
Likewise, SSL also improves the authenticity of a website. By using an SSL certificate, the website confirms its identity to visitors, which increases trust in the website and its services.
In today's world, SSL is not only essential for e-commerce websites or websites that handle sensitive information. It is a generally accepted "best practice" for all websites and is considered as a ranking factor by search engines like Google. Therefore, the implementation of SSL is a important step to improve the security and credibility of your WordPress website.
Custom database table prefix: Another building block for a secure WordPress installation
In a WordPress installation, the database table prefix is a short text string that is placed before the names of all tables in the WordPress database. By default, WordPress uses the prefix "wp_", which means that all tables start with this prefix (e.g. wp_users, wp_posts, etc.).
However, using the default prefix may cause a Security risk represent. Attackers using SQL injection techniques could take advantage of knowledge of this default prefix to perform targeted attacks on your database. By changing the table prefix to something unique and unpredictable, you make it more difficult for attackers to guess the structure of your database and perform successful attacks.
Note that changing the prefix on an existing installation will complex and requires an adjustment of the already existing tables in the database. Therefore, it is best to make this change in a new installation or to be very careful in an existing installation to avoid data loss.
Overall, using a custom database table prefix is a simple yet effective way to increase the security of your WordPress website.
Importance of the root directory for securing your WordPress website
The root directory is the main folder where all the core components of your WordPress installation are stored. Here you will find essential files and folder structures like wp-config.php, wp-admin and wp-content. Due to the critical information and settings stored in these files, the root directory is a central pointwhen it comes to the security of your WordPress website.
An inadequately secured root directory can be an easy target for attackers. They could try to access configuration files to extract sensitive information such as database credentials or inject malicious code. Therefore, it is important to protect certain Security measures to take:
- File permissions:
Make sure that the file permissions are set correctly. As a rule, folders should have permission 755 and files permission 644.
Here the first digit represents the permissions of the owner, the second those of the group and the third those of all other users.The permissions themselves are represented as the sum of the values for read (4), write (2) and execute (1). 755 for folders: this means that the owner can read, write and execute (4+2+1=7), while the group and all other users can only read and execute (4+1=5). 644 for files: The owner can read and write (4+2=6), while the group and all others may only read (4).
- Access restrictions:
Use .htaccess rules or web server configurations to restrict access to critical files.
- Regular monitoring:
Monitor the root directory regularly for unwanted changes or suspicious activity.
Perform regular backups of the root directory for quick recovery in case of an attack.
By following these points, you can minimize the risk of your root directory being compromised and thus increase the overall security of your WordPress website.
Timeliness as the key to safety
Why you should always use the latest WordPress version
Using the latest version of WordPress is a crucial factor for your website's security. Each software update usually brings a number of improvements, ranging from new features to bug fixes and security patches. The security updates, in particular, are of utmost importance as they close known security vulnerabilities and thus minimize the risk of a successful attack on your website.
- Closing security gaps:
Older versions of WordPress may have known security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. Updates close these gaps and protect your website from various types of attacks.
- Improved functions:
Besides the security aspects, updates often bring new or improved features that can increase the overall performance and usability of your website.
Recent WordPress versions are usually more compatible with the latest versions of plugins and themes. This is important because plugins and themes can also pose potential security risks if they are not updated regularly.
- Legal aspects:
In the event of a data leak or other security breach, you could be in a better legal position if you can prove that your software is up to date.
Updating WordPress regularly is a simple but effective step to increase the security of your website. It is advisable to create a full backup of your website before each update to allow for a quick recovery in case of compatibility issues or other unexpected events.
Current PHP version as the cornerstone of WordPress security
Using an up-to-date PHP version is another important aspect to ensure the security of your WordPress website. PHP is the server-side scripting language that WordPress is based on, and it plays a crucial role in the functionality and security of your website. Here are some reasons why updating the PHP version is important for the security of your WordPress website:
- Security patches:
Similar to WordPress itself, security vulnerabilities are regularly discovered and closed in PHP. An outdated PHP version may contain known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
- Performance improvement:
Newer PHP versions usually offer better performance, which not only improves the speed of your website, but also uses server resources more efficiently. A faster and more efficient server is generally harder to compromise.
Current WordPress versions are optimized for newer PHP versions. Using an outdated PHP version can lead to compatibility issues, which in turn could open security holes.
- Support and updates:
Older PHP versions are eventually no longer supported, which means that security updates are no longer provided for them. This makes them an ideal target for attackers.
- Advanced security features:
Newer versions of PHP can provide advanced security features that are not available in older versions. These features can provide additional layers of protection against common attack vectors such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting.
However, updating the PHP version should be done with caution. It is important to do thorough testing before updating and make sure that all your plugins and themes are compatible with the new version. A full backup before the update is also strongly recommended.
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Themes and plugins - updates are important
Just like updating the WordPress core, it is crucial to always use the latest versions for plugins and themes. Updates of these components close frequently identified security gaps and thus minimize the risk of a successful attack. An important note: Carry out before each update necessarily a complete backup of your website through.
It is also advisable to disable the automatic update feature for plugins. This will allow you to check each new version independently before implementing it. A weekly check for available updates and a subsequent functional check of the website is a smart approach. This way you won't blindly rely on the system and minimize the risk of suddenly being confronted with a non-functioning website.
WordPress backend / admin area properly secure
Passwords and usernames - A major vulnerability
The use secure Passwords and usernames is a fundamental, but often overlooked aspect of WordPress security. These authentication credentials are your first line of defense against unauthorized access and are therefore crucial.
To increase security, passwords should contain a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters and should be changed regularly. Avoid obvious usernames like "admin" or the name of your website. Some security plugins for WordPress also offer Two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional layer of security.
The security for your WordPress system is significantly improved by this two-factor authentication. Even if the password is figured out, an unauthorized user cannot access the account without access to the second factor (e.g. smartphone or email).
Watch out for login - attempts
We also recommend that you use the Login attempts on your WordPress website.
This measure causes an IP address to be automatically blocked as soon as incorrect login data is repeatedly entered.
Here, too, there are plugins that come in handy. If an IP address is blocked, you will receive a notification via e-mail. IP addresses can also be blocked or unblocked manually. This way you have full Control about access to your website.
To prevent unwanted access, this option should be considered.
Secure plugins and themes
To ensure the security of your WordPress website, it is recommended to use plugins, extensions and themes only from secure Sources to use.
Insecure tools may contain malware, leading to data loss, unauthorized access to personal information or even malware spreading to your visitors' computers.
Trusted sources also offer Regular updates to be able to offer new functions, but also to close security gaps.
Also a support speaks for a trustworthy source, free or insecure plugins usually lack this and so it can come to difficulties in troubleshooting. Security problems are thus pre-programmed.
Likewise it can SEO disadvantages because Google and other search engines can penalize pages with malware, for example, which can lead to a significant loss of ranking.
Invest in established, well-rated and regularly updated products to protect your website and visitors.
Always have backups
Regular backups are enormously important, to secure your website.
They protect against data loss due to technical errors, for example.
In case your website gets hacked or malware appears in your system, your site can be restored to the state before.
Also plugins or other tools can sometimes cause problems, before updating it is a good idea to create a backup, this way you can continue using your website should a problem occur.
If something is accidentally deleted, you can avoid worse.
In some cases, the legal framework requires you to keep regular backups. This way you are on the safe side.
Ideally automated Backups are set up and stored by a separate server from your website.
However, securing a WordPress site is by no means an insurmountable hurdle. With cyber threats on the rise, it's imperative to be prepared for potential hacking attacks. Here are once again the Key points summarized for ensuring robust security for your WordPress installation:
- Secure access to the admin area with strong Authentication procedure.
- Implement a regular Backup routine to fall back on a clean version of your website in case of emergency.
- Ensure that WordPress and all installed plugins as well as themes are always running on the latest status are.
- Restrict access to critical system files to prevent uninvited access.