WordPress is the most popular CMS platform for users, but it is also one of the the most popular targets for hackers. That’s why website owners should take their WordPress security seriously. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to be an IT expert to protect your site. A few plugin installations can solve most security problems. However, before delving deeper on WordPress security plugins, let’s see how you can secure your website without plugins.
Securing your Site Without Plugins
- Find a reliable web host. If your website is a personal or leisure blog, shared hosting services like GoDaddy and Hostgator may be acceptable. However, for a business website, especially e-commerce sites, a reliable and more secure managed hosting service is needed.
- Install an SSL certificate. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate helps you encrypt your user’s connection and secure any data transfer. It also helps in encrypting your admin data.
- Change your username. Your login credentials are your first line of defense. Anything is better than the default “admin” username for your login.
- Use strong passwords. It is possible to create strong passwords that are not difficult to remember. See our guide on creating strong passwords. You should also make it a habit to change your passwords regularly.
- Limit user access. Do not give admin access to anyone unless necessary. If you have a large team of writers and designers to keep your website running, make sure to designate their user roles properly. Better yet—use TraitWare.
- Keep your WordPress CMS and plugins up to date. WordPress updates its platform every time vulnerabilities are found. Failing to update is like leaving your back door open for attackers to exploit.
Are WordPress Security Plugins Necessary?
WordPress security plugins are handy tools when it comes to keeping your website safe, but they can be very overwhelming. Which plugins should you use? Should you choose different targeted plugins or should you choose an all-in-one security solution?
Instead of making your site secure, installing too many plugins can increase your security risk. WordPress security reports revealed that vulnerable plugins are the number one reason why WordPress sites get hacked. All-in-one solutions are popular choices for larger sites that need protection from every angle. However because they pack tons of features in one tool, they can be very complicated for smaller sites. As a result, you might have to manage dozens of extra features and settings that your website doesn’t need. In that case, are WordPress security plugins really necessary? Yes—you do need plugins. A way to minimize security risk without sacrificing usability is by limiting your targeted plugins to one for each category below:
The most basic website security options are a firewall and malware scans. A firewall helps you block malicious IP addresses and unwanted connections, preventing them from harming your site. Meanwhile, malware scanning monitors your site for viruses. For small websites, these features are enough. Do you need a plugin for your firewall? It is possible to set up your firewall manually, but using a plugin is much simpler.
Login Page Security
Using a strong password isn’t enough. Your login pages are attractive hacking targets to gain access to your website. If you don’t want to make your login process complicated, you can choose simple plugins to hide your admin login page, hide login error information or limit user login attempts. This will help you block brute force attacks. For more protection, you can also set up two-factor authentication, CAPTCHA or other login solutions.
Your database is where you store all your WordPress information. A simple way to protect your database is to change your database’s prefix from the default prefix provided by WordPress. This will make it harder for hackers to access your database. Also, don’t forget to back up your data regularly. There are plugins you can use to enable data backup.
Below are other tips to protect your website:
- Only download plugins from reliable sources. Check the install numbers and reviews. One or two low ratings are understandable, but the average rating should be able to instill confidence. Also, check their updates. Is it maintained regularly? Is it compatible with the current version of WordPress?
- Keep your plugins up to date. Once security vulnerabilities are discovered attackers start exploiting those vulnerabilities. Then developers make updates to fix them—this is an unending cycle. Getting out of the loop will make you an easy target.
Though you won’t know when your website may be attacked, there is nothing wrong with getting prepared. If you are looking for an advanced WordPress login security solution try TraitWare’s Login Management Plugin. The TraitWare plugin replaces your outdated username-and-password login to a passwordless login system. TraitWare also facilitates single sign-on and multi-factor up to four-factor authentication for seamless, highly secure logins.