Is WordPress Secure? How to protect your website?

What is WordPress?

WordPress it’s a CMS (Content Management System) which is software supporting the administration of the website. CMSs are not limited to only this functionality, over the years they have developed a lot with additional functionality e.g interference in the structure of the website without programming skills. 

According to statistics, WordPress is the most popular CMS. It owes its popularity mainly to the price because it is free. Moreover, it has an easy-to-use interface, free code interference (Open Source), integration with much external Rest Api’s, and a very useful possibility to extend functions of an ordinary website to a web shop, so-called WooCommerce. 

A great WordPress community has developed along with its popularity, which makes it much easier for programmers to solve problems. It also means that the feedback collected from so many people affects further WordPress versions and its security.

The most common types of attacks on the website

Unfortunately, the popularity of WordPress is its bad side either. It is very popular in the hacker environment, which is why sites built on this system are very often vulnerable to attacks.

There are many ways to attack a website, for example:

  • Brute Force
    It is the most common type of attack on your website. It’s a mindless attempt to hack a website by force. Bots attack the login form to the administration panel by entering the weakest passwords and logins. There may be a lot of attempts, e.g. 1000, and the attacker executes them very quickly.
  • Bots in comment form and contact form
    These attacks involve the insertion of unrelated content by bots in the comments section or via the contact form (spam). They may contain dangerous links that not only allow them to hijack the website but can also infect the entire device.
  • Infected file
    Here an attack involves injecting code into WordPress files, thanks to which bots take control of the website and can publish unrelated content, as well as a link to suspicious websites.

Is WordPress secure?

When asking this question only one thing comes to mind – it depends

If so, what can the security of the software depend on? 

The truth is the biggest factor that threatens WordPress security is the user.

WordPress, as an Open Source tool, allows developers to create new functionalities and add them to the generally available plugins database. What’s more the installation of additional code is child’s play, just click “Install” and all the code goes to us.

Dubious reputation plugins or too many of them can have severe consequences and we can be attacked.

That is why it is so important to protect your website properly.

How to protect the website against attacks?

We’ve already mentioned the most common types of attacks on the website. So now,  it’s time to properly arm our WordPress sites.

The first step we should take towards security is to set up strong passwords and logins for both the database and WordPress itself.

Which password is strong?

A strong password consists of at least 8 characters, upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as $% ^! @ # & * () <>,. /? / \ |

The same principle applies to logins, although we do not always have this option by default in WordPress. Our e-mail address can also be used as a login. However, it is possible to disable this option by installing an appropriate plugin or adding a few lines of PHP code.

Take care of software updates

WordPress updates are quite frequent, it is influenced by feedback from users, constantly evolving technology and changing standards. An important element is also updating plugins and monitoring whether they are compatible with the current version of WordPress.

Choose your plugins carefully

The plug-in database is very extensive. There are functionalities that will help you create a full-fledged website without programming skills, connect a payment gate or start the booking system.

Each plugin is additional code and not necessarily written with the appropriate rules. There is a risk that this code is outdated or conflicting with other extensions. It is important to choose extensions based on the number of downloads, rating and general opinion. This will not protect us 100%, but it will certainly reduce the threat to an appropriate degree.

Changing the path of login to WordPress

By default, the login path in WordPress is page-address/wp-admin. To change this path in the safest way we should use PHP code or if we do not have such skills, download a proven plugin, e.g. WPS Hide Login. Remember that the change from /wp-admin should not be too obvious, such as /admin or /company-name.

Frequent backups

Files may become infected and the only solution is to recreate the page. A very important element of running a website is a systematic backup of the entire website. In WordPress, this is especially important with such a large number of updates and plugins. 

We can make a backup in many ways: 

  • Locally downloading all files to the device 
  • Through additional hosting features 
  • By installing the appropriate plugin, e.g. All-in-One WP Migration

Optional security

The last step we can take on the way to security is to install the appropriate security plugs. This is an optional step because, as I mentioned, there is a high risk of the website becoming infected by the plugin.

Useful functionalities of security plugs: 

  • Determining login attempts (e.g. 3 attempts) – this protects us effectively from the Brute Force attack
  • User IP blocking
  • ReCaptcha

Summary

WordPress, like any other software, has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important not to rely mainly on plugins but to invest in the right code. If you do not have such skills, choose a good web developer who will create a website for you.

There are still many ways to secure your website properly. The information contained in this article is a must-have, which every web developer must take care of at the very beginning.

In conclusion, WordPress itself is not badly secured, it may be just badly managed.

Hubert Cep

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