The popularity of WordPress, a Content Management System (CMS), has soared over the last few years. According to current reports, around 35.8 million new posts are submitted on WordPress powered websites every month and the number of such websites continues to rise to satisfy online users.
Its popularity also stems from the fact that it is an open source CMS. However, since it is ‘open’, there are many risks associated with it. Anything that is open is vulnerable to outside attacks and the same can be said for WordPress. Its openness becomes exposed to criminal hackers and other such potential threats that can gain entrance and ruin the website with ease. Since it is open, it is easier for the hackers to find loopholes within the security system and thus security breaches are not uncommon in such websites.
However, even though a WordPress website’s codes maybe hacked quite easily, it is just as easy to employ protective measures as well, measures that will act as a safe guard for the website. Here are some tips on how to secure a WordPress website:
· Choose an unusual/ uncommon username and password: By unusual, I do not mean lengthy, complicated words of a foreign language that you are likely to forget within five minutes (but if you can remember it or have a special way of remembering it, then go for it!), I mean words that are rarely used by other people and are hard to guess. Do not choose common words as passwords or those which can be guessed quite easily by anyone. The best way to avoid this mistake is by using a jumble of uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and various symbols (such as an exclamation mark or an asterisk). This would definitely heighten the level of security as hackers will have a hard time guessing the password and will eventually quit.
· Remove old/ inactive plug-ins and themes: Plug-ins or themes that are not up to date can pose a threat to the overall safety of a website. If they are outdated, they might lack the latest security features, which in turn can make the website susceptible to attacks from viruses or malicious software. It would be best if you only stick to the plug-ins and themes that you use and get rid of those which have become old or ones that you no longer use.
· Disable the plug-in/ theme editor: This is a very basic step that you need to carry out in order to make sure that nobody else other than you can change the plug-in or theme codes.
· Protect your .htaccess file: The .htaccess file acts as a doorkeeper of your website. This hidden jewel enables you to access all other files. This file is located in the root directory and if you want to see it, you have to enable the “Show Hidden Files”. Once you are done with that, insert the .htaccess protection code, which is available on Google, into the file.
· Disable directory listings: Once you are inside the .htaccess, you should also disable the directory listings. Once the directory listings have been disabled, it will prevent others (especially hackers) from gaining access to the components of the website. Thus, it will be much more difficult for hackers to find security loopholes and access your important personal files.
· Use a firewall: Don’t forget to get in touch with your web hosting provider and ask them to set up a firewall that suits you best. This is essential as a firewall has the ability to allow only the known IPs to access your WordPress login page. Firewalls can also prevent hackers from gaining entry to your network and thus acts as a protective barrier.
With the aid of these tips, you no longer have to worry about the safety of your WordPress website. With so many potential threats such as viruses, malicious software and hackers going rampant on the internet, it is only natural for internet users to worry about the safety of their websites. But with the steps mentioned above, hopefully you won’t have to face that anxiety any longer and can just let your website be.