Is WordPress Secure? Here Is The Answer!
Started in 2003, WordPress has become the most popular content management platform, empowering over one-third of all sites on the web. Hence, it’s also a juicy target for hackers and cybercriminals.
Although WordPress comes equipped with security solutions to protect your website against ill-intentioned users, they’re still trying more methods to break into your site. Once attacking, hackers can delete your content, steal your customer data, and so on.
That makes you wonder whether or not WordPress is secure enough to withstand those malicious attacks.
In this article, we’ll analyze the WordPress security state with surprising statistics. Then, we can discuss how your WordPress site gets infected and 7 ways to secure your site.
WordPress sites are attacked at any given time each week. There are over 1.5 million WordPress pages deleted by hackers in 2017, according to Cloudways. You might not notice but your site can be the next target of hackers one day.
Recent research about WordPress security conditions finds out that:
- There is at least 1 serious vulnerability in 86% of all WordPress sites. On average, this number of security issues is much higher, about 56 vulnerabilities.
- 33% of customers avoid shopping online since they don’t feel safe to leave their confidential information on e-commerce stores.
- 3% of plugins on WordPress.org have never been updated. These outdated and poorly coded plugins and themes create a great gateway for malware to attack websites easily.
A warning bell starts to ring now. You shouldn’t think that your site is secure enough so hackers won’t touch it.
There are hundreds of ways for hackers and cybercriminals to send malware to your WordPress sites to delete content and steal domain authority.
They can pretend to be a normal user and try to log in via admin dashboards. Or they go to your site through vulnerabilities created by outdated plugins and themes.
Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks refer to the trial and error method of repeatedly entering various combinations of login information until hackers get into your site. They will try all passwords from a brute force attack dictionary to see if any of them matches your accounts’ passwords.
Brute force attack is recognized as the most serious security issue since hackers can take full control over your WordPress site, in the role of the website owner. They will perform dangerous actions with your data and destroy everything you’ve built within minutes.
The simpler passwords you use, the easier it is for attackers to test and find out. The most commonly used passwords to get hacked include “password123” or “123456789”.
Outdated WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins
Updating WordPress core software as well as themes and plugins to the latest versions doesn’t take a lot of time. However, many users ignore this important notification. Only 62% of the sites are updated with the major releases of WordPress.
Cybercriminals can take advantage of vulnerability created by non-up-to-date WordPress software or poorly coded plugins and themes. They can go through your site via these potential gateways and destroy your site without notice.
SQL (Structured Query Language) injection or SQLi enables hackers to insert malicious SQL statements into your websites.
SQL happens frequently since WordPress websites use the MySQL database. SQL injection reveals your data in the database. Depending on the importance of the data, the consequences range from mild to extremely severe.
Moreover, the cyber-terrorist can also log in as an admin then take advantage of the system, or even edit the information.
DDoS attacks, standing for Distributed Denial of Service attack, use compromised computers and devices to request data from a WordPress hosting server. As a consequence, it decreases your site speed and crashes the targeted server.
This type of security issue doesn’t exclude any websites, even the largest companies. To take one example, GitHub witnessed a huge DDoS attack sending out over 1 terabyte per second traffic to their servers in 2018.
Also known as XSS attacks, cross-site scripting permits hackers to produce malicious script code in your WordPress website visitor’s browser. They target your site visitors to another harmful website by injecting spam links on your site.
Prevention is always better than cure. You should proactively secure your WordPress site rather than waiting to recover it after an attack.
You can apply different methods to protect your WordPress websites from malicious actors, depending on how it gets hacked. While some people focus on strengthening passwords of admins and users, others install a firewall to beat malware.
Let’s see what site owners are doing to save their websites.
#1 Force Strong Passwords on WordPress Users to Beat Hackers
You need to immediately reset and change all of the passwords related to your WordPress site. It is necessary to make sure that your passwords are strong, unique, and not too easy for hackers to guess.
Each password should contain more than 8 characters, including both uppercase and lowercase letters. Using special characters like @, !, #, %, and * is also recommended. Never include your name or date of birth in your passwords.
Remember not to use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Once hackers know the password of one account, they will gain control of others easily.
An auto-password-generator or password manager can effectively assist you in creating strong passwords. You’re able to produce unlimited strong, random, and unique passwords as well as managing them in one place.
#2 Enable 2 Factor Authentication
2FA means two-factor authentication or 2-step verification. This extra security supports increasing your account safety and avoiding the risk of logging in to the unauthorized network.
When enabling 2FA security, besides entering a username and password, users must enter a 2FA security code to log in. This code can be sent to users via an SMS verification.
It’s pretty simple to allow 2FA on your site. Simply pick a popular free 2-step verification plugin available on WordPress repository.
#3 Install a Security Plugin for Your WordPress Site
A website firewall or security plugin acts as a gatekeeper that stands in front of the site to block threats from hackers. It helps reduce the risk of access from malware to your website.
Most popular security plugins you can try include Sucuri, iThemes Security Pro, Jetpack Security, or Wordfence. Each of them comes with a set of outstanding features and shortcomings that can greatly affect your site performance down the road.
#4 Use a Secure Hosting Service
Choosing a hosting service is the most important step when building a website. When trusting a hosting company, you have to make sure it provides strong security measures.
It should support the latest PHP and MySQL versions. In addition to that, your hosting account needs to be stored in an isolated location to avoid public logins.
#5 Keep Themes & Plugins Updated to Block Malware
Contributors update their themes and plugins not only to provide new features and fix bugs but also to include important security patches.
It is strongly advised to remove any plugins that are not updated regularly, and definitely the ones which are known to be compromised.
What’s more, paid features are often safer, with quicker supports and bug identification. You can report anytime you find a bug on the plugin or theme and it’ll be fixed very soon.
Oftentimes, you ought to wait for 2 to 3 days to update plugins to make sure there is no further issue reported by other users on that new version. Please check the updated details carefully before you hit Update.
#6 Set up Proper Permissions to Your Private Site
You need to enable proper permissions on your server to make sure that not everyone can have access to your website, content, and files.
In case you provide private content for users, stopping unwelcome users from accessing them is necessary. You should prevent users from downloading important WordPress media files. It’s possible for you to password protect your pages and posts too. Only specific users with the correct permission (roles or passwords) are allowed to open your content.
#7 Backup Your WordPress Site Regularly
Backing up makes it way easier for you to restore your WordPress site when something goes wrong. You can do backups every day, every week, or even every month.
If you already have a backup of your website, you should re-upload it to your hosting account immediately. This will help avoid losing your data while cleaning up your attacked website.
Back to the Question “Is WordPress Secure?”
So “is WordPress secure?”. The answer is probably Yes, No, or Maybe.
We all know that WordPress security issues do exist. Having your WordPress website attacked becomes the nightmare of all administrators. You sometimes might not notice until it seriously damages your site.
You must take proper actions to save your site from cybercriminals. There are numerous methods you can try. Some of them are easy and simple to apply like changing passwords or keeping themes and plugins updated. Others, meanwhile, can take you a lot of time and effort such as backing up your site or enabling 2FA.
It’s highly recommended to combine multiple security methods at a time to increase your site security.
If you have any queries about how to secure your WordPress site, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment box below.
As a communications major, Emily wants to share what she has learned with WordPress users. WordPress tips, tutorials, and plugin reviews are her favorite. After spending hours slaving over writing, she enjoys the precious time with her niece.
We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!
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