Whether you own revenue-generating WordPress website or a simple blog, you need to make sure that your website is secure from hackers. Inability to secure your site against cyber-attacks can result in you being locked out of the admin panel. YES, cyber-attacks are real!
Small businesses are especially at high risk of becoming cybercrime victims. According to The Guardian, last year approximately 74% of small businesses reported a breach of security to the Government Security Breaches Survey. This goes to show that whether you are running a startup or a large company through your WordPress website, it’s essential to secure it.
Mentioned below are five ways that can help you make your WordPress website cyber-attack-proof:
1. Login through email
The default setting of WordPress requires a username to log in to the site. Replace the username option with the email ID; as it’s a comparatively secure approach. Why?
- Usernames are generally conventional and predictable. On the other hand, characters and numbers present in email IDs make them hard to guess.
- A WordPress website cannot be set up without a unique email ID. This makes it a unique and valid login identifier.
- You don’t have to remember user ID anymore – one less thing to remember.
Now, the question is how to replace the username with email ID? It’s simple! You can get the WP Email Login plugin and integrate it with your website. It does not require any custom configuration and starts working immediately after activation. The plugin is free and compatible with WordPress 4.1. Once you have integrated the plugin, log out of the website and try logging in again via email, to see whether the plugin is working or not.
2. Implement 2-factor authentication (2FA)
Add an extra layer of security with 2-factor authentication at the login page. This ensures that only approved people can access the website through an unrecognized device. 2FA requires the user to enter two different login details to access the site. As an admin, you get to decide what those details are. There are three possible user identifiers:
- Something You Know: This can be your email ID, password or a pin. However, just make sure that whatever identifier you are choosing is unique.
- Something You Have: These are the devices you carry, such as cell phones, smartwatch, bank card or any other device that stays with you exclusively.
- Something You Are: This includes biometrics like voice recognition, fingerprints or retina scans.
In addition to security, there are other benefits of using 2-factor authentication:
- The added security layer will increase user trust.
- It is a cost-effective security measure.
- As an admin, you will stay 24/7 aware of when and who is accessing the website.
Several WordPress plugins are available that can help you implement 2FA.
3. Add a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
Another efficient way of securing your WordPress website against cyber attacks is to set up an SSL certificate. It ensures that the data transfer between the server and the user browser is secure, making it difficult for the hackers to intercept the connection.
SSL certificate is especially important for e-commerce platforms because majority payment providers require the website to have an SSL certificate to transmit the payment info.
However, security is not the only purpose it serves. It also helps build user trust and increase website ranking.
- Users can easily distinguish the websites that have SSL certificates; as their URL starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP.
- Google prioritizes SSL certified websites for high ranking, and that means more traffic for your website.
How to set up an SSL certificate?
Getting an SSL certificate for a WordPress website is simple. You can either purchase it from a dedicated company or ask your hosting provider to get you one. Most hosting providers offer it in their packages. Avail either of these options and encrypt your sensitive website data with an SSL certificate!
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4. Alter the WordPress database prefix
Have you seen the ‘wp-’ prefix in the website URL? That’s the problem factor! The WordPress database uses the prefix, and it is the core of your website. It stores all the site information, which makes it a favorite target for hackers.
The default wp- prefix is prone to automated SQL injection attacks, malicious attacks, and other digital problems. The chances of these attacks can be minimized by changing the prefix to a unique term, such as ‘newwp-,’ ‘websitewp-’ etc.
If you have already set up WordPress without a unique prefix, you can change the setting through plugins like WP-DBManager. If you are a newbie at web development, make sure to create a backup of your website data before you make any changes. However, it’s better to get a professional to make these changes.
5. Protect the wp-config.php file
All the vital information regarding WordPress installation is stored in a wp-congig.php file. It includes:
- The username, the database name, the password, and any other information that is required to access the data.
- The information entered during the setup, which provides access to the website database.
Needless to say, this makes it the most crucial file in the website’s root directory. And it should be kept under lockdown, If this file is inaccessible to the hackers, your site will be safe from cyber attacks.
How to secure your wp-congig.php file?
It’s pretty simple! Just move the file to a higher level than the root directory. The existing WordPress architecture gives the highest priority to the configuration file settings. So, the server won’t have any trouble accessing the file even if its location is changed.
The 5 ways mentioned above are useful in securing your WordPress website against hackers. Also, make sure to stay up-to-date on the WordPress security news to know about the latest safety features.
Wayne Terrysson is a marketing manager at CouponoBox, A daily deals, and coupons providing website. He is a thought leader in the realm of content marketing and strategy and relishes inditing about Technology, Marketing & perpetual Industry trends. He’s a techy geek and loves to explore latest happenings.