It’s important to have the WordPress security best practices in place when you have a WordPress site. That’s how you can prevent your WordPress site from getting hacked.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking when you hear the term WordPress security best practices.
It sounds so complicated. And only those with the technical know-how can do these sorts of things.
Well, I don’t blame you if that’s what comes to mind when we talk about WordPress security.
WordPress security can feel like a tangled mess, with all sorts of jargon being thrown at you.
But the good news is you can have all the security in place even if you don’t know anything about web security.
And the best part of all? You can do many of these things yourself since they’re easy to do, with no outside help required.
The one incident that changes everything
If you read my post about my decision to move out of HostGator and migrate to SetraHost, then you may already be familiar with my website being infected with a malware story.
Yes, it’s already terrifying enough to receive an email from HostGator, telling you that they’re taking your website offline just because it got infected with malware.
And it’s even scarier when you try to login into your website only to realize that you can’t log in no matter how hard you try.
It feels like someone is kicking you out of your own house. And that didn’t sound good to me.
It was only after a while it occurred to me that someone was trying to hack The Efficient You.
Of course, I tried to contact HostGator in a panic, hoping that they would do something to stop whoever tries to break into the website.
But thankfully, it wasn’t necessary considering that I managed to log in and access The Efficient You admin panel a few minutes after that.
While I was glad that nothing bad happened to the website, it was still a terrifying experience for me.
The WordPress security best practices that can make you sleep well at night
The thing about hacking is that it can happen to you in many different ways. But the common one is like what I experience back then.
You can take a look at this post from WPBeginner right here for the telltale signs that someone already hacks into your WordPress site.
And you can also read another post from WPBeginner right here for all the things that you can do to secure your WordPress site.
But if you want a few simple pointers that you can start right now, here are some of them that I recommend you do.
Use a strong WordPress login credential
It goes without saying that you should never use the word admin as a username and easy passwords like admin123 or anything of that sort.
Using an easy username and password is like a free-for-all for hackers to gain access to your WordPress site.
It’s like you already have a padlock in place on your door. But people can still open the door since you don’t even lock it.
The padlock seems to serve more as a decoration for your door, nothing else.
And the reason why you don’t want to lock your door is that you find it a hassle to reach out for the key whenever you want to open the door.
I get that you prefer to use a simple username and password since it’s easy to remember.
But even if you want to use a simple username, just avoid using the word admin as your username.
And don’t forget to use a strong password even if you plan to use the same username that you use in other places.
The good news is you don’t have to come up with a unique password yourself since browsers these days can come up with auto-generated strong passwords for you.
So, you don’t have to worry so much about having to come up with a strong password yourself.
Keep your WordPress core, theme and plugins updated
It’s much easier to hack into your WordPress site when you’re running an outdated WordPress core, theme, and plugins due to the security vulnerability.
So, the best way to prevent that from happening is to keep everything updated.
If you’re using a managed WordPress hosting like WP Engine, it will automatically update the core, themes, and plugins for you.
But if you don’t use WP Engine, you can enable auto-updates for your WordPress through your WordPress dashboard.
I get that some of you may feel icky when you hear me suggesting people enable auto-updates.
But I don’t see anything wrong with enabling the auto-updates on their WordPress site.
If it can help with keeping the whole thing up-to-date, then so be it.
Use reputable web hosting for your WordPress site
Believe it or not, the web hosting that you use on your website matters a lot more than you think.
It’s because of this reason that it’s important to use a reputable hosting service since they tend to keep their server updated all the time.
You don’t need to use WP Engine as your web hosting.
There are many affordable reputable shared web hosting services out there that you can use for your WordPress site.
And if you want a personal recommendation, then I highly recommend you to have a look at SetraHost.
Yes, it’s the shared web hosting that I’m currently using right now. But I also recommend them since all of their plans include free malware scans and DDoS attack prevention.
Install the WordPress security plugins on your website
Remember what I said about not being able to log in to The Efficient You dashboard after a few attempts but only managing to access the dashboard a few minutes later?
Well, I have the Limit Login Attempt Reloaded to thank for. The plugin blocks the intruders right away after attempting to log in to your website a few times.
You can set the limit to any number you want. But the default setting is three times. It means that the intruders can no longer try to gain access to your WordPress admin after the third attempt.
Another plugin that you can install is the iThemes Security and Wordfence Security.
These plugins do come with many features that can enhance your WordPress security.
But the feature from iThemes Security that I’m thankful for the most is the ability to conceal the link to your WordPress admin with a different name.
As for Wordfence Security, it’s the feature where it will send an email alert whenever someone logs in to your WordPress admin.
If you see there’s someone else who logs in to your WordPress admin other than you, then you’ll know what to do.
These plugins are available as a premium version as well. But the free version already does a good job when it comes to giving the protection you need.
It’s more important than ever
When you hear about a website getting hacked, you may think that it can only happen to large, popular websites.
Believe it or not, a website getting hacked can happen to small, unknown websites as well. It’s no longer exclusive to the large, popular website anymore.
Even a small website is prone to get hacked too. And it’s even more so when a small website lacks web security, making it easy for someone to hack into your website.
Getting hacked can be the most frustrating thing that can happen to you.
If you have yet to take extra precautions to secure your website, then this is the right time to do so if you haven’t already.
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