Why Is WordPress Security Hardening Necessary?
WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used content management systems (CMS) in the world. It powers more than 40% of all websites on the internet. However, this also makes it a target for hackers and malicious actors who want to exploit its vulnerabilities and compromise its users’ data.
Security hardening of WordPress means taking precautionary and preventive steps to lock down your WordPress website and make it more resistant to attacks. This would essentially prevent hackers and vulnerabilities from affecting your website or blog.
There are many benefits of security hardening of WordPress, such as:
- Protecting your website from unauthorized access, malware infection, data theft, defacement, spamming, phishing, denial-of-service attacks, etc.
- Enhancing your website performance, speed, reliability, and user experience by reducing the risk of downtime, errors, slow loading times, etc.
- Improving your website reputation, trustworthiness, SEO ranking, and traffic by avoiding blacklisting by search engines or browsers due to security issues.
- Complying with legal regulations and industry standards for data protection and privacy by ensuring that your website follows best practices for security.
How to Harden Your WordPress Security
There are many ways to harden your WordPress security depending on your level of expertise, budget, time availability, and specific needs. However, some of the most common and effective methods are:
1. Keep WordPress updated
It is important to keep up with the latest WordPress updates as they often contain security patches for known vulnerabilities or bugs. You should update not only the core WordPress software but also all the themes and plugins that you use on your website. You can enable automatic updates for WordPress core or use a plugin like Easy Updates Manager to manage all your updates easily.
2. Use strong passwords
Passwords are perhaps the easiest way for hackers to gain access to your website if they are weak or guessable. You should use strong passwords that are long (at least 12 characters), complex (mixing uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols), and unique (not reused across different accounts or websites). You can use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password to generate and store secure passwords for you.
3. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your login process by requiring you to enter a code sent to your phone or email or generated by an app like Google Authenticator after entering your password. This way, even if someone knows your password, they still need access to your phone or email
to log into your website. You can enable 2FA for your WordPress admin area using a plugin like Two Factor Authentication or WP 2FA.
4. Limit login attempts
Another way to prevent brute force attacks where hackers try different combinations of usernames
and passwords until they find one that works is to limit the number of login attempts allowed per user per IP address within a certain time period. This will block anyone who tries too many times from accessing your website until they wait for some time or contact you for assistance. You can use a plugin like Limit Login Attempts Reloaded or Loginizer Security to set up this feature on your website.
5. Change default usernames
The default username for WordPress admin accounts is “admin” which is very easy to guess by hackers who want to target your website. You should change this username to something more unique and hard
to crack using a plugin like Username Changer or WPVN – Username Changer. Alternatively, you can create a new admin account with a different username and delete the old one.
6. Use a firewall
A firewall is a software or hardware device that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing traffic on your network based on predefined rules. It can block malicious requests, attacks, or bots from reaching your website before they cause any damage. You can use a plugin like Wordfence Security or Sucuri Security
to install a firewall on your website that will protect it from various threats such as SQL injection,
cross-site scripting, DDoS attacks