You’d agree that there are plenty of reasons to love WordPress. It’s easy to learn, has fantastic features, and has the convenience of plugins and themes for functionalities and design. Unfortunately, the popularity of WordPress is not limited to website designers and owners. It is also the hot favorite of hackers and cybercriminals who have WordPress websites in their line of fire. This is why WordPress security is so important for anyone who owns, runs, or managed a WordPress website. Hackers are always on the lookout for weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can help them steal data, sell counterfeit products, or even hold business owners to ransom.
Why WordPress Security is so important
Hackers do not differentiate between websites belonging to large corporations or small businesses. They target everything that comes their way. The consequences of a successful hack can be pretty ugly for any business – big or small. A hacked website can be suspended by the web host – or even by Google, impacting your SEO effort and preventing most visitors from accessing it. Besides, hacked websites can impact the user’s brand perception.
Here are five reasons why WordPress so security is important for your business:
1. Google prefers secure websites
It’s obvious why Google would not send its organic traffic to a hacked or compromised website. It simply does not want to expose its users to any risks. Google’s rankings always prioritize websites that focus on user experience and security. For instance, they prefer HTTPS-enabled websites that are SSL-certified and encrypt every piece of information that they transmit to the user’s browser.
2. It protects brand information and reputation
A secure website can build and protect the brand’s reputation and customer information. This is because data breaches on WordPress sites can result in the loss of confidential customer records, thus impacting your customer’s overall trust in your brand. Keeping the site safe from hackers is the best method of protecting brand reputation.
3. It prevents loss in revenue
What happens when your website is compromised? Even your most loyal customers will switch to the closest competitor. A major customer churn can impact your business sales, and ultimately loss of revenues. This is particularly true for an eCommerce store that can immediately lose sales and revenues when customers are unable to complete their online purchases.
4. It safeguards customer information
Sensitive customer data or information is a major reason why security is important for WordPress sites. A successful data breach can seriously compromise thousands of customer records and provide this data to hackers to exploit. WordPress security is key to securing customer information – and maintaining their trust in your brand.
Hope these reasons are sufficient to highlight the importance of WordPress security. With that out of the way, let’s discuss how exactly you can make WordPress security a reality for your website.
Tips to secure your WordPress site
Here are 6 of the most effective security tips to secure your WordPress site:
Tip 1: Use a security plugin
The best way to secure your WordPress site from hackers is by installing and using a security plugin like MalCare or Sucuri. Security plugins or malware removal plugins let you take control of website security without relying on the services of a security expert.
These plugins are easy to use and can be used even by beginner users. For instance, with a single click, you can use the MalCare security plugin to scan your entire WordPress site and database tables for any malware infections. It also comes with a one-click malware removal process to remove and clean your website from malware infections. MalCare can also prevent future attacks using its inbuilt firewall that keeps suspicious traffic away from your site.
Tip 2: Take WordPress backups
WordPress backups are great practice for storing your website files and database records at an independent location. How does this help? In the event your website is compromised, it can be restored in a few minutes by using the available backup.
While most web hosting companies provide backup services, it is safer to invest in a dedicated backup tool. This is why WordPress backup tools like BlogVault or Backupbuddy are so popular among website owners. For instance, the BlogVault plugin is used by over 400,000 websites and has a 100% success rate in restoring websites.
Tip 3: Use SSL
Remember we spoke about SSL technology (short for Secure Socket Layer) – and why it is preferred by Google over non-SSL websites? Essentially, SSL is an industry-recognized site security standard. It secures your website by encrypting all data that flows between your website and its users.
If you’re still running an HTTTP website, move it to HTTPS or Secure HTTP protocol. How can you do that? By installing an SSL certificate. Check with your web host provider if they can provide this certificate. If not, simply install an SSL plugin like Let’s Encrypt or Really Simple SSL that is easy to use.
Tip 4: Keep the WordPress core, plugins, and themes updated
Going by recent statistics, the latest WordPress version 5.9 is being used by 51.9% of websites. This means that the remaining sites are running on older versions 4.6 to 5.8. WordPress sites running on an outdated version, or using outdated plugins and themes, often are rife with security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
It is important to keep your core WordPress, plugins, and themes updated to their latest versions. This is because software updates contain fixes to security issues reported in the previous version – in addition to enhancements that improve your site’s speed and performance. A security patch is the best solution to fix website bugs or vulnerabilities. You can apply the latest WordPress updates from your web hosting account – or by using website management options that plugins like MalCare provide.
Tip 5: Use strong passwords
Does that sound too obvious? It is, but it needs to be said, given how common the issue of weak passwords still is. Why are strong passwords important? Hackers use brute force attacks to gain entry into WordPress accounts – particularly those of admin users. Most users make this easier by setting up accounts with weak passwords like “admin123” or “password.”
To block brute force attacks, you need to use strong passwords that are at least 12 characters in length. Plus, it should contain a mix of alphabets (upper and lower case), numbers, and special symbols like “@” or “underscore.” Other effective password practices include changing all user account passwords every three months or using plugins like LastPass or Password Manager to generate and store passwords.
Tip 6: Harden WordPress security.
To protect its growing community of users, the WordPress team has recommended a set of 12 WordPress hardening measures, which include steps like blocking PHP execution and disabling the file editor. Some of these hardening measures are complex and technical, making them hard for non-technical users to implement. Security plugins like MalCare offer a simple way to implement these hardening measures in a few clicks on their dashboards.
Given how important a website is to the success of your online business, there’s no questioning the importance of securing your WordPress site.
We hope this article has been useful in helping you take action to secure your WordPress site. Are there any additional security measures you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.