Wordpress Security Concerns and Solutions

WordPress security has always been one of the hot web development discussion topics.  Keeping a WordPress website secure has been a challenge, especially when the site is relatively a complex one with a number of plugins. We have come across several instances of WordPress website hacks in the past. This blog post highlights some important WordPress security concerns and pertinent solutions.

Out-dated Content Management System:

Failing to update your WordPress website is one of the biggest mistakes that you could ever make as a respective web developer.  There are several factors that second the importance of updating WordPress websites.

  • Security:

Being open source software, WordPress will always be associated with constant updates. Apparently, the webmasters responsible for this content management system are scrambling on a consistent basis to fix the security holes. Whenever an update regarding a WordPress website is released, the details are made public. The update normally comes tagged with fixes to the security leaks/holes in the previous version, this information, in the wrong hands, can be easily used gain unauthorized entry to any outdated WordPress website.

  • Plugin compatibility:

When your WordPress website is not updated, it stays incompatible with the brand-new plugins. If you are adamant about not updating your website and still want to use the plugin, you might need to find the older version of the respective plugin and this might be missing some bug fixes and other exclusive features.

Additionally, updating your WordPress website also gives you the privilege to use new features.

Solution:

  • Update your WordPress as soon as it’s on offer. You could easily update it by logging into the dashboard and looking for an updated alert pop-up that says “New Update Available”.
  • Make it a point to keep a backup of the complete sites before updating as a precaution.

Mismanaged Passwords and Account Management

Any WordPress account that’s not managed effectively is vulnerable to hacks. Recently, several websites/magazines including the prominent ones like Telegraph.uk, revealed a list of most common passwords used by individuals across the globe. Apparently, these lists also comprised of revelations from hackers.

  • Once a hacker gains access to your site they are most likely to use your server which is not directly linked to him/her to perform malicious tasks at your expense.
  • A hacker can also hack your server to send tons of spam emails from it, at your cost. These emails can be churned out in quick time and therefore if you don’t sniff out hacks of this type, it might hurt you financially.
  • A hacker can also manipulate your website to serve viruses to its visitors. These viruses can be used to gain control over the visitor’s computer for the purpose of encrypting their files or serving personalized ads while they surf the web.

Solutions:

  • Identify the hack by checking for any abnormality on the site like unwanted redirects on login, unable to access the admin panel etc.
  • Coordinate with your hosting company, an ideally chosen reputed hosting company should be able to walk you through the issues with the possible hacks and offer solutions to it. They could give you vital information like the origin of the hack.
  • Use tools to scan the malwares in your WordPress site and additionally check for out-dated plugins and delete them.

Mismanaged Plugin Usage:

Tagging any WordPress website with surplus amount of plugin can have an adverse effect on its performance and loading speed. Furthermore, plugin contributes to the overhead of managing the site as you are required to keep tabs on each plugin updates.  

Solutions:

  • Analyse the importance of any plugin that you plan to add to your website. If any plugin is not absolutely necessary for your site to perform, then consider avoiding it.
  • In some occasions, you might come across sites that sell premium plugins for free. Make it a point not to download such plugins for free.  Premium plugins that are given away for free are often encrypted with malwares.

Not Choosing Managed Hosting

While choosing a hosting service package, it is always ideal to go with a managed hosting package even though you have to pay a tad more for such services. An unmanaged hosting service package offers no routine support whatsoever. Therefore, while using such a package and while being a WordPress noob, in case of hacks and data breach, you are completely in the dark and unaware of the security measures to be taken. This is where a managed hosting service package can turn out to be a godsend; such services offer 24/7 support and even handles the timely updation of your site plugins and theme apart from taking backing it up on a consistent basis.

Unprotected .htaccess File

.htaccess file is an important file pertinent to WordPress websites and is responsible for site structure, security, premalinks and much more. Being the root file of your WordPress website, .htaccess file handles the important website functions like redirects, access permissions, URL optimization etc.

Mismanagement of .htacces file can make your website vulnerable to all sort of malevolent attacks.

Solutions:

To start with, you will want to secure the wp-config file with .htaccess as this file holds important info about the webmasters and other critical files. You can achieve this task by following the code highlighted below:

order, deny,allow
deny from all

You can also set admin access limitations in terms of IP address by using the following code:

order deny,allow
allow from “Relevant Address here”
deny from all

Finally, you can set access limitations to wp-login.php by using the code given below:

order deny,allow
Deny from all
# allow access from my IP address
allow from “Relevant Address here”

Wrapping Up:

A successful webmaster always keeps tabs on his websites and takes prudent steps to ensure that his/her site is not vulnerable to any malevolent activities whatsoever.  As a webmaster managing a website, it is always essential for you to foresee several factors that can make your website vulnerable to hacks. When managing a WordPress website, be on the lookout for updates and ensure that all the plugins and related files are up-to-date and hack proof.

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