Top 5 Tools to Keep Your WordPress Website Secure

As your WordPress site grows, the number of security issues you’ll have to deal with will increase. Keeping your WordPress website secure is crucial for keeping users’ sensitive information safe and protecting your business revenue and reputation. 

A properly installed, secure content management system is a good start. But no CMS is 100% safe from cyberattacks. WordPress is no exception since hackers launch 2800 attacks per minute as per The WordFence 2020 WordPress Threat Report. 

Luckily, upping your WordPress fortress is something you can do manually in a few minutes or so, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

Let’s cover five tools and methods, which will enable you to keep your WordPress website secure and will require those hackers to work harder. 

Backup Your Website Regularly

A site backup is the first step towards creating a secure WordPress site. Unfortunately, this does not make sense until it’s essential. 

Your database stores everything regarding your site, including posts, comments, crucial links, and helpful plugins. If something happens to it, you face the risk of losing everything. A fresh backup is your insurance that your website can be stored to its original status in case your database crashes, gets erased, or is corrupted. 

A site backup keeps a copy of every detail on your site on an external source. All you need is to keep this information safe, so if something happens to your database, you can use it to restore your site. 

An essential aspect of site backup that’s not talked about often is the number of backups that one should keep. Ideally, you want to keep at least three backups in different formats. Think of having one backup on a web disk, the second on a separate hard drive, and the third on a CD/DVD. This should guarantee a good level of security in case one or two becomes corrupted. 

How often should you do a WordPress site backup? Honestly, this depends on you. How much content do you have on your site? How much have you invested in it? How hurt would you be if you lost the database? 

Invest in a Reliable Vulnerability Scanner

Often we talk about sites that got hacked but don’t often reflect on how the attackers managed to do it. Criminal hackers don’t launch attacks on websites blindly.

Often, the entire process starts with a vulnerability scan to detect exploitable weaknesses. If a flaw or loophole is found, it becomes the loophole through which the actors break into your database to steal or change or destroy vital information. 

Luckily, you can take advantage of a vulnerability scanner to identify areas of weakness in your WordPress site before attackers do. This helps reduce the attack surface, mainly focussing your efforts on the most vulnerable areas. 

Malicious actors use advanced vulnerability scanning tools to identify known vulnerabilities on all sites, so should you. 

How often should you run a vulnerability scan? It’s a best practice among most businesses to perform quarterly vulnerability scans. But if you’re approaching the importance of vulnerability scanning from a background of being attacked regularly, then you may want to do monthly or even weekly vulnerability scans.

Keep Everything Updated

WordPress is open source, meaning that everyone can learn the code and improve it. This CMS comprises a large community of developers and security experts who diligently test and report vulnerabilities in WordPress versions. When a security issue is identified, the WordPress team releases an updated version that fixes the flaw to protect websites from cyber attacks.

Unfortunately, not all eyes looking for security issues in WordPress have good intentions. Others are malicious code distributors and hackers looking for websites running on older versions with known vulnerabilities. If you’re running an outdated WordPress version, you not only have an insecure site, but this could snowball into more serious problems, including site failure.

And don’t forget to keep your WordPress themes and plugins updated as well. These two are another popular way hackers gain access to sites because most people don’t care to update them.

Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)

So long as your WordPress is live, then it’s susceptible to attacks. A Web Application Firewall is a service or software to control the traffic coming in or going out of your network.

A WAF acts as your site’s shield against outside cyber attackers by filtering and monitoring incoming traffic. It lets in legit traffic while untrustworthy and dangerous traffic and bots are blocked, preventing sensitive data from leaving the database without authorization. It works by screening the traffic against a set of policies that determine what traffic is safe and should be treated as malicious and, therefore, blocked. 

A Web Application Firewall is very effective at protecting your site against OWASP Top Ten Security Issues, such as;

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Broken access control
  • Sensitive data exposure
  • Injection attacks 
  • Security misconfigurations 
  • Insecure Deserialization
  • XML External Entities (XEE)
  • Insufficient logging and monitoring 

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2fa)

Your WordPress website is only as safe as you decide to make it. If you’re not using a two-factor authentication approach, your site’s security is only one step away from being breached. 

Commonly known as two-step verification, this is a multi-factor authentication that requires at least two verification steps before allowing users on your login page. This creates an extra layer of protection by ensuring that it’s the actual user trying to gain access. 

In a WordPress site with two-factor authentication, users must enter their usernames and passwords as usual. But before being allowed in, they are required to provide another piece of information that proves it’s them. This could be anything, including any of the following:

  • A one-time password (OTP) code generated by an authenticator or sent via SMS, WhatsApp or Telegram. 
  • Biometrics, such as facial scans or fingerprints. 
  • The answer to a pre-set security question. 
  • A push notification. 

Wrapping It Up

Security is a crucial aspect of WordPress sites. This is the most favored CMS by over 455 million site owners because it’s free and it has hundreds of themes and plugins to support it.

Unfortunately, its popularity also makes it one of the most hacked platforms. Although it has a quality security apparatus in place, WordPress security is only as good as its users’ efforts. If you’re concerned about the level of your site’s safety, the five tools and methods described above should ease your worries if you apply them promptly. 

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