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WordPress Security 101: Understanding The Basics Of WordPress Website Protection

By Mike Bowden —  |  — No Comments
5 minute read — No Comments
WordPress Security

As a WordPress website owner, ensuring the security of your site should always be top of mind. With hackers and cybercriminals constantly looking to exploit website vulnerabilities, it's crucial to understand the basics of website protection. In this article, I'll guide you through common website security threats and provide practical tips on securing your WordPress site using best practices and essential security measures.

This guide is geared toward brand-new WordPress users or owners.

So let's get started!

Brief Overview Of WordPress Security and Why It's Important

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that powers over 43% of websites today. It is the most popular and widely used platform for creating blogs and managing online content.

Ensuring your WordPress site is secure should be among your top priorities, as recent studies have shown that up to 90% of all CMS-based websites contain some form of vulnerability.

By protecting your website from potential threats like hackers, malware infections, and phishing attacks, you can safeguard all sensitive information and maintain trust with users visiting your site.

Understanding Common Website Security Threats

This section will overview common WordPress security threats, including malware, hacking, and phishing attacks. Understanding these threats is crucial so you can take the necessary steps to protect your WordPress site.

Overview of Typical Security Threats for Websites

As a website administrator, you must know the common security threats that can compromise your site's safety. One notable risk is malware, malicious software created to infiltrate and damage your online presence.

Hacking attacks are another widespread concern involving cybercriminals who exploit weaknesses in a site's code or hosting environment to gain unauthorized access. Such breaches can lead to website defacement, theft of sensitive information, or even the use of your site as a platform for attacking other online properties.

In addition, phishing attacks should not be overlooked. These deceptive techniques aim to trick users into revealing their login credentials by presenting them with seemingly authentic emails or web pages that imitate official login screens.

Very First Steps To Protect Your WordPress Website

The first steps to protect your WordPress website include choosing a solid username and password, keeping the software updated, installing a security plugin, and limiting login attempts.

These simple measures can go a long way in safeguarding your site from common threats.

Choosing A Strong Username And Password

Choosing a strong username and password is one of the most critical steps in securing your WordPress website. A weak combination can leave your site vulnerable to brute force attacks, where hackers systematically try numerous combinations to gain access.

Begin by avoiding predictable or easily guessed usernames like "admin," often set as default upon installation. Instead, opt for something unique that doesn't reveal personal information, including your name or business name.

When creating passwords, aim for at least 12 characters containing a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This combination makes it harder for cybercriminals to exploit using automated tools like dictionary attacks.

To further enhance security, consider changing your password periodically – every three months is a good benchmark – and avoid reusing them across multiple sites.

Keeping WordPress and Plugins Updated

One crucial step in ensuring the security of your site is to regularly update both WordPress itself and any plugins you've installed.

Updates often include critical security patches that protect your website from newly discovered vulnerabilities and potential threats.

Updating your WordPress installation and plugins is typically a straightforward process. You'll receive notifications within your WordPress dashboard when updates are available.

It's as simple as clicking "Update Now" and waiting for the process to complete! Just remember to create backups before starting an update – this way, you can quickly restore your site if something goes wrong during the update process. Updates can and do break things on your website.

Installing A WordPress Security Plugin

I highly recommend installing a security plugin to protect your WordPress website. Many free and paid options include Wordfence, iThemes Security, and Sucuri.

For example, Wordfence includes a firewall that blocks malicious traffic before it reaches your site. It also scans your site for vulnerabilities and provides alerts when updates or suspicious activity is detected.

Limiting Login Attempts

Taking precautions against hacking attempts is essential, including limiting login attempts. This means you should set up your website so the user is locked out for a specific time after several failed login attempts.

One way to limit login attempts is using security plugins like Jetpack or iThemes Security. These plugins allow you to customize how many failed login attempts are allowed before locking out the user and how long the lockout lasts.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the basics of website security is crucial to protect your online presence and business. By implementing these measures and other helpful tips in this article surrounding password hygiene, cyber-security tools for protection against DDoS attacks or vulnerabilities in outdated software/plugins/themes, etc., you can keep your site safe from potential cyber-attacks that could break or slow down its performance.

Mike Bowden
With a diverse background as a tech enthusiast, writer, educator, and small business owner, I bring decades of experience creating, hosting, securing, and maintaining WordPress websites. Join me on my journey as we navigate the digital age and uncover insights that inspire growth and success.
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