As a WordPress site owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the security of your site, not only for your business but also for your users. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the finest security solutions available for your WordPress site.
But before that, let us go through some of the most common threats your website might be facing.
Common attacks that can happen if you fail to secure your WordPress website
More sophisticated hackers perform ransomware attacks on websites. When this attack happens, the attacker encrypts all the website’s content using some unique script. The attackers then demand a ransom (hence the name) in exchange for the decryption key that unlocks the content. Without this key, the website is virtually useless.
How this attack can happen is where the sophistication comes in. The malicious script can come in from the attacker hacking into the servers or through some other attacks (such as SQL injection, discussed next).
Data is one of the most valuable prizes attackers can steal from a website. WordPress sites have, one way or another, some sort of database. A lot of websites even store sensitive user data. Attackers try to extract such information by exploiting input fields in your website.
If the website’s forms aren’t coded safely, the attacker may “inject” SQL commands into input fields on the website like an email form. This SQL command may query for all of the site’s users along with their usernames and passwords.
Aside from being used to steal data, SQL injection attacks can be used to take over a website. The scripts that the attacker injects can give administrative access to the hacker. They can then lock access privileges to the real administrator.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
XSS attackers take advantage of user forms that process unsanitized inputs by the user. This means any user can inject code into the input field. This code then does what SQL injection codes do—steal user data or provide hackers administrative access. But in this case, the machine being attacked isn’t the website’s servers but the user’s computer. The attacker can gain access to the user’s device, thereby compromising it.
Top Solutions To Secure Your Website
Secure Socket Layers (SSL/HTTPS)
Traffic to and from your website needs to be completely secure from eavesdroppers. Let’s say your users log on to your site. They put their username/email and password and hit “log In”. Their browser is going to send this information over to your site’s servers. To safeguard this information, it has to be encrypted so that it becomes useless for hackers to steal.
Using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is one of the most common ways we encrypt internet traffic. Your website address should now have the “https” protocol instead of “http”. With this protocol, your server will issue a certificate to any user’s browser. This certificate will contain a public key that your site will use to encrypt any message it sends over the internet. The server will decrypt this message using the same key.
Your WordPress site’s hosting service is your first major defense against any attack. Traditionally, the way a website is architectured is that the back end manages the changing data (and consequently content) while the front end is exposed to users.
With Strattic’s Static WordPress model, the actual site is not displayed, but rather “static” pre-rendered pages are. These pre-rendered pages are not connected to the servers, so attackers cannot exploit any security holes. According to Strattic, your WordPress site’s attack surface is reduced by 99.9999% due to their model. Your site resides in its own container that is completely isolated from the web, making it completely untraceable to hackers.
But let’s be clear, the benefits to WordPress sites aren’t limited to security. With a static architecture that is hosted on Strattic’s 200+ CDNs available worldwide, your site performs better (as any database queries are already pre-rendered). Also, when any WordPress plugin becomes vulnerable, immediate remediations won’t be necessary for static sites. This makes your site almost maintenance-free.
Wordfence is an endpoint firewall WordPress security plugin. Alongside your site’s servers and filters, it sifts through traffic that goes through it. It does this using its database of collected malicious IPs and firewall rules.
It doesn’t only function as a firewall but also as an overall security profiler for your site. Its dashboard shows you relevant statistics on traffic, malicious IP’s detected, and other information it gathers from filtering web traffic.
With this plugin, you can be sure nobody can perform a brute force attack on your site by trying several password combinations. With WP fail2ban, you can see all the login attempts on your site and take necessary measures should suspicious activities be detected.
This plugin is free and can be easily installed on any WordPress site.
A ransomware attack is only as good as the victim’s inability to back up their site and data. With the VaultPress plugin, any WordPress website owner can rest assured that they’ll always have backup and are protected against outages and attacks.
This plugin is not only good for backing things up. It also monitors website activity and informs you of any suspicious ones. Outside of security, this capability also provides you with statistics that can help you improve your site (such as most visited pages, most popular hours each page is visited, and so on).
Owning a website entails much responsibility in terms of security. Your users trust that using your site won’t compromise their information. Also, you don’t want your competitive advantage to be stolen by attackers. While it may seem a lot of burdens, the solutions listed above (and a lot more if you search) will help you with this tall order.